Don’t mention the halo

 

OK, I won’t. So, how about talking about a remarkable British GP instead… still. Hamilton, Bottas and Raikkonen. But the race belonged to Lewis Hamilton – his 57th career victory today, fifth at the Silverstone Circuit, and fourth of the 2017 season. it was his fifth career Grand Slam, claiming pole, the victory, fastest lap and leading every lap of the Grand Prix.

His 67th pole position – only one short of Michael Schumacher’s all-time record – equals legends Jim Clark and Alain Prost’s tally of five British Grand Prix victories.

The race

It got off to a false start as an extra formation lap was needed because Palmer had stopped on track. This meant the race distance was down to 51 laps. Then came a collision between the two Toro Rossos which brought out the Safety Car. Racing restarted on lap 5, with Raikkonen matching the leader’s pace, while his team-mate had to be patient before getting his place back.

It was a thrilling duel, but in the end, it was decided on the strategy call: a scheduled pit stop for Vettel on lap 19 saw the German fit the Soft tyres. The number 5 Ferrari came out ahead of the Force India duo in fifth place. Verstappen therefore had to pit to cover Ferrari’s strategy, but when he rejoined he was behind the Ferrari. Vettel then banged in a fastest lap, before passing Hulkenberg for fourth place. On lap 24, it was Raikkonen’s turn to pit to go from the Supersofts to the Softs.

Shortly after that, Hamilton did the same, but on fresh rubber the Iceman was the fastest man on track. Bottas came down the pit lane on lap 32 and came out behind the Scuderia Ferrari duo. Vettel reacted, setting his best lap in 1:31.872. On lap 43 came the first duel, as Vettel repulsed the attack under braking.

But the move ruined his tyres and he lost the position on the Hangar Straight. “I can get to the finish” came his reassurance over the radio and indeed he would, while out in front, with only two laps remaining, Raikkonen’s left front tyre suddenly let go. The Finn pitted and took on Supersofts, while he was helped by the fact Verstappen also needed to make an unexpected stop.

But on the last lap, Vettel also got a puncture, again a left front. He dived into the pit lane and managed to stay in the points.

Lewis Hamilton: “I’m so happy… this has got to be one of my sweetest wins here. I was gunning for this victory. There was so much negativity ahead of the race, with people questioning how I prepared for the race. But this weekend has been one of my strongest of the weekend.

“I made a solid start and then after that I managed the car and the balance, and the boys did a fantastic pit stop. I really can’t find a fault at the moment. The team did an exceptional job this weekend and Valtteri obviously drover a stormer today – I’m proud of him. It’s great to have him in the team.

“I’m surprised to see the issues the Ferrari had because I didn’t see any debris. I did not expect to come away from this weekend just one point behind Sebastian. This result really opens up the championship – and we go to Hungary next, where I’ve always gone well.

“Every time I came around Turn 7, I could see the fans cheering every single lap. It was really reminiscent of 2008, my first Grand Prix win here. I’ve got some great supporters here, not only in the crowd, but in the garage as well. I’ve got my brother here, some of my aunties and family has come too. There’s this amazing young kid who’s come from South Africa, Michael, who is fighting cancer. It was amazing to see him. And Billy Monger is with us, who is just such an inspiration.”

 

Valtteri Bottas: “What a race! I’m really happy for us as a team, to get the second 1-2 of the season. Of course I would have liked to win, but I’m happy anyway because that was definitely one of my best ever races. I had to fight hardcore out there a couple of times, but I ended up in a good position.

“We could actually go longer than expected in the first stint on the Softs and the tyres were really good. In the last stint the team told me to just take care of the tyres, because we saw a few failures out there for some other teams, but for me they were fine. We’re just at the half-way point of the season and it could definitely be worst.

“It’s still just my first year with the team and I’m still right in the championship fight. As a team we did a really good job today. The strategy right from the start of the race worked really well. It was a flawless race for us and the 1-2 was our prize – the team really deserve this. We definitely got lucky with Kimi’s puncture in the end, to take P2, but that’s racing and today luck was on our side.”

Kimi Raikkonen: “My race wasn’t going too bad until a few laps before the end. I suddenly had the problem, my front left tyre let go with no warning; the air stayed in the tyre but the rubber part, came off. It’s disappointing because without that issue the second place was secured, and we deserved a better result.

“We had made some changes to the car and they seemed to have improved the feeling. When it’s like this you are confident and you can push; I hope that it will be a similar story in the future races. However, today we were lacking a little bit of speed against our rivals. We did what we could but obviously there’s some work to be done to catch up the Mercedes in places like this.

“This is definitely not our strongest type of circuit. I’m interested to see what happens in the next race, I guess the Hungarian track should suit our car better.”

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