Although the fans couldn’t really see how the world’s greatest drivers perform at a full-wet track, the rest of the British Grand Prix provided plenty of cues about their racing prowess. We dissect the performances of five drivers who were at their best in the tricky mixed conditions of Silverstone.
Lewis Hamilton was once again in sublime form at Silverstone, showing his supremacy in mixed conditions.
Once the safety car pulled into the pits, Hamilton was able to take control of the proceedings, establishing a comfortable gap to the rest of the field. When the VSC was deployed for Pascal Wehrlein’s early exit at turn 1, Hamilton cleverly switched to the intermediate tyres, avoiding a threat from early gamblers. The timing of his switch to slick tyres was also perfect.
From there on, it was a matter of managing the pace up front, as Nico Rosberg and Max Verstappen battled for position, giving him much needed breathing space.
With four wins in five races, Hamilton has closed in within one point of Rosberg in the drivers standings. It’s baffling to believe that at once stage of the season, the two Mercedes drivers were separated by 43 points in the table.
Coming into the weekend, Christian Horner pointed out that Max Verstappen must work on improving his qualifying pace, with teammate Daniel Ricciardo comfortably outpacing him in each session so far.
Verstappen set that right immediately in Silverstone, beating Ricciardo by three tenths in qualifying.
In the race too, he had an upper hand, timing his first pitstop perfectly during the VSC to stay in touch with Rosberg, The Dutchman then pulled off a brave move on the outside of Becketts, moving to the wet line to get ahead of the Mercedes drivers.
Although he had to concede positions when the track became dry and the pace advantage shifted back to Mercedes, he did finish second in the race after Rosberg was handed a post-race penalty for infringing radio rules.
Sergio Perez has been bestowed with a unique ability to find opportunities - and he always grabs them with both hands.
Perez missed the Q3 shootout and started 10th on the grid after Sebastian Vettel’s gearbox penalty. But the Mexican gave away the temptation to pit as soon as the safety car period ended, allowing him to take advantage of the VSC that was deployed just a lap later.
Suddenly, Perez found himself running in fourth place, just behind the Mercedes duo and the leading Red Bull of Verstappen. Although, in dry conditions, Perez would eventually have to give way to both Ricciardo and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, he deserves credit for holding them back for so long.
And once again, he finished ahead of his highly-rated teammate Nico Hulkenberg, despite starting further back on the grid.
Another strong result at Silverstone proved that Carlos Sainz is one of the most underrated drivers on the grid. Although he barely featured during the race, he was always running in the lower reaches of top, grabbing valuable points for Toro Rosso by finishing eighth.
He could have possibly finished higher up the pack, had he also pitted under the VSC. Nevertheless, four points scored at the British GP places him ahead of teammate Daniil Kvyat in the drivers standings.
Kvyat has had a trouble time finding his feat at Toro Rosso, following his surprise demoting from Red Bull after the Russian GP. Things haven’t really gone his way - he has struggled to match Sainz in both race trim and qualifying, with reliability issues adding to his misery.
Hence, a points finish at Silverstone probably marks a reversal of fortunes for the Russian. It was a calm and composed drive by the 22-year-old; not on par with Sainz but still noteworthy.
Toro Rosso continue to show faith in Kvyat and it’s now up to him to step up and prove his worth again, much like Perez has done at Force India.
by Rachit Thukral