British Grand Prix: F1 drama as Hamilton wins at Silverstone
After weeks of criticism for F1, Hamilton delivers a thrilling third win in his home Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton battled back from a poor start and overcame late rain to thrill home fans with victory at Silverstone in a British Grand Prix that proved that sometimes Formula 1 can still provide drama.
The world champion's fifth win of the season extended his championship lead to 17 points. His Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg came home second and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was third. Felipe Massa, of Williams, was fourth, ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas.
Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat was sixth, Force India's Nico Hulkenberg took seventh and Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, came eighth.
Hamilton, who has now won the British Grand Prix three times, started on pole position but made a poor start and was passed by Massa and Bottas.
The British driver took the lead after his first pit stop and went in again for wet tyres when rain began to fall during the last quarter of the race. He had to drive the final nine laps in difficult conditions but made no mistakes to the delight of a 140,000 crowd.
Hamilton, who now has 38 Formula One victories, said: "For I think the first time in my career I made the perfect choice on the rain and coming in. I could see the rain coming more and I've never had that before so I feel extremely happy about that.
"I could see the crowd cheering me on every time I came by and just spurring me along. I'm really honoured to be here representing the Brits, to have the British flag up there."
But it was not such a good afternoon for fellow British driver Jenson Button of MacLaren, whose dire season continued as he crashed out on the first lap.
F1 has come in for criticism in recent weeks. It has been claimed it has become dull, predictable and not competitive enough, but yesterday's thriller at Silverstone, the best race of the season, proved it still has plenty to offer.
"Just when Formula 1 needed picking up and dusting down, Silverstone put on the show of the season so far," says Kevin Eason in The Times. "Lewis Hamilton won for the home crowd, 140,000 of the most dedicated and enthusiastic fans in the world, to become one of an elite trio. Only Jim Clark and Nigel Mansell have won the British Grand Prix three times or more and now Hamilton joins the legends of British motor racing.
"Hamilton revelled in the moment, the tension released in a series of spectacular doughnuts in front of the flag-waving, cheering masses. The home crowd roared their hero home in a scene that would rival any seen at Wimbledon or Wembley and a sport that has been floored by wounding criticism and self-doubt was suddenly standing tall."
Daniel Johnson, in the Daily Telegraph, echoes the sentiment. "It might have been the usual result, with Nico Rosberg coming home second, followed by Sebastian Vettel, but boy did we have a race to get there."