F1: Lewis Hamilton claims emotional home win at Silverstone under rainstorm
Silverstone, July 5, 2015 – Lewis took his 38th career Formula One win and fifth of the 2015 season. This victory, a third Grand Prix victory at Silverstone, sees Lewis equal Jim Clark and Nigel Mansell’s record for wins by a British driver at this circuit. Lewis now leads Nico by 17 points in the Drivers’ World Championship, with MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS heading Ferrari by 160 in the Constructors’.
The tire strategy was key to the victory of Lewis Hamilton in the Grand Prix of Great Britain. At the first pit stop the British driver came into the pits before the two Williams drivers, who were leading the race, allowing them to take command of the GP.
The Mercedes then guessed the strategy, still choosing the perfect time to call Hamilton for his second stop, for the intermediate tyres, after the rain had started to fall more significantly towards the end of the Grand Prix.
Starting from pole position, Hamilton was passed into turn 1 by Williams drivers, Massa and Bottas, at the start. However, his early pit stop a lap earlier than the leader of the race allowed him to regain the lead.
The rain in the last third of the race added another dynamic, with Kimi Raikkonen returned to the pits to mount the first intermediate tyres. These stops, however, have revealed a bit too early, resulting in increased wear of the tyres forcing an additional pit stop.
With the increase in rainfall, nine laps to go, Hamilton decided to come into the pits to mount the intermediate tyres, followed by Sebastian Vettel.
The rain stopped them came back heavier, which forced everyone to move to the intermediate tires. The early stop of Vettel helped him snatch the third place, with the two Williams drivers, who for the first 20 laps had been in command languishing behind.
At the end of the round of pit stops for intermediate tires, Hamilton regained the lead, going on to win by more than 10 seconds ahead of his team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Fernando Alonso, however, managed to take home his first point of the season for McLaren, finishing tenth.
Lewis Hamilton –It’s been a very, very special weekend for me. I thought I’d seen it all last year but the fans have just been unbelievable. I could never have imagined this level of support – this one is for them. Thank you all so much. I’m delighted for the team – everyone back at base has done an incredible job to build this amazing car and everything today was just perfect too. Huge thanks to every single one of the team – it’s great to get this result for them at home. The race obviously got off to a bad start but the guys did a great job with the first stop to turn it around. Then, when the rain came, it was really tough out there in a different way. As the one in front it was so hard to judge where to push and my front tyres went so cold. I think that’s the best pit call I’ve ever made to come in at that time. From there it was just bringing it home. I have to admit, as I came round that last lap I was welling up seeing all those people on their feet. What an unbelievable day and an unbelievable feeling. I’m so, so grateful.
Nico Rosberg –That was an exciting race for me. I had a really bad start – losing two positions and therefore being stuck behind the two Williams cars for a while because overtaking was impossible. Lewis managed to clear them in the pits but unfortunately that didn’t quite work out for me – although it was close! Then, when the rain came, I was able to ramp up the pace, overtake them and close the gap to Lewis. At that point I really thought I could win the race. But then he made the pit stop – which I thought was a wrong decision at that moment until suddenly it started to rain heavier. It turned out to be the right decision from Lewis, as I had stay out one more lap and lost too much time in the wet with my slicks. That was the decision that made the race and I had no chance anymore. But, all in all, it was well deserved by Lewis as he did the best job over the whole weekend. Another 1-2 is great for the team and for all of our colleagues in the factories. Thanks for this great car!
Sebastian Vettel: “I had a really bad start, I nearly didn’t get off the line and lost positions. At the restart I made up a position, but I lost two as a consequence. It didn’t seem to come together at this point, a bit like the whole weekend for us, but then we were able to turn it around. We recovered through strategy, mostly by being very aggressive. I was in touch with the team all the time, it was not easy to take the right decision with the weather. But we did a great call to pit just in the perfect lap, made up a lot of ground and finished on the podium. I’m sorry for the people that got wet, but the rain helped us today! It was in the end a podium finish that we deserved, as we made the right call at the right time. Williams did a small step forward, for us I think we just didn’t find the rhythm at this weekend. There is plenty of things we have to learn and understand quickly. We are not in favour of these hard tyres, but it is the same for everyone, so no excuses allowed. If you look at the gap to the first two cars, it was bigger than normal, so it is up to us to come back for Hungary.”