What a difference a race makes. The British Grand Prix just passed might have had a usual-looking result for this season but in getting there a lot was unfamiliar. And all that was required to create this was a jumble off the start which for a time took the Mercs away from their habitual front-running pomp. Then when it looked like a semblance of normality had returned, the good old-fashioned British summer weather intervened to further alter things.
For all that the sport’s entertainment offering and future form continue to be debated the Silverstone race in combination with a highly impressive 140,000 being there to watch supported what a few have been arguing – that F1 isn’t that far away from being healthy.
The Day Changes From The Off
The day took its unusual bent right from the get-go as the Mercs left the line as if with anchors dropped and the two Williams from row two swept by to lead, with the evergreen Felipe Massa ahead. And in the first part of the race the Mercs weren’t making much impression on them. The day for the silver cars might have got even tougher too had the Williams pair – with Valtteri Bottas looking the quicker – switched and allowed Bottas to build a lead while Massa bottled up the Mercs. But they didn’t, the Grove team not for the first time impeding itself with strategy timidity.
Sure enough it left the Williams vulnerable to an undercut and Merc turned things around by timing its only (planned) stop for its leader on the road of Lewis Hamilton perfectly, the Englishman helping with stunning in and out laps. After the shakeout Lewis led and even better for him his team mate Nico Rosberg remained in fourth behind Team Willy. It looked like the day all of a sudden was done.
But as intimated the weather still had a say. Rain arrived in low quantities first and only at a corner or two. It was enough though for Nico to clear the Williams finally, whose car hasn’t for a while liked such conditions. It looked like the day could turn even further indeed as a now-happy Nico tore around two seconds a lap from Lewis’s advantage and appeared all poised to take the lead.
Lewis’s inspired call
But at that precise moment matters turned once again. The rain returned and this time properly; covering the whole track. And at that precise moment Lewis dived into the pits for intermediate tyres and while it at that moment appeared hasty it in fact was wonderfully-timed. The call to pit was all Lewis’ too. Nico cruised around another lap on a now saturated surface and after he’d pitted himself Lewis was nine seconds up the road. The day was, this time, finally, done.
Many of the vast crowd therefore were sent away happy of course. And for Lewis, not only at home but facing recent momentum from his team mate, the win was a timely one. Perhaps for F1 as a whole though Sunday’s drama was the most timely thing of all.