Max Verstappen had been the only driver to start on the Hard compound Pirelli tyres. The Safety Car was required immediately following the start, when the two McLarens tangled and, in a separate incident, the Lotus of Romain Grosjean made contact with Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull and that in turn wiped out the Frenchman’s team-mate, Maldonado. After the Safety Car pitted and the field was released to race once more, the Dutchman spun off between turns 2 and 3, and the car was stuck in the gravel and his race was over.
His team-mate Carlos Sainz was running tenth when he made a first pit stop on lap 12 and was ninth on lap 32 when he had to coast to a halt on the track with what seemed to be an electrical problem. The Spaniard banged on the steering wheel in frustration, and the incident briefly required the Virtual Safety Car conditions to be applied.
A quick glance at the final result; Lewis Hamilton winning his home Grand Prix, ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel joining them on the podium, with the two Williams and a Red Bull completing the top six, could make you think it had been a pretty normal race. Far from it, as Hamilton and Rosberg had to fight hard to get ahead of the Williams duo who jumped them at the start. In-fighting in the Williams camp probably helped Vettel steal third spot. The German was also helped by making a good call for tyres when the traditional Silverstone rain showers came and went over the last 20 laps or so.
In fact, this was possibly the most exciting race of the season so far and it was held in front of a record crowd of around 140,000 and a total figure over the three days of 300,000.
With the German Grand Prix unfortunately having to be cancelled, Formula 1 now has a slightly longer break than usual before the Hungarian Grand Prix in three weekends’ time. A break from racing yes, but not a break from work, as everyone in Faenza will be working hard to fight back from this Silverstone setback.