Lewis Hamilton notches up third home win at British Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton has won the British Grand Prix for the third time following a fortuitous pit-stop decision that saw him swap to intermediate tyres at just the right time.

Hamilton was joined on the podium by team-mate Nico Rosberg while Sebastian Vettel also benefited from a well timed pit-stop to join the Mercedes duo on the podium once again.

It was a race of mixed conditions – largely dry until a couple of rain showers towards the end. Off the line the Mercedes duo were caught out by both Williams drivers, who had locked out the second row of the grid after Hamilton secured pole position by just a tenth from his team-mate. Felipe Massa took the race lead off the line while Valtteri Bottas slotted into second before running too wide and opening the door for Hamilton to get back ahead. The battle at the front was called off following the deployment of the safety car at the end of the first lap.

The safety car was brought out due to an incident which saw both Lotus drivers and Jenson Button retire. Daniel Ricciardo tagged Romain Grosjean, sending the Lotus driver into his team-mate Pastor Maldonado. As Fernando Alonso attempted to avoid the pair he collected his own team-mate, resulting in Button retiring from the race. The incident was investigated after the race but no further action was taken. Ricciardo later retired from the race due to an engine problem while Alonso went on to score his first point of the season. The safety car returned to the pits at the end of lap three and racing resumed. Hamilton attempted to pass Massa but locked up and gave Bottas the opportunity to get back ahead.

Massa and Bottas were asked not to fight each other but Bottas believed he had the speed to pull away from the chasing Mercedes duo. Hamilton’s pit stop strategy allowed him to leap frog Massa and take the lead of the race. There was a brief period under Virtual Safety Car conditions to allow marshals to retrieve Carlos Sainz’s stricken Toro Rosso.  Light rain started to fall around lap 36 of the race and some drivers – including Kimi Raikkonen, Marcus Ericsson, and Alonso – chose to go straight onto the intermediate tyres. The conditions proved not to warrant the change and Ericsson was unfortunate to pit again for slicks when heavier rain started to fall. In the changeable conditions Rosberg launched a charge on team-mate, slashing the gap. Hamilton reported he had no grip and pitted for intermediate tyres, a decision which proved to pay off when the rain got heavier. Vettel also pitted and went from sixth to third.

There were six retirements from the race in total along with Felipe Nasr who failed to make the start due to a gearbox failure on his out-lap to the grid. Sainz, Ricciardo, Max Verstappen, Maldonado, Grosjean, and Button were the other retirements from the race. At the front the top three were followed by the Williams duo, perhaps ruing a lost opportunity to fight for the win. Daniil Kvyat was sixth, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg in seventh, Raikkonen eighth, Sergio Perez ninth and Alonso tenth. Ericsson, Roberto Merhi, and Will Stevens also finished the race, although the latter lost his front wing after clipping the barrier but returned to the pits and continued.

Following the cancellation of the German Grand Prix the next action will take place in three weeks time in Hungary.

2015: British GP Preview

It’s the British Grand Prix this weekend and, with seven of the ten teams on the grid based in the UK, it is one of the biggest events on the Formula One calendar. The Force India team are based in Silverstone while it is also the home race for Jenson Button, Will Stevens and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Last time out Nico Rosberg won, cutting the gap to Hamilton in the drivers championship to just 10 points. Felipe Massa finished in third for Williams in a repeat of their podium finish there last year in Austria.

The British Grand Prix held at Silverstone is full throttle for over 60% of the lap and it is one of the fastest circuits on the calendar. The track requires medium to high downforce and features a mixture of high and low speed corners. Pirelli are bringing the medium and hard tyres for the weekend.

Circuit: Silverstone
Number of Laps: 52
Circuit Length: 5.891km
Number of Corners: 18
Lap Record: 1:33.401 Mark Webber (2013)
Previous British Grand Prix winners still on the grid: 5
Most Successful Team: Ferrari (15 wins)
DRS Zones: 2    
Pirelli Tyres: Medium and Hard

Last year’s race was won by Hamilton with Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo also on the podium. There was a big accident on the first lap as Kimi Raikkonen spun across the track and collected Felipe Massa which resulted in a red flag as the barriers needed repairing. Raikkonen had a first lap accident in Austria, this time collecting Fernando Alonso, bringing an end to both of their races. At a time when his future in the sport is under intense scrutiny, Raikkonen will be hoping to have a better weekend this time out. Rosberg retired from last year’s race with a gearbox issue.

