Today’s race will be remembered as a real F1 classic, in which much of the excitement was provided by Scuderia Ferrari. Unfortunately, not all of it was positive, as Kimi Raikkonen was involved in a very scary accident on the opening lap: the Finn limped away to be checked in the medical centre. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries. As for Fernando Alonso, he produced a scintillating drive in a ‘battle of the champions’ as he and Sebastian Vettel fought wheel to wheel for the final third of the race. In the end, the Red Bull driver just got ahead, as the Ferrari man’s tyres were older, to claim fifth place. The British crowd got what it wanted, in the shape of a home win for Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes. Valtteri Bottas was heroic in taking his Williams from 14th on the grid to second place, and joining them on the podium in third spot was the ever-consistent Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull.
Having qualified 19th and 20th yesterday, various penalties saw Fernando promoted to sixteenth on the grid, one row ahead of Kimi in eighteenth. The Scuderia duo were the only drivers to start on the Hard tyre. There was a crash on the opening lap, as Kimi ran wide onto the Wellington Straight using the run off area on the outside of the corner. As he rejoined the track, a rut between the grass and the tarmac spun his F14 T around, so that it hit the right hand barrier very hard, bounced the car back across the track and into the path of Felipe Massa in the Williams. The Brazilian’s 200th Grand Prix was over and Ferrari’s Finn can be grateful for Felipe’s lightning fast reactions avoiding a far worse impact. Kimi was helped out of the car and was clearly limping and in pain. The race was red flagged and by this stage, Fernando had moved up two places to fourteenth and he switched to the Medium tyre during the wait.
Almost an hour after the original start, the race was on again, with Fernando in 13th place. At the front, Magnussen came under pressure from Hamilton, ran wide, promoting the Mercedes man to third. Fernando passed Gutierrez and was now 12th. The Spaniard then charged past Sutil at Brooklands, followed by Chilton to get into the top ten.
On lap 6, Alonso passed Kvyat to take ninth. Ricciardo tried to pass Hulkenberg at Stowe, which allowedFernando to get ahead of the Red Bull at Vale and then set off in pursuit of Hulkenberg. He duly got ahead of the Force India, just as the stewards announced he was under investigation for allegedly being in the wrong place on the grid at the first start. It seemed not the entire car was within the grid slot.
Fernando came in on lap 25, with the crew waiting the compulsory 5 seconds to take the penalty, prior to changing tyres, fitting a new set of Mediums, after which he rejoined ninth. The Spaniard then dispensed with Hulkenberg to go back to eighth and he moved up a further spot next time round after Magnussen pitted the McLaren.
On lap 28, Rosberg slowed dramatically and stopped, so that Hamilton now led, with Bottas second and yet to change tyres. Vettel and Ricciardo were third and fourth, with Button fifth ahead of Fernando. Vettel pitted from second on lap 33, coming out in fourth place on fresher rubber than Fernando, who was right behind him. The man from Oviedo pulled off a very brave move to go past into Copse, to take fifth, but Vettel closed the gap and got past at Brooklands, before Fernando immediately muscled his way back ahead again. TheFernando-Vettel battle continued to thrill the crowd, especially on lap 48 as they were wheel to wheel for several corners, before the Spaniard had to give best to the German. From then on their positions remained unchanged to the chequered flag.
The championship now moves to Hockenheim, Germany in two weeks time, when Kimi is expected to be fully fit and ready to race alongside Fernando.
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