From zero to hero for Lewis

On the Wednesday evening before last weekend’s Formula 1 British Grand Prix all teams and every current driver except Lewis Hamilton took part in a superb free promotional event in London’s Trafalgar Square and Whitehall, organised by F1’s new owners Liberty Media. Hamilton understandably incurred the wrath of fans present for refusing to attend and go on holiday instead, being booed when his name was mentioned.

However, just days later at Silverstone the British three time world champion still received a warm reception from many of his fans and went from zero to hero for them as he added another pole position and race victory to his CV.

2017 British GP 2

Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas had been quickest in both opening practice sessions before Lewis topped the timesheets in final practice. Come qualifying, he claimed pole position for the following day’s Grand Prix ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel. A turbo failure during the first part of qualifying meant Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo would have to start near the back of the field, close to McLaren’s Fernando Alonso who suffered a 30 place grid penalty due to further technical woes with his car. The popular Spaniard received a rapturous reception though from the appreciative fans after being quickest in the same first section of qualifying.

Daniel Ricciardo & Max Verstappen 2017 British GP

Silverstone may well have its issues regarding future retention of the British Grand Prix for financial reasons, but it again organised the annual F1 extravaganza superbly and as the clock ticked down towards the 1pm race start time there was a great atmosphere around the circuit and packed grandstands and general entry areas full of fans for all the leading drivers and teams oozed with anticipation and a palpable excitement.

Sadly for British fans there was unwelcome drama on the green flag lap as the drivers headed round the track to form up for the race start when Renault’s unlucky Jolyon Palmer ground to a halt with a hydraulics problem, which meant he never even got to compete in the Grand Prix. Recovery of his stricken car necessitated an aborted start and another formation lap before the red lights went out and the Grand Prix could begin.

Großer Preis von Großbritannien 2017, Sonntag - Wolfgang Wilhelm

The pace of the Mercedes cars had proved better than everyone else all weekend and polesitter Hamilton sprinted into an immediate lead which he was never to relinquish, ahead of Räikkönen, Red Bull’s fast starting Max Verstappen and Vettel. Bottas had qualified fourth fastest, but a five place grid penalty for a premature gearbox change meant he had to start ninth and fight his way through the field.

As the race progressed it soon became clear that Räikkönen was likely to be the only serious challenger to the frontrunning Hamiton and by lap 40 of the 51 lap race distance the order up front was Hamilton ahead of Räikkönen, Vettel and Bottas. Valtteri was closing of Seb though and three tours later his silver Mercedes swept past the red Ferrari to take third place.

2017 British Grand Prix, Sunday - Steve Etherington

With the Grand Prix heading towards its conclusion Kimi suffered a front left puncture which forced him to the pits for a replacement, promoting Valtteri to second position ahead of Seb. However, worse was to follow for Ferrari as soon after exactly the same tyre problem occurred for Vettel, dropping him down the order to finish seventh.

As the chequered flag flew Hamilton and Bottas claimed the top two steps on the podium ahead of Räikkönen, whilst Verstappen beat a recovering Ricciardo to fourth place ahead of Renault’s Nico Hülkenberg and Vettel. In the Force India intra-team battle Esteban Ocon beat Sergio Perez to eighth place, with Williams’ Felipe Massa completing the top ten.

2017 British Grand Prix, Sunday - Steve Etherington

This left Vettel leading Hamilton by a single point in the drivers’ title fight and Mercedes ahead of Ferrari and Red Bull in the constructors’ championship as they head to the Hungaroring outside Budapest in two weeks’ time. It’s a great city with a wonderful little race track in the nearby countryside and I hope you will join me there shortly.

2017 F1 British Grand Prix Results

1  Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)             1hr21m27.430s

2  Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)                +14.063s

3  Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari)                 +36.570s

4  Max Verstappen (Red Bull)              +52.125s

5  Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)              +1m05.955s

6  Nico Hülkenberg (Renault)               +1m08.109s

7  Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)                 +1m33.989s

8  Esteban Ocon (Force India)             Lapped

9  Sergio Perez (Force India)               Lapped

10  Felipe Massa (Williams)                 Lapped

11  Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren)        Lapped

12  Kevin Magnussen (Haas)                Lapped

13  Romain Grosjean (Haas)                Lapped

14  Marcus Ericsson (Sauber)              Lapped

15  Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso)               Lapped

16  Lance Stroll (Williams)                  Lapped

17  Pascal Wehrlein (Sauber)              Lapped

18  Fernando Alonso (McLaren)          Retired

19  Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso)              Retired

20  Jolyon Palmer (Renault)                Did not start

2017 F1 Drivers’ Championship (after 10 rounds of 20)

1  Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)         177 points

2  Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)      176 points

3  Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)       154 points

2017 F1 Constructors’ Championship (after 10 rounds of 20)

1  Mercedes      330 points

2  Ferrari           275 points

3  Red Bull       174 points


By Graham Read


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