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F1 2017: British Gp Review – Hamilton Untroubled Amid Ferrari Drama

The phenomenon of home ground advantage has nearly always been touted in the world of sport as a sort of mythical influence that makes the team or a person nearly unbeatable. This advantage was no more evident as Lewis Hamilton took a record-equaling fifth British grand prix win around the famed Silverstone circuit.

While Hamilton blitzed the field in Saturday qualifying to the tune of half a second he, similarly, ran unflustered towards the checquered flag on Sunday. While the second-place starter Kimi Raikkonen, who shaded his teammate the entire weekend, briefly threatened in the Ferrari he could, ultimately, not get within striking distance of Hamilton.

The remainder of the podium places seemed set too as Raikkonen ran comfortably in second ahead of Valtteri Bottas who was recovering from a ninth place starting position after a gearbox penalty. Nevertheless, two laps from the chequered flag the thread on Raikkonen’s left-front tyre appeared to come apart and forced him into the pitlane. The easy second place he’d been heading too suddenly transformed into fourth. But the drama was far from over as Sebastian Vettel, now running third, suffered a seemingly identical front-left failure on the final lap of the race. The German was able to limp back to the pits but the chance of salvaging a podium was long gone as he emerged in seventh place.

012Pirelli has announced that the failures on Raikkonen and Vettel’s car were not caused by the same problem. In Raikkonen’s case Pirelli found that the thread had separated from the tyre, which makes it a manufacturing fault. However, in Vettel’s case the failure was put down to tyre age. But Vettel’s tyres were not being pushed beyond what Pirelli had said were possible. While Ferrari was the only team to pay a price in terms of points several teams revealed post-race that their own tyres were on the edge of suffering similar failures.

The drama-filled ending to the British grand prix meant that Mercedes strolled to a one-two victory with Raikkonen in third. Max Verstappen provided some early race entertainment in a fight with Sebastian Vettel but ultimately ran a fairly anonymous race to finish fourth. Daniel Ricciardo, starting from the back of the grid due to reliability issues, delivered a storming drive through the field complete with several stunning overtakes to finish an impressive fifth. Renault’s day started poorly as Jolyon Palmer failed to take the start with mechanical issues but the ever-impressive Nico Hulkenberg’s sixth place finish saved the day. With Vettel in seventh the Force India pairing of Esteban Ocon, eighth, and Sergio Perez, ninth, continues to score important points over their rivals Williams who secured the final point in tenth with Felipe Massa.

052Besides the formation lap retirement of Renault’s Jolyon Palmer there were only two further retirements. A clash between Toro Rosso teammates Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz saw the latter punted out of the race while Fernando Alonso suffered yet another engine failure despite Honda’s introduction of a so-called reliability upgrade.

While Ferrari has not only fallen 55 points behind Mercedes in the Constructor’s standings Vettel’s late race troubles have all but eviscerated his championship lead over Hamilton from twenty to a single point.

It is evident now that the early season pressure has transferred from Merc to Ferrari and the Italian team needs to pull something out of the bag for the Hungarian Gp in two weeks time.

(All images courtesy of Pirelli Motorsport)

About Natalie Le Clue

Natalie Le Clue is an F1 aficionado of the most dedicated vein. And, true to form for any F1-enamoured junkie, she readily admits to crying the first time she saw a F1 car, calling it an ‘overwhelming moment’. Natalie has won the 2010 gSport Woman In Media award, the 2015 Woman In Media Print award, and has been named as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in South African Sport by the Department of Sport and Recreation. Natalie is currently serving as SAfm's F1 correspondent. Follow Natalie on Twitter @nlc27

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