Button was another retirement from the Austrian Grand Prix, as McLaren brought his car in as a precaution. He will be hoping for a better showing for McLaren at his home race. Stevens will be making his first home appearance for Manor in an F1 race.

2015: Austrian Grand Prix Preview

Following a brief interlude in North America for the Canadian Grand Prix, Formula One returns to Europe for the Austrian Grand Prix. The race returned to the calendar in 2014 for the first time in 11 years and was won by Nico Rosberg. The event marked the first and only time in 2014 that someone from a team other than Mercedes secured pole position. Felipe Massa led an all Williams front row while it was team-mate Valtteri Bottas who finished on the podium behind Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.

Mercedes once again come into the Austrian Grand Prix as the team to beat. Lewis Hamilton leads the drivers championship while Mercedes lead Ferrari in the constructors. Hamilton won last time out in Canada, leading yet another Mercedes 1-2, with Bottas in third.

Circuit: Red Bull Ring
Number of Laps: 71
Circuit Length: 4.326km
Number of Corners: 9
Lap Record: 1:08.337 Michael Schumacher (2003)
Previous Australian Grand Prix winners still on the grid: 1
Most Successful Team: McLaren (6 wins)
DRS Zones: 2    
Pirelli Tyres: Soft and Supersoft

The Red Bull Ring is made up of fast straights joined by a mix of slow and medium speed corners. Teams come into this weekend with data from last year, in contrast to last year’s race when they did not know what to expect. It is another power track, which requires good aerodynamics and traction. The track is considered medium-downforce due to the mix of corners, despite there being few of them. Last year drivers saw qualifying times deleted for exceeding track limits so they will have to be careful to keep all four wheels on the track.

Last year only one of the four Red Bull affiliated cars made the finish with Sebastian Vettel and the Toro Rosso duo of Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat retiring. Only Daniel Ricciardo saw the chequered flag and he finished eighth. They will be hoping to have a better showing at their home track this year, despite the difficulties they have endured so far this season. Another team struggling are McLaren-Honda who, following the highs of their first points of the season in Monaco, suffered the disappointment of a double retirement in Canada. Kimi Raikkonen put in a strong showing in Canada to finish fourth while team-mate Vettel fought through from the back of the grid to finish in fifth. Massa was another driver who had to come from the back of the grid and he ended up in sixth. Williams are bringing a significant upgrade to their car this weekend which they hope will help them close the gap to Ferrari.

Sunny days – Canadian GP quali

With the Wall of Champions waiting patiently for the unwary, it was McLaren’s Fernando Alonso heading the pitlane queue out onto a dry track as the Q1 session light went green. All hopes for a decent qualifying for McLaren were riding on him, as team mate jenson Buton was forced to watch from the garage, his car withdrawn from qualifying due to an enforced engine change. It was an eventful first lap for Sebastian Vettel: with the Ferrari promising a performance step forward this weekend, Vettel found himself withdrawing from his first timed lap with turbo problem. With much of the pre-race discussion being on the state of Lewis Hamilton’s mindset after his Monaco strategy mishap, it was Merecedes team mate Rosberg setting the pace in the first session. Lotus’ improving form was compromised somewhat by Maldonado taking a spin on his flying lap. Nothing serious though. With just over two minutes left on the clock, Vettel rejoined the session after frantic work in the garage, taking to the track on the supersoft tyres to try to guarantee his progression to q2. Ultimetaely, he did not have the power and found himself eliminated in P16, along with a struggling Massa (Williams) and the two Manors of Merhi (P18) and Stevens (P19). To round off a topsy turvy session, it was Grosjean’s Lotus topping the timesheet.

Out from 20: Button (DNQ), Stevens (Manor), Merhi (Manor), Massa (Williams), Vettel (Ferrari).

Vettel’s early exit from qualifying seemed to be the spur that those chasing a second row spot needed. Raikkonen was the early pace-setter until, that is, the Mercedes duo set their first representative times. Bottas, carrying the Williams flag in the absence of his team mate, seemed to be running well, if still nearly a second off Hamilton’s mid-session time. There was half a second from Mercedes to the Ferrari/williams/Lotus scrap for those higher Q2 slots. Alonso’s day did not improve, finding himself qualifying in 14th. All eyes are on those second row slots. With McLaren showing a serious deficit in straight line speed, it was Grosjean topping that chart, being clocked at 212mph.

