The pendulum has been swinging all season and yesterday it swung firmly back in the direction of Lewis Hamilton. The Brit eased to victory at the British Grand Prix but his win was confirmed by the retirement of Nico Rosberg. A fight was brewing between the two but a Mercedes car failed again. This time, it was the German for the first time this season.
That left Hamilton with a clear path to win his home race for the second time and cut his championship deficit to four points. The Mercedes car seems like it could decide this championship. Not by who can drive it the fastest, but in who can get it to the finish most often. Hamilton failed in Australia and Canada, and Rosberg at Silverstone.
A jammed gear box ended his race, which is a completely different problem to those seen elsewhere. They may have the quickest car but they also have one of the most fragile. But where one driver’s race is ruined, somebody else’s is made. Valtteri Bottas drove superbly to finish second after a display of ruthless overtaking and consistent speed.
This all came after an hours delay. Kimi Raikkonen slammed into the barriers on the opening lap after running wide. The race was red flagged and substantial damage was caused to the barriers. Raikkonen collected Massa on his way, but the Brazilian avoided major contact in what would have been a serious incident.
Daniel Ricciardo just about managed to hold off Jenson Button to claim third. The Australian was languishing in eighth before switching to a one stop strategy. He managed his tyres brilliantly from lap 15 to the end. Button chased him hard in the dying laps as the fresher tyres gave him more grip and more pace. The possibility of a podium on the day the racing world celebrated his late father, John, was a great incentive. He hunted Ricciardo down quickly but the race finished two laps too early.
Vettel and Alonso gave the late stages some needed spice. A titanic 15 lap battle ensued as Alonso pulled off a stunning move down the outside of Copse as Vettel emerged on cold tyres from the pits. Vettel was hoping for a late charge but the Spaniard kept him behind. The quality of racing was high as they battled lap after lap, which frustrated the four-time champion. Vettel eventually squeezed past but he couldn’t improve on fifth.