Washed out Silverstone presented the most expensive spinning car spectacle on TV. The star of the day though was local hero Hamilton winning his first home GP; the last Silverstone Brit winner being David Coulthard in 2000 also in a McLaren. Making the win sweeter was Hamilton’s finish over a minute ahead of second placed Heidfeld and third placed Honda surprise Barrichello; these were the only three drivers on the lead lap.
Dry Qualifying on Saturday was hardly representative of things due to turn out on Sunday. Heikki Kovalainen snatched his first F1 Pole with Webber joining him on the front Row, while the former’s team mate managed only a P4. Kimi had to be content with P3 and team mate Massa just a P9 after suffering problems with his pit stop which prevented his final run. Improving Renaults managed sixth and seventh spots.
Starting on a wet tarmac, all drivers were on inters. At the start, Hamilton made a great move on the top three, nearly touched wheels with P1 Heikki and got to second, and soon got the best of him at the fast Becketts curves on Lap5. Heikki went slipping further giving the place to Kimi. Tragedy struck the Finn when he opted not to change tyres after pitting at Lap21 which dearly cost him places as against the McLarens who opted to change tyres worked well with rain hitting the track. Another driver to face a similar fate as Kimi was Alonso who stayed out on the same tyres till the end. Both Champions nevertheless finished fourth and sixth, albeit a lap down on the leader.
Nick Heidfeld drove a neat race for an infallible second in his BMW while his team mate Kubica retired. My favorite performer on Sunday was Rubens Barrichello, or in fact, the strategy of Ross Brawn for putting both Hondas on extreme wets on Lap35. The old war horse cruised past to second till he made a last splash and dash and came out third. This was poor old Barrichello’s return to the Podium after having left Ferrari.
Rest of the field was completed by Kovalainen in fifth with Trulli and Nakajima taking the final points places. The driver to be classified last, was poor Massa, arguably the best spinner of the day with nearly six spins and for once almost took out a rabbit in an off-track excursion. In the end, the day belonged to Hamilton who called it “the toughest win of my career, but definitely the best.” He was truly a class in himself.
The race for the Championship is way too open even as 9 of 18 races are now complete. Lewis Hamilton, Kimi & Massa lead with 48 points apiece with Kubica closely following them at 46 for the drivers’ title. This is despite Massa and Kubica returning from Silverstone empty handed. For the constructors’ title, the Scuderia at 96 lead BMW by 14 points; McLaren are not too far with their 72. All this with still half a season left!