After two consecutive race weekends around Europe, Formula One finally came home this weekend to Silverstone for the 2018 British Grand Prix.
With Sebastian Vettel leading Lewis Hamilton by a point coming into this weekend, everyone expected a tough duel between Ferrari and Mercedes whilst there were some surprises further down the field.
Hamilton made to wait for Sixth British Grand Prix Victory
Hamilton entered this weekend dreaming of a record sixth home win to go with England World Cup success.
Ferrari however took advantage of a track resurface this weekend to push Hamilton all the way and boy did they demonstrate that it is definitely a two constructor race for the championship.
Like me, you surely have to wonder whether Kimi Raikkonen deliberately drove into Hamilton at start of race to knock him out of contention for the win. Add in his post-race comment referring to Ferrari using “interesting tactics” then perhaps Kimi knew exactly what he was doing at the start.
Nevertheless, the five time British GP winner proved his talent with a stunning drive to second after two safety cars and a struggling Bottas dropped out of podium contention.
Ultimately, we must probably wonder what Hamilton could of done if Mercedes had pitted Valtteri Bottas to gift him the lead behind Safety Car.
Could he of defended against Bottas and the two Ferraris till end? Would he of been able to race off into distance and victory?
In end, we will never know but Vettel leads the championship by eight points going into his home race.
Haas Rescue Weekend
After an amazing Austrian Grand Prix, Haas were brought back down to Earth with a smash on Friday but actually did a decent job to salvage this weekend with not one but two rescue missions.
FP1 saw Romain Grosjean suffer a heavy smash at Abbey when trying to operate the DRS which had been added to the pit straight for this year, running to turn three.
That ruled him out of FP2 and necessitated a chassis change before both drivers enjoyed a decent Saturday with Grosjean and Team Principal, Guenther Steiner describing it as a “good recovery” after both cars qualified at front of midfield.
Sunday however saw the team needing to force another rescue mission after Grosjean and teammate, Kevin Magnussen collided at start, costing them potential big points.
Grosjean went on to retire on lap 38 after losing the rear at Copse and tagging Carlos Sainz to send both spinning out.
Magnussen meanwhile rescued two points for Haas which is a decent result after this tough weekend.
Steiner however is keen to “evaluate” the race starts events so can avoid any future repeat but acknowledged that two points is better than going home “empty handed”.
Sauber’s Impressive Weekend Falters
Out of all the constructors, many wouldn’t of thought that Sauber would enjoy possibly the strongest weekend out of the midfield teams till race day.
Free practice saw both drivers firmly competing in Q2 terrority and if had translated FP3 form into qualifying, then both cars could of made Q3 for first time in quite a while.
Either way, there is plenty of impressive positives to take from this Saturday in terms of qualifying pace.
Sunday ultimately proved to be hugely disappointing after Charles Leclerc retired with an issue before Marcus Ericsson then crashed out in similar fashion akin to Haas’ Romain Grosjean on Friday.
Ultimately, both Leclerc and Ericsson were “positive” about the progress made this weekend and Team Principal, Frederic Vasseur believes that the team “are in shape to come back stronger…” in Germany.
Williams’ Home Positives
At their home race, things surely couldn’t get any worse for Williams?
After a promising Friday, Saturday proved rather disappointing with aero stall issues affecting both cars and landed Lance Stroll in the gravel during Q1 to bring out red flag.
That necessitated car changes for both drivers and a pit lane start, although Sergey Sirotkin nearly didn’t get racing after a spinning Sergio Perez slid across the pit lane exit as he was joining the race.
Later in race, points became a possibility after numerous retirements but Stroll failed to make much headway into the midfield battle for tenth.
Explaining why he missed out on the points, Stroll revealed that if he had pitted a lap later when first Safety Car came out, he could of potentially picked up a top ten finish via a free pit stop.
Stroll ultimately put it down to “luck in motorsport” not going his way and took heart from the fact that he was able to see the midfield pack just in front.
Now that is definite progress despite Saturday’s issues and Chief Technical Officer, Paddy Lowe was happy “to get two cars home” despite them bringing no points with them.
With Germany up next, Williams must harness those positives because Hockenheim is another power circuit so could well throw up similar tests to those seen this weekend.
Force India quietly deliver
In amongst the mayhem of this weekend across the field, Force India must be commended for a decent weekend despite passing quietly under radar.
Esteban Ocon was on it all weekend despite only failing to finish outside of top ten once, in FP3.
After a tough fortnight, Ocon definitely should be more than “satisfied with … performance gains” because this is more like the Force India that we knew last year when they were in or around top ten.
His seventh place coupled with Sergio Perez’s point following Pierre Gasly’s penalty meant that Force India recorded their third consecutive British GP double points finish.
Funnily enough, today’s point paying positions is the exact same positions where Force India finished the German Grand Prix in 2014 and 16, which is where we are heading next.
Could this positive performance therefore provide confidence for Hockenheim, where they could claim a third consecutive German GP double points finish and also a third double top ten result on bounce for this season?