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"The Best Call of my Career"

He called it the best call of his career, viewers called it the best Grand Prix of the season, as Lewis Hamilton switched to intermediate tyres at just the right time to win an eventful British Grand Prix in front of 140,000 spectators. His teammate and closest championship challenger, Nico Rosberg, finished in second with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel claiming the final podium place.

The race was edge of your seat action from the moment the lights went out as both Mercedes lost out to both Williams by the first corner, with Felipe Massa leading and Valtteri Bottas up in 3rd. Behind the leading four, both Lotus’ tangled with each other, as did both McLaren’s, resulting in Jenson Button retiring from his home race, along with Pastor Maldonado. The accidents at turn two saw the safety car being deployed for four laps whilst the cars were cleared away.

At the restart, Hamilton didn’t make things easier for himself as he out braked himself at the final chicane trying to overtake Massa, which allowed Bottas through into second place. A Williams 1-2 at Silverstone; what a sight to see! They weren’t in that position by accident either, as they were matching the Mercedes for single lap pace throughout the first stint of the Grand Prix. At the restart, what was a weekend that started with so much promise for Toro Rosso and Max Verstappen ended abruptly, when the teenage sensation spun out almost immediately and retired from the race. Nico Hulkenberg once again showing what he was capable of, challenging both Ferrari’s with his much-improved Force India.

For the first race in a while, it was the Mercedes strategists that had to really think how to get their men ahead of the two Williams’. Their answer was to pit Hamilton before Massa and get the undercut to get him ahead. It worked an absolute treat for Hamilton, as he put in some fantastic laps, and as Massa pitted from the lead, Hamilton breezed past and was comfortably leading the race. This also saw Hamilton break Sir Jackie Stewart’s record of 17 consecutive races in the lead of a Grand Prix set way back in 1970.

Rosberg was unable to get the jump of Bottas however, but the clouds were rolling in and it seemed to spark Rosberg’s racing instincts. With rain starting to spit, Rosberg took both Williams and sought after team mate Hamilton. He got to within 1.5 seconds of him before Hamilton dived into the pits to switch to the intermediate tyres, a call that looked to destroy his hopes of winning a hat trick of British GPs. It proved to be, as Hamilton called it, "the best call of his career" as the heavens opened, and he was on the right tyre as everyone else struggled round to the pits. Hamilton saw the race out and stretched his championship lead over Rosberg to 17 points ahead of the next round in Hungary.


Conservative Williams Blow Chance of Victory

Personally for me, what stood out most during the British GP was Williams failure to convert their true pace into a race victory. Both cars got off to flying starts, even running 1-2 after the safety car period at the beginning. Massa was clearly holding Bottas up and should have been let through, or at least have a clean fight for the lead. Instead, both drivers were told not to race each other. As soon as that message came over, it was clear what was going to happen. Unfortunately, we’ve seen it a few times in the last year with Williams, none more so than Austria last year, where they had a car on pole position and couldn’t do anything with it.

Okay, so Mercedes were the stronger car at that race, but at Silverstone, Williams genuinely looked like they could take the win, if they had played it right strategy-wise. If you are going to keep your faster car behind your slower one, at least pit the slower car to try and maintain position ahead of the Mercedes. The decision to leave Massa out more than a lap after Hamilton pitted also ruined their chances of taking a victory. The second they saw that Hamilton was pitting Massa should have been in the next lap to try and at least cover the Mercedes driver. I am not saying that Massa would have come out in the lead, but maybe he would have been closer to Hamilton and been able to fight.

Ultimately, the decision to keep Bottas behind Massa when he was so much quicker is what cost Williams the race. If Bottas was leading that race, I believe with the pace he showed behind Massa, he would have been able to pull out a bigger gap and would have been able to have a better advantage with regards to strategy and have a great chance of winning. Williams need to find a more ruthless approach to these situations if they find themselves in a winning position again at any point this season.

Alonso Scores as McLaren branded "Arrogant"

Fernando Alonso scored his first point of the season with a 10th place finish at McLaren’s home race, but it was another tough weekend for the team where they were knocked out in Q1, and lost Jenson Button at the second corner. Over the weekend though, the team were branded arrogant by former team boss and BBC pundit Eddie Jordan. Jordan said the top management were too quick to blame Honda for their problems this season, and need to have a look at themselves. He also said that things needed to change at the team if they are to move forward again, especially the higher management.

Jordan believes that McLaren are putting too much emphasis of the lack of power from their Honda unit and not enough on their underperforming chassis. This lead to Ron Dennis calling Jordan a "village idiot". Dennis also admitted how painful this season has been for him and how he wants to turn everything around. Eric Boullier has also came out and said this season has been damaging for the McLaren brand. More importantly I think is the damage and pain it is causing its loyal fans across the globe. McLaren should not be qualifying 17th and 18th at their home grand prix and celebrating a solitary point.

As a fan it is painful to see them in this sorry state and something has to change drastically for next season. The team keep saying that it is a long-term project, but their two drivers surely can’t wait too long for some form of success to come along. Focus should be moved to next season and discussions with Honda on how they can improve their fortunes.

Report courtesy of Simon Gray

Read more on Simon's blog here

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