Briton takes advantage of Nico Rosberg's pull-up to win British GP; title race thrown open
Lewis Hamilton took a dominant win in front of his home fans in yesterday's British Grand Prix, surging back to within striking distance of the championship lead after title rival Nico Rosberg failed to finish.
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium after winning the British Grand Prix at Silverstone yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
The win, Hamilton's fifth of the season but first since the Spanish Grand Prix in May, allows him to cut Rosberg's lead in the championship to four points and comes at a crucial time for the former world champion.
Two retirements and a series of defeats and errors had sapped the Briton's title challenge of momentum, allowing Rosberg to open a 29-point gap at the head of the standings.
As a result, Hamilton went into his home race desperately needed to turn the tide in the title battle in his favour.
"You never want to see your team-mate (retire) but at the end of the day I really needed this result," Hamilton, who equals Sir Jackie Stewart's total of 27 wins with this result, said on the podium.
"I think this weekend really just showed that you never give up," Hamilton, who is now second behind Nigel Mansell in the all-time list of British winners, list.
Behind Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas took the runners-up spot, finishing on the rostrum for the second weekend in a row and giving his Williams team a podium at their home race.
The Finn had started fourteenth after a difficult qualifying session for Williams but made a lightening start and scythed his way through the field, pulling some audacious moves in the process.
Daniel Ricciardo, continued to lead Red Bull's charge, and finished third to score his fourth podium finish of the season.
Rosberg, starting from pole for the third time in four races, headed into the 52-lap race around the 5.8-kilometer long Silverstone circuit as the favourite for the win after Hamilton, his only real challenger made a mistake in qualifying and ended up sixth.
The German made a good start and kept the lead ahead of the McLarens of Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen who had taken advantage of a lethargic getaway by Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull to slot into second and third, respectively.
Hamilton has also made a flying start from sixth and was up to fourth in the space of a few corners.
However, barely a few seconds into the race, a spectacular accident for Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa on the high-speed Wellington straight brought out the red flags, halting the race on the opening lap.
Raikkonen had run wide onto the tarmac run-off area as he exited the corner onto the straight and lost control of his car while attempting to rejoin the track, with the Ferrari plunging into the barriers.
Rebounding off the Armco, the Finn spun back across the track, collecting Massa'ss Williams despite the Brazilian's best attempt to avoid the out-of-control Ferrari.
Raikkonen'ss accident damaged the barriers and after the necessary repairs, the race eventually resumed under the safety car after an hour'ss delay.
Rosberg led at the restart from Button and Magnussen but Hamilton swiftly disposed of the McLarens and started to reel his team-mate in.
Rosberg kept the lead through the first stops but Hamilton upped the ante and continued eat into his rival'ss lead until, with 22 of the 52 laps still to run, the German was forced to bring his Mercedes to a halt with gearbox problems.
It was the first retirement for Rosberg who until yesterday had not finished lower than second all season.
Button misses out on podiem
McLaren's Jenson Button, who had slipped back through the field after his strong start very nearly caught Ricciardo, but was unable to break his podium duck in his home race and matched his best British Grand Prix result with fourth.
Sebastian Vettel finished fifth for Red Bull after a hard fought battle with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso that prompted heated complaints from both drivers on the team radio about the other's driving standards.
The Spaniard, who had started sixteenth after Ferrari misjudged the weather conditions in qualifying, was another driver that charged through the field.
The double-world champion was at his tenacious best and crossed the line sixth despite serving a five-second stop-and-go penalty for parking out of position on the grid for the initial start.
Kevin Magnussen finished seventh in the second McLaren ahead of Force India's Nico Hulkenberg. The two Toro Rossos of Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne completed the top ten.
The number of races Hamilton has won this season
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 2hr 26min 52.094sec
2. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Williams) 30.135sec
3. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 46.495
4. Jenson Button (McLaren Mercedes) 47.390
8. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) 1:28.692
11. Sergio Perez (Force India) one lap