Out from 15: Nasr (Sauber), Alonso (McLaren), Ericsson (Sauber), Verstappen (Toro Rosso), Sainz (Toro Rosso).

Force India’s Hulkenberg was first out for Q3, with both cars in the final session for the first time this season. Rosberg, trailing Hamilton, was complaining of a lack of rear grip, leaving him vulnerable to a charge by any of the chasing pack. For the final scramble, both Lotuses exited their garage at the same time, almost colliding in the pitlane. As the session drew to a close, it was Raikkonen heading the chasing pack. So, Hamilton on pole (his 44th, fact fans), from Rosberg, prompting Rosberg to comment “what a rubbish end to qualifying”, with Raikkonen and Bottas sharing Row 2 in the absence of their team mates. A Lotus Row 3 and then Hulkenberg putting his Force India ahead of the Red Bulls and then his team mate Sergio Perez rounding out the top ten.

(grid positions provisional on pending penalties).

Hamilton fastest in Canada FP2 before ending session in barriers

Lewis Hamilton went fastest again in Canada, having already topped the times in the first free practice session.

This time he was ahead of the Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. The session was curtailed, however, by the rain. With the threat of rain hanging over the session drivers wasted no time in getting out on track to complete laps on the super-soft tyres.

Vettel set the initial pace before eventually being knocked off the top spot by Hamilton, who struggled on his first super-soft tyre run. When it looked like he was on a fast lap – with two purple sectors – he got the final chicane all wrong and narrowly bounced over the kerbs. Elsewhere Nico Hulkenberg was forced to limp back to the pits with a puncture, reporting to his team that he had not hit anything on the track. Pirelli later reported it as a ‘rim problem’. After Daniil Kvyat struggled with the rear of the car in FP1, Daniel Ricciardo reported that his car was more responsive but a bit aggressive at the rear.

About half an hour into the session the rain started to fall and it turned out to be heavy. All drivers retreated to the pit-lane before the Mercedes duo lined up to go out again on intermediate tyres. That run did not last long as Hamilton aquaplaned at the hairpin and made contact with the tyre barriers, damaging his front wing. Nico Rosberg returned to the pit-lane and that proved to be the end of running for the afternoon. The forecasts for Saturday and Sunday look dry meaning there would be nothing to gain from going out in difficult conditions with the risk of damaging the car, as proven by Hamilton.

Free Practice 2 Results:

  1. Lewis Hamilton – 1:15.988 – 22 laps
  2. Sebastian Vettel – 1:16.304 – 19 laps
  3. Kimi Raikkonen – 1:16.310 – 20 laps
  4. Nico Rosberg – 1:16.440 – 22 laps
  5. Pastor Maldonado – 1:16.600 – 15 laps
  6. Valtteri Bottas – 1:16.849 – 18 laps
  7. Romain Grosjean – 1:16.864 – 15 laps
  8. Felipe Massa – 1:17.041 – 19 laps
  9. Daniil Kvyat – 1:17.092 – 10 laps
  10. Daniel Ricciardo – 1:17.111 – 16 laps
  11. Nico Hulkenberg – 1:17.120 – 15 laps
  12. Marcus Ericsson – 1:17.261 – 17 laps
  13. Carlos Sainz – 1:17.318 – 23 laps
  14. Sergio Perez – 1:17.367 – 20 laps
  15. Fernando Alonso – 1:17.627 – 21 laps
  16. Max Verstappen – 1:17.657 – 23 laps
  17. Felipe Nasr – 1:17.751 – 21 laps
  18. Jenson Button – 1:18.135 – 20 laps
  19. Roberto Merhi – 1:19.531 – 15 laps
  20. Will Stevens – 1:19.734 – 13 laps

2015: Canadian Grand Prix Preview

The European F1 season gets a brief interlude this weekend as teams travel to North America for the Canadian Grand Prix. Considered by many as one of the best weekends on the Formula One calendar, racing at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve always provides excitement and intrigue with different strategies coming into play. While in Monaco it was the close proximity of the barriers all around the track that drivers had to keep themselves out of, in Canada it is the infamous wall of champions which has seen the likes of Michael Schumacher, Jacques Villeneuve, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel hit.

