• The Final Stint

Advantage Hamilton

Laurence Edmondson at Silverstone
July 7, 2014
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It's back on

What a difference a gearbox failure makes. Just 24 hours after Lewis Hamilton appeared to have made another costly error in qualifying, Nico Rosberg's gearbox started to fail and with it the championship battle took its latest about turn. Hamilton knew he had messed up on Saturday night, that much was clear from his press conference, but by Sunday evening the title battle had been reset, with four points between the two Mercedes drivers and ten races remaining. Psychologically it was exactly what Hamilton needed, but after the race he said he was still keen to take the fight to Rosberg to prove he was the faster man. Neutral fans will also have felt hard done by not to see the battle unfold, with Hamilton's original plan to switch to a set of mediums for the final stint to attack Rosberg, who would have been on the hard compound. It would have been a reversal of the Bahrain battle, but with the more attacking driver making the moves from second place while the shrewd operator defended his lead. It would have been a magnificent battle. The good news is that the pair will no doubt be matched on track again, and as each round passes the stakes are getting progressively higher.

Radio rants ruin real racing

In lieu of the battle for the lead, the fans at Silverstone were treated to Fernando Alonso going wheel-to-wheel with Sebastian Vettel over fifth place. It was some of the best racing this season and further proof that not much is wrong with the current formula when the drivers are let off the leash and the track allows overtaking. The only negative to come out of it was the whining from both drivers over the radio. The nature of the battle meant that the two were pushing the boundaries at every opportunity, but the quality of the battle meant they never pushed too far. Nevertheless, Alonso was not happy that Vettel was exceeding track limits to get a run on him in the DRS zones and Vettel felt Alonso was doing the same to keep him behind on the exit of Copse. Niki Lauda said after the race that the issue was not with the drivers, but the rules they are trying to manipulate: "They are used to complaining to get the stewards working. But it should all stop, we should let them race like in the past but with all the safety we have nowadays. Let the drivers be personalities, they should decide if they want to hit each other, without always worrying that the stewards will do something. Under investigation … why is everything always under investigation? Let them race unless there is a huge bad accident, only then you have to do something." Spoken like a true racer…

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The big one

Niki Lauda was less complimentary about the other Ferrari driver, saying Kimi Raikkonen should have thought twice before returning to the track at high speed over a patch of grass. The impact with the wall that followed was recorded at 47G and left Raikkonen bruised, as well as flinging his Ferrari into the path of Felipe Massa. If a rookie had caused such an accident he would have been penalised or possibly banned, yet Raikkonen appears to have got away without punishment for what was clearly a driver error. If drivers are to be allowed to race as Lauda suggests, they need to show that are responsible enough to do so without endangering themselves and others. Raikkonen, who really should know better, did not do that on Sunday.

Power games

Although driver market speculation has yet to hit its peak this season, the pieces of the 2015 jigsaw are slotting into place. Ahead of the British Grand Prix weekend, Tony Fernandes finally confirmed he was selling up at Caterham with unnamed Swiss and Middle Eastern investors buying into the team. That in itself was not a surprise, but it coincided with Renault announcing major changes to its management, including the return of ex-Caterham team principal Cyril Abiteboul. Meanwhile, it is all but confirmed that Lotus will switch to Mercedes power next season, giving Renault greater flexibility to concentrate its efforts on Red Bull, who have been cosying up with Abiteboul since the start of the season. Over at Ferrari there are rumours that engine boss Luca Marmorini is on his way out as Marco Mattiacci looks to set his team straight behind closed doors. The extent of the failure of Ferrari compared to Mercedes is inexcusable this year and changes are being made. What's more Ferrari has now struck up a deal with Haas Automation, which is expected to lead to a very close technical partnership when Gene Haas' F1 team makes the grid in 2016.

They don't make 'em like they used to

Ahead of the weekend, Lewis Hamilton tweeted a statement of intent. It is understandable, therefore, that he was a little miffed when, after fighting from sixth on the grid to take a seminal victory in front of his home fans, he did not receive the historic Royal Automobile Club trophy he had set his sights on. Instead he was handed an artistic interpretation of the main sponsor's logo, which duly fell to pieces as he held it aloft. He was reunited with the RAC trophy - which was first awarded to Luigi Villoresi in 1948 for winning the British Grand Prix - in the press conference, where he took the opportunity to compare old and new. "This one's a lot nicer," he said of the RAC trophy in front of him. "I mean, growing up watching Formula One, you see trophies like this. Real trophies, you know? The trophies that we have nowadays - while it's a real privilege being on top of the podium, my one fell to pieces! The bottom fell off the one we just had. It's plastic, it must have cost £10! It's so bad. I might just get the plaque, which is probably the most expensive part of the trophy. Back in the day they really, really made the trophies. And this is the special thing about being on the podium and winning. These trophies mean - for me, I don't know how it is for the other drivers - but this is what we have to show for our lifetime achievements. I hope we can get some better ones moving forwards." Grand prix sponsors, you have been warned.

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