Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) won the pole, a record fourth at Silverstone, with teammate and driver championship points leader (by 11) Nico Rosberg lined up next door, the fifth Mercedes lockout of the season. An all-Red Bull second row featured Max Verstappen (P3) and Daniel Ricciardo (P4). Heavy clouds and rain were reported as the drivers took their seats for the tenth of 21 rounds this season.
Race control decided to start the race behind the safety car. Brake and tire temperatures were both falling. Real racing began to start Lap 6. Teams discussed whether and when to come in for intermediate tires (vs. the full wets they all started on). Many, including the Ferraris, went in immediately. Ricciardo came in the next lap. The virtual safety car came out moments later as Pascal Wehrlein (Manor) beached himself in the gravel.
The three leaders pitted at the start of Lap 8. Hamilton’s lead was nearly 5 sec both before and after the stop. The gap narrowed to 4.2 sec during Lap 12 (of 52). Verstappen passed Rosberg for second. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) was the first driver to come in for dry tires, Lap 17. Hamilton and Rosberg both came in during the next lap and Verstappen in Lap 19, retaining P2.
Hamilon led Verstappen by 6.9 sec during Lap 25, the German carrying another 2.3 sec on Rosberg. The race leader went off track in Turn 1 of the next lap, but stayed on the pavement. Verstappen followed the same path and didn’t gain an advantage. Rosberg closed on Verstappen and mad his first attempt at a pass at the end of Lap 32, Hamilton stretching his lead to 7 sec.
Rosberg took the spot in Lap 38 as the Red Bull’s tires waned. Hamilton led by 6.5 sec with 10 laps to go. Rosberg’s 7th gear failed with four laps left. The team instructed him to avoid it, in apparent violation of current FIA rules.
Hamilton, Rosberg, Verstappen was the final podium. It was Hamilton’s fourth win in the last five races and his third straight win at Silverstone, the first driver to take three in a row since Jimmy Clark. Kimi Raikkonen finished fifth, breaking his tie in the driver standings with teammate Vettel and moving into third behind the two Mercedes. Ricciardo’s P4 also saw him leapfrog the German, taking fourth in the championship.
Driver standings (Top 10)
Nico Rosberg (Germany), Mercedes – 171
Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain), Mercedes – 167
Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari –106
Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull – 100
Sebastian Vettel (Germany), Ferrari – 98
Max Verstappen (Netherlands), Red Bull – 87
Valtteri Bottas (Finland), Williams-Mercedes – 54
Sergio Perez (Mexico), Force India-Mercedes – 47
Felipe Massa (Brazil), Williams-Mercedes – 38
Romain Grosjean (France), Haas-Ferrari – 28
Mercedes (Rosberg, Hamilton) – 338
Ferrari (Vettel, Raikkonen) – 204
Red Bull Racing (Ricciardo, Verstappen) – 195
Williams-Mercedes (Massa, Bottas) – 92
Force India-Mercedes (Nico Hulkenberg, Perez) – 73
Toro Rosso-Ferrari (Sainz Jr., Kvyat) – 41
McLaren-Honda (Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button) – 32
Haas-Ferrari (Grosjean, Esteban Gutierrez) – 28
Renault (Kevin Magnussen, Jolyon Palmer) – 6
MRT-Mercedes (Pascal Wehrlein, Rio Haryanto) – 1
Next event: Grand Prix of Hungary – Budapest, July 22-24, 2016