The main talking point coming into the Canadian Grand Prix is that moment from Monaco when Lewis Hamilton pitted under the safety car and ultimately lost the win after dominating most of the race. Team-mate Nico Rosberg is the one with the momentum having won the last two races and cutting Hamilton’s championship lead to just ten points.

Circuit: Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve
Number of Laps: 70
Circuit Length: 4.361km
Number of Corners: 14
Lap Record: 1:13.622 Rubens Barrichello (2004)
Previous Canadian Grand Prix winners still on the grid: 6
Most Successful Team: Ferrari & McLaren (13 wins)
DRS Zones: 2   
Pirelli Tyres: Soft and Supersoft

In stark contrast to the high downforce requirements of the streets of Monte Carlo, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is medium to low downforce. A lot of focus is put on power and getting good traction out of the corners. It has long straights where the speeds build as well as slow corners, giving it a very stop/start feel. Ferrari and Honda have used engine development tokens ahead of this weekend and reliability will play a key role in the weekend.

Last year Mercedes looked to have another 1-2 finish sewn up until MGU-K issues hampered both cars races. Struggling from a loss of power, the chasing pack were able to close up on Hamilton and Rosberg. Hamilton eventually retired from the race with brake failure while Rosberg drove around the issue to salvage second place. Instead it was Daniel Ricciardo who took his maiden Formula One win with team-mate Sebastian Vettel in third.

In the past it has been a track where Hamilton has excelled or retired. Since his breakthrough win in his rookie season (2007) he has won the race once more and finished third once. He has retired on his three further visits to the track with the race not being held in 2009. Red Bull have won the race on the past two occasions but before that McLaren had won three in a row. McLaren-Honda picked up their first points of the season in Monaco when Jenson Button was classified eighth while team-mate Fernando Alonso’s race came to an early end after the car overheated. The team will be focused on improving their reliability as they look to become more consistent points scorers. Max Verstappen came under fire following the last race after his move on Romain Grosjean which sees him come into this weekend carrying a five place grid penalty. Having gone second fastest in his first F1 session in Monaco, the highs soon turned to lows when he tried to make a move on Grosjean on the pit straight and crashed out. The incident brought out the safety car which in turned proved to be Hamilton’s downfall.

Verstappen’s fellow rookie and team-mate impressed after racing from the pit-lane to pick up one championship point. Vettel picked up yet another podium for Ferrari while team-mate Kimi Raikkonen finished down in sixth. The Finn is a previous Canadian Grand Prix winner in 2005 and will be hoping to move back up the order. Racing in Canada can often be unpredictable and it will no doubt be another exciting race this weekend.

2015: The Monaco Grand Prix in Numbers

Statistics from the Monaco GP weekend

Total number of laps completed (by driver)

Carlos Sainz 200
Lewis Hamilton 198
Nico Rosberg 197
Daniil Kvyat 181
Felipe Massa 178
Sergio Perez 178
Romain Grosjean 175
Sebastian Vettel 174
Nico Hulkenberg 173
Daniel Ricciardo 172
Max Verstappen 168
Valtteri Bottas 167
Felipe Nasr 161
Kimi Raikkonen 158
Will Stevens 157
Roberto Merhi 156
Jenson Button 155
Marcus Ericsson 151
Fernando Alonso 124
Pastor Maldonado 111

Total number of laps completed (by team)

Mercedes 395
Toro Rosso 368
Red Bull 353
Force India 351
Williams 345
Ferrari 332
Manor 313
Sauber 312
Lotus 286
McLaren 279

Total number of laps completed (by engine supplier)

Mercedes (4 teams) 1377
Ferrari (3 teams) 957
Renault (2 teams) 721
Honda (1 team) 279

Number of race laps: 78
Number of safety cars: 1
Number of race starters: 20
Number of times race lead changed hands (includes pole sitter): 1
Number of different race leaders (excludes pole sitter if lead changes off the line): 2
Number of classified drivers: 17
Number of retirements: 3
Number of drivers on lead lap at chequered flag: 14
Number of teams scoring points: 7
Most places gained: Carlos Sainz 10 (Pit-lane (20) – 10)
Number of visits to pit-lane: 33
…of which were pit-stops: 32
Stop/go penalties (added to pit-stop): 1
Drive through penalties: 0
Retirements in pit-lane: 1
Fastest lap: Daniel Ricciardo 1:18.063