Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton claimed his 27th career victory at the British Grand Prix, using a two-stop strategy in a thrilling duel against his team mate Nico Rosberg, where strategy was key. But Rosberg’s eventual retirement meant that Hamilton has closed to within just four points of the championship lead.
The race was red-flagged following an accident on the opening lap, with an hour’s delay for barrier repairs. As the re-start was a continuation of the race that had already started, drivers were allowed to change their tires on the grid. Providing both compounds were at some point used, any driver switching compounds during that period would theoretically not be obliged to change tires again during the race.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso switched from hard to medium, while the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso), Romain Grosjean (Lotus) and Sergio Perez (Force India) made the opposite move from medium to hard.
A two-stop strategy was used by Hamilton to win the race, but the rest of the podium – and seven out of the top 10 – was made up of one-stoppers, at one of the toughest circuits of the season. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who finished third, made his final set of medium tires last for 37 laps.
The teams will now remain in Silverstone for a two-day in-season test on Tuesday and Wednesday. Under the 2014 regulations, each team has to devote one of in-season testing throughout the year to Pirelli, as the Italian firm develops future products. Ferrari and Marussia will test for Pirelli on Tuesday, while Red Bull and Lotus F1 Team will undertake Pirelli testing duties on Wednesday. Lotus F1 Team will run a new 18-inch wheel concept in a demonstration on Wednesday, designed to provide an insight into what Formula One might look like in the future.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “The restart at the beginning of the race obviously had an effect on the tire strategy, with a few drivers taking advantage of the situation to switch from their original strategy. We saw some quite opposite approaches being taken, with most drivers who changed moving to the harder tire, while Alonso was able to exploit the extra speed of the medium tire – worth about a second a lap – to gain track position after the re-start. The same story continued throughout the race with a number of different approaches to strategy. Even though Silverstone contains the highest lateral energy loadings of the year, seven drivers in the top 10 proved that it was possible to one-stop, which says a lot about the durability of these tires. Even Lewis Hamilton, who took a brilliant home win, could probably have stopped just once. Now we look forward to this week’s test, during which we will see what an 18-inch tire looks like on a Formula One car, and it’s going to be very interesting to hear what people think about that.”