! There’s no nicer way of saying this, Williams cost themselves a serious, serious chance of the win today. By letting Hamilton go for the undercut at the end of the first stint, they forced Williams to stop to respond, and in just 1 lap with clear air, Hamilton broke off a 3 second advantage. Williams should have gone first, and try to keep track position, because it was more than obvious that in dry conditions, Mercedes did not have an answer for them stuck behind.
Then when the rain came down with 15 laps to go, it only went from bad to worse for Williams. They didn’t bite when the rain first started, but the second wave was worse, and with Vettel and Hamilton pitting right on the crossover, the extra lap and pit stop cost Williams dearly, with Sebastian leapfrogging the pair of them to finish on the podium. As I saw on Twitter, P4 for Massa, P5 for Bottas, P45 for the strategist. Come on Williams, I thought we were over this…
Meanwhile at the very front, a sensational call from Lewis Hamilton, timing the pit stop for Inters perfectly to stop what was a hard-charging Rosberg. Rosberg thought the track was still dry enough, but he had gotten it wrong, as Lewis romped to victory after pitting 1 lap sooner. A shame for Nico, who in my opinion, was equally impressive given his race was compromised further by being second to pit and being stuck behind both Williams for 20 laps, but passing them in impressive fashion once the rain came down. It’s drives like that, with damage limitation in mind, than can save your Championship.
Credit Sebastian Vettel for making the right call too, after falling to 9th off the start, to comeback how he did was very impressive, his 6th podium of the season as tightens his grip on the “Daniel Ricciardo” paperweight for 3rd in the Championship. A shame it can’t be said for Kimi Raikkonen, who pitted twice in the rain to limp home in 9th. With doubts of his future still in the air, that was the last thing he needed.
A resurgent Force India?
Remember kids, if all else fails, give your car nostrils, that’ll work! I want to give Force India some credit here. Think of it like this, for all the crap they’ve been given for their well documented issues so far this season such as struggling to pay the engine bills, the delays of their B-Spec 2015 car, but lost in the shuffle have been two consecutive double points finishes, with Nico Hulkenberg’s 3rd straight race in the Top 8, impressive indeed, and I think he had a real chance of a Top 5 if he pitted in conjunction with the undercutting Ferrari’s.
Force India are solidly in the Top 5 of the constructors, a hump I always thought they should aim to overturn, and they think they can go after Red Bull in 4th after that team too has had documented struggles. Why not? They’re clearly in the mix and just 24 points behind, and with Hulkenberg and Perez in good form, there’s no reason for them NOT to aim high.
The Timing of it all
A genuinely great race today, and after F1 seems to be busy beating itself up in the mirror as internal and external criticisms run high, it’s amazing how one great race can turn it all around and realize: “You know, things aren’t all that bad.”
Yes, the racing isn’t always this good, and it never will be 9/10’s every time out, but sometimes, you just have to say, fuck it, that shit was good. Seriously, if the worst part of your GP was Alesha Dixon’s national anthem, you’ve done alright. Just a shame the momentum kinda suffers with 3 weeks until Hungary, but in any case, this was the race that F1 needed. A dramatic battle, some captivation, and a 140,000 British fans who got one of a show.
Dre’s Race Rating: 8/10 – Great