Lewis scores heroic 75th podium for Mercedes at home
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport’s Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas took Silverstone by storm with heroic drives to P2 and P4 respectively, despite an unfortunate Lap 1 incident and a breathless battle for the lead in the closing laps of the race.
As the lights went out, 4th-placed Valtteri got away brilliantly – more so than the two Ferraris and teammate Lewis ahead – catapulting the Finn into a challenge for the lead by Turns 3 and 4.
Lewis’ start suffered from wheelspin by comparison, and by Turn 3 he was placed 3rd with Raikkonen on the inside. Locking his front wheels under braking, the Finn understeered into Hamilton’s right rear tyre, resulting in a violent spin and placing Lewis 18th by the end of Lap 1.
Having started both drivers on the Soft compound, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsportsettled into the first stint – Valtteri chasing leader Vettel with a planned stop around Lap 22, and Lewis going longer to clear the slower cars ahead.
Lewis’ charge through the field delivered 6th place by Lap 10, and at the front of the pack Valtteri maintained pressure on Vettel by consistently lapping in the low 1m34s, the gap just 4.4s as the leader pitted on Lap 20 to fit Medium tyres.
By Lap 26, both Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport drivers fitted Mediums and continued their pursuit of Vettel. However, the nature of the race soon changed significantly as Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber crashed heavily at Turn 1, prompting the first appearance of the Mercedes AMG GT R Safety Car since the French Grand Prix.
As cars around them opted to pit under Safety Car conditions for new Soft tyres, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport sought to take advantage of track position with the already-fitted Medium compound. The top 6 were now nose-to-tail with Valtteri and Lewis promoted to 1st and 3rd position.
At the restart on Lap 37, Bottas executed a textbook getaway on the Hangar Straight to lead the pack, and the running order remained unchanged as just 3 laps later the Safety Car reappeared in response to a second incident. Valtteri repeated his earlier success with another great restart on Lap 41, and the following 11 tours of Silverstone proved to be the most action-packed in recent memory with an all-out battle for victory between the two Ferraris and Silver Arrows.
Squeezing the last drops of performance from his Medium tyres, Valtteri gave everything to hold on to the lead, but had to concede to a DRS-assisted challenge from Vettel at Brooklands corner. This spirited defense ultimately led to Lewis passing a lap later, and Raikkonen following suit just a few laps from the flag.
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport would go on to finish P2 and P4, Lewis’ half-race-old Mediums unable to challenge Vettel’s pace on fresh tyres.
Pure Pit Wall reported 63 overtakes in total, with the addition of a third DRS zone helping to produce 22 of these manouevres.
Sebastian Vettel (171 points) leads the Drivers’ Championship by 8 points from Lewis (163 points), with Valtteri maintaining P6 (104 points). Ferrari (287 points) lead the Constructors’ Championship by 20 points from Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (267 points).
As we take a break following F1’s inaugural triple-header, find out how Pure Storage gives Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport an #UnfairAdvantage at PurePitWall.com.