British Grand Prix: Hamilton hat trick Rosberg penalised

June 11, 2016

 

Lewis Hamilton has won his third consecutive British Grand Prix as team-mate Nico Rosberg is given a 10 second penalty narrowing the title gap to just 1 point.

 

Starting under safety for the first time since Monaco, the Formula One British Grand Prix had all the elements of being a great race.

 

There was of course the internal turmoil at Mercedes that publicly played out in  Austria and rippled into this Grand Prix weekend. Alongside this,  Ferrari's continued reliability woes affecting Sebastian Vettel. Not forgetting Red Bull and the teenage Max Verstappen that is fearless and capable not only of out qualifying his team-mate but also holding off Rosberg. Oh, and lets really not forget the fragility of the British weather.

 

As the lights went to black and the drivers cautiously set off under the control of the safety car it was obvious why the car was needed. Standing water soon became flying water, as the spray from the progression of cars cloaked those behind in a watery shield of invisibility.

 

Soon though, Hamilton was keen to go racing and looked to be in danger of over taking the safety car. The Brit, who was in his full authority as pole sitter and champion of the crowds, complained that the safety car was making it difficult to keep his tyres warm.

 

With the need for the safety car now redundant, Hamilton backed up the field in anticipation of its withdrawal. Safety car in and a rush on pits began - Hamilton, Rosberg, Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo stayed out, as the Grand Prix became a race of the strategists.

Max Verstappen promoted to 2nd place after Rosberg penaty. Image credit: Max Verstappen

 

Pascal Wehrlein became the first victim of the drying track. The young Manor driver found himself beached in gravel and ending his first British Grand Prix. Yellow flag waved, virtual safety car deployed and beleaguered Manor recovered, it was race time again.

 

Following Wehrline, its was Sauber's Marcus Ericsson turn. Ericsson, who crashed heavily during Saturday practice and needed medical clearance to race found that his rebuilt car had not recovered half as well as him and was soon retired.

 

A list of drivers struggled throughout the race  including William's Valtteri Bottas. Bottas span at Vale as his rear tyres lost grip sending the back of his Williams into a spin. The anti stall mechanism saved the day and he was able to recover.

 

Rosberg and Verstappen in pursuit of Hamilton narrow his lead to just over 4 seconds, but the hammer went down as Hamilton sets fastest lap. Not to be out done, Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen takes it in turn to set the fastest lap times, bringing Verstappen within biting point of Rosberg.

Lewis Hamilton crowd surfing after 4th British Grand Prix win

 

Plucky Verstappen had been on Rosbergs heels since the start of the Grand Prix. Helped by an uneasy looking Rosberg, it was lap 17 that Vertsappen capitalised on this lack of confidence and made his move. Rosberg behind him and Hamilton in front, Verstappen set pursuit.

 

Back in the pits and Renault found themselves under investigation following Joylon Palmer's release without a critical part of the car - a right rear wheel. The stewards awarded this mistake with a 10 second penalty.

 

Showing the pace of the medium tyres Sebastian Vettel extracts 5 seconds more than Hamilton and the front runners. Into the pits goes Hamilton handing the lead to 18-year old Verstappen as Vettel gets bend out of shape.

Verstappen is next to pit as his former Toro Rosso team-mate Carlos Sainz almost loses it. It is a battle between the middle cars of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa for 9th place as the two experienced drivers go wheel to wheel and Alonso finds two of his on the grass.

 

It was a bad day in the Manor office as Rio Haryanto follows Wehlein out of the British grand Prix. Turn 1, was the bad guy, but unlike Bottas earlier spin, the Manor car's anti stall system did not kick in early enough stop the car from stalling in the gravel trap.

 

As the race moved beyond the halfway mark, the question of if or when the next pit stops should happen emerged. Hamilton responds and shows the health of his tyres by increasing his lead as Verstappen and Rosberg battle behind him.

 

Verstappen is on the defensive at Stowe, whilst Rosberg attacks with DRS and attempts to pass in vein. Verstappen reports back to Red Bull "I'm struggling quite a bit with the rear".

 

Vettel joined the numerous drivers under investigation as he takes on Massa."[Vettel] Push me out off the track. Push me out off the track", Massa is heard complaining via team radio. Vettel received a 5 second penalty for this move on Massa.  

 

The end to the Rosberg Vestappen battle finally ends as Rosberg is able to pass him on lap 38 at Stowe.

Free of Verstappen, Rosberg begins to chase down Hamilton. Setting the fastest laps along the way as Hamilton is backed up by Massa. Hamilton questions the team if blue fag have been waved at Massa "Yes, he's had them twice. We're on to them" respond the team.

 

7 laps to go and a Mercedes 1-2 looks likely until a panicked sounding Rosberg is heard across team radio. The gap between Verstappen closing and Hamilton growing as Rosberg asks for help with his gearbox. Mercedes instruct Rosberg on the loss of 7th gear and critically tell him to shift through it.

It was this instruction that was investigated by the race stewards and lead to a 10 second time penalty handed to Rosberg.

 

Rosberg now leads Hamilton by 1 points  with a score of 168.

 

What did you think of the British Grand Prix and the controversy surrounding the use of team radio?  Do you think a 10 second penalty was enough or do you think that the penalty was unfair? 

Image credit: Mercedes AMG F1 and Lewis Hamilton

 

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