Well, that was a dramatic race. Even better, it was profitable. When Hamilton’s tyre exploded it looked set to be yet another Vettel victory, but then the German’s car lost drive, gifting Rosberg the lead. He did well to retain it at the end against a strong attack from Webber. It’s also nice to benefit from some good luck when it comes to bets.
The start saw Vettel instantly pass Rosberg into second (maybe because the odd-numbered side of the track is a significant advantage). Webber meanwhile had a terrible start, even by his standards, and Massa gained a huge number of places.
To make matters worse, Grosjean nudged Webber off the track and damaged his front wing (replaced at the first round of pit stops).
A big question was whether or not Mercedes would be able to maintain decent race pace, as this has proved their weakness so far this season. Hamilton seemed to have no real issues keeping Vettel behind him, until the Briton’s tyre burst apart. It did so at the worst possible place on the circuit, and although Hamilton nursed his car back to the pit to get some fresh rubber he lost a huge amount of time.
Shortly thereafter Massa suffered an almost identical incident, and then Vergne likewise (the damage from the shredded rubber flaying the Toro Rosso’s floor eventually meant his car had to be retired). Late on Perez suffered similarly.
It’s hard to say whether the problem is something specific to Silverstone (sharp kerbs) or whether the new Pirelli tyre compounds are simply not good enough.
Vettel, from nowhere, lost drive and had to cruise to a stop, giving Rosberg the lead. Rosberg had enough time to pit and retain top spot as the safety car emerged, a tactic also employed by Alonso (Webber also had fresh tyres but I forget if he pitted prior to or just after the safety car). Raikkonen stayed out, queried this on the radio but by then it was too late.
On fresh tyres Webber and Alonso carved their way through the field and Raikkonen ended up down in fifth, after being passed by Hamilton. Rosberg was hanging on for dear life at the end, but hang on he did and victory was his. It was a very dramatic race, an exciting finish and great recovery drives from Webber and Hamilton.
Massa also recovered well from his tyre blowing out to get sixth, and Sutil and Di Resta getting seventh and ninth was a great result for Force India. Ricciardo’s eighth will help his career prospects and Hulkenberg did very well to get the final point in tenth.
Vettel’s non-finish coupled with Alonso being third and Raikkonen fifth means they take a fairly sizeable chunk out of his lead, but it’s still quite large, and the Red Bull is still better than the other cars (barring Mercedes) at qualifying.
Only Alonso is within even a win (25 points) of taking the lead from Vettel.
Interestingly, Mercedes have now risen to second in the Constructors’:
Red Bull 219
Over the last few races Ferrari and Lotus seem to have slightly dropped off the pace (they were aided by the safety cars bunching up the field today), whereas Red Bull have stayed fast and Mercedes appear to be getting on top of their tyre issues (although today temperatures were fairly low [relative to other circuits] and the compounds were the hardest combination).
After the race Gary Anderson went to turn 4 on the circuit and stated that the kerbs were unsafe because the concrete was in such a position as to make it prone to cutting the tyres open. If that’s true, it should mean the problem could be easy to solve and prevent it occurring much elsewhere.
It’s also worth noting that the next race, in Germany, takes place next weekend.