Formula 1. The pinnacle of motor racing, and the showcase of the best drivers in the world, racing the best cars in the world. We decided to lightly delve into the world of F1 and begin delivering round by round reports of the action!
Welcome to the latest batch of race reports by our very own Bryan Andrews!
Round 8 – Spielberg Austria
Lewis Hamilton claimed pole on his first timed run during Q3, 0.2 seconds faster than Nico Rosberg in second, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was 3rd after showing impressive pace during free practice, Felipe Massa took the fourth spot followed by Nico Hulkenberg with an impressive showing for Force India in fifth place, ahead of the second Williams of Valtteri Bottas in sixth place.
On race day, Hamilton failed to convert his pole position advantage after a poor start left him in second place behind his teammate. His attempts to retake the lead were curtailed by the deployment of the safety car on lap one following a collision between Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso, when Raikonnen lost control under power as both exited a corner. Alonso’s car ending up on top of Raikkonen’s Ferrari, inches away from Raikkonen’s face, fortunately both drives escaped without injury.
When racing resumed Hamilton was unable to make any headway against Rosberg and following their only pitstops of the race received a 5 second penalty after crossing the lane marking on the pit exit, this effectively sealed the result midway through the race, their placing remaining unchanged at the chequered flag. Felipe Massa held off a late race charge from Vettel to take the final podium spot for Williams.
Round 9 – Silverstone
In qualifying Lewis Hamilton took pole position for Mercedes with teammate Nico Rosberg alongside in 2nd place, Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas lined up 3rd and 4th respectively following an impressive showing for Williams at their home grand prix, Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel completed the top 6.
Both Mercedes drivers found themselves down the order on race day after a lightning starts by Massa and Bottas in the Williams. Hamilton had to fend off a determined challenge from Bottas for second place during lap 1, but fortunately for Hamilton the safety car was deployed at the end of lap one following the incident involving both McLarens and both Lotus cars. 3 of the 4 retired with only Alonso managing to continue, albeit with a damaged car.
At the restart Hamilton made an ambitious attempt to take the lead from Massa, the move failed and Hamilton ran wide allowing Bottas to take 2nd place from him in the process.
Over the course of the next few laps confusion appeared to descend on the Williams pit wall. Bottas clearly the faster of the two cars was initially told to “hold station” behind Massa, only to be told several laps later that he was free to race for the lead. Sadly this didn’t last for long as Hamilton opted for an early pit stop.
Massa and Rosberg pitted shortly after, but after putting together a blistering in lap and strong out lap Hamilton passed both cars as they were leaving the pits. Bottas pitted the following lap and was able to rejoin just in front of Rosberg, and these positions remained unchanged until rain began to fall on lap 36.
Initially rain only fell on part of the circuit, but this was enough to cause Bottas to briefly lose the rear of his car allowing Rosberg to pass him for 3rd place, and soon afterwards Massa for 2nd place.
The rain began to fall again, and this was bad news for Williams who had struggled in the earlier shower as both cars were quickly caught and then passed by Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari, at the chequered flag it was Hamilton who took his 3rd British GP victory, followed home by Rosberg in 2nd and Vettel claiming the final podium spot in 3rd, after showing so much promise the Williams cars came home in 4th and 5th places leaving pundits to speculate what could have been if Bottas had been released and allowed to use his pace earlier in the race.
Round 10 – Hungary
Qualifying followed with the usual format by now with Hamilton taking pole from Rosberg in 2nd, Sebastian Vettel took 3rd place on the grid with Daniel Ricciardo taking 4th for Red Bull, Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top 6.
The race was initially a sombre affair following a minutes silence on the grid to honour Jules Bianchi who passed away on 17th July 2015 after succumbing to injuries sustained at the Japanese Grand Prix in 2014.
Once again both Mercedes cars made poor starts which allowed Sebastian Vettel to take the lead from 3rd on the grid.
Behind him, drama and chaos unfolded as Hamilton followed calamity after calamity, finding himself down the order after a failed attempt to pass Vettel for the lead. Another mistake at the chicane midway through the first lap cost him another 6 places, and Raikkonen managed to pass Rosberg for 2nd place.
Both Ferrari’s then broke away from the pack with Rosberg unable to keep pace with them. Hamilton then set about trying to rebuild his race by putting together a fast stint which saw him pass Massa, Perez and then Ricciardo. He then set about reeling Nico Rosberg in, however this charge was curtailed following the deployment of the safety car after Nico Hulkenburg’s front wing failed in spectacular fashion.
The majority of drivers behind the top 4 opted to pit during the safety car period to put on the softer tyre. The track clean-up took 6 laps and racing resumed with 20 laps to go. Unfortunately, Hamilton had yet another calamity when he collided with Ricciardo’s car at the restart, this resulted in a badly damaged front wing for Hamilton meaning he had to pit for a replacement. Then just to add insult to injury he then had to serve a drive through penalty for causing the collision.
Vettel continued to lead the race, whilst Raikkonen who had been running as high as 2nd place eventually had to retire with a hybrid system failure.
Nico Rosberg held 2nd place, but with 4 laps to go he gained a puncture following a racing incident with Ricciardo, and after a trip to the pits he re-joined well down the order in 8th place.
Hamilton meanwhile had been steadily working back through the field and would eventually finish two places ahead of his teammate in 6th place.
At the chequered flag it was Vettel who took the victory from Kvyat in 2nd, with Ricciardo taking the final podium spot. Amazingly after such a horrendous race Hamilton actually increased his lead in the championship standings going into the summer break.
Top 6 Driver Championship Standings
- Lewis Hamilton – 202pts
- Nico Rosberg – 181pts
- Sebastian Vettel – 160pts
- Valtteri Bottas – 77pts
- Kimi Raikkonen – 76pts
- Felipe Massa – 74pts
- Mercedes – 383pts
- Ferrari – 236pts
- Williams – 151pts
- Red Bull – 96pts
- Force India – 39pts
- Lotus – 35pts