Lewis Hamilton has taken the lead in the Formula 1 Drivers Championship with victory in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
The drama began just before the race as the great British weather threw a sudden downpour into the mix, meaning the race had to get underway behind the safety car. With Hamilton on Pole and all cars running on full wet tyres, 5 laps under safety car conditions was enough to clear some of the standing water, before the drivers were finally free to race - and Hamilton wasted no time, immediately opening a 3.7 second gap by the end of the lap.
From that point on, victory for the dominant Hamilton looked inevitable, with clear air ahead of him and an increasingly drying Silverstone track the British driver was able to control the race while his team mate Nico Rosberg jostled for second with the impressive Max Verstappen.
And things got worse for Rosberg as, with 5 laps remaining, the German lost 7th gear. After being advised by his team to ‘shift through’ to 8th gear in order to avoid the problematic seventh, Rosberg and Mercedes were later punished for breaking the strict radio rules - which state the driver must drive the car alone and unaided.
The post race 10-second punishment demoted Rosberg to 3rd, meaning Hamilton is now just one point behind him in the Driver’s Championship standings.
Hamilton said: “Best weekend of the whole year! I couldn’t believe it started raining at the beginning of the race. I thought: “are you serious?” It makes it so much harder for everyone when that happens. I couldn’t really see the safety car either. It was going really slowly and my rear brakes were getting way too cold, so I was trying to heat them up and before I knew it I’m heading straight for the back of the thing! Thank goodness I could turn! Luckily it was okay and from there I was feeling great in the wet conditions.”
Hamilton was also grateful to the British crowd who certainly went wild when he took the chequered flag: ”And then the crowd.. I mean, where do they all come from? It’s absolutely amazing! Nothing we see in any other country even comes close – and that for me just shows the passion us Brits have for sport, regardless of the weather. It’s pouring down and these guys are just like “yeah, we love it!”
Next up for the F1 circus is the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest, 22-24 July.