British GP 2018: Red-coloured podium on Hamilton's turf

The last part of the triple-header took place at legendary Silverstone. Instead of the typical British weather, there were blue skies and scorching temperatures, which made the weekend perfect. Sebastian had completed only eight laps in the last free practice session, as the German had suffered from severe neck pain. Some sources were even questioning whether Sebastian was able to take part in the qualifying. However, the qualifying turned out a success story. This time there was no variety in terms of the tyre strategy in Q2, but all teams sent their drivers out on the yellow-walled soft rubber. The shootout for pole seemed to be between the red and the silver cars, as Red Bull were significantly lacking pace on the straights. The shootout for pole was a true thriller. In spite of the neck issue, Sebastian took provisional pole by 0.057s to the home hero Hamilton, who was chasing already his 6th pole on his home soil. After the first runs, Bottas was third, and Kimi fourth. However, Hamilton's second run was absolutely phenomenal, and to the home crowd's delight, the Briton made it on 4th successive pole at Silverstone! Unfortunately, Sebastian was unable to improve his lap time on his second run, but he was only 44 thousandths of a second shy of the pole-setter Hamilton! Kimi set the fastest time in sector one, but made a mistake in the second sector, and, although he set the fastest time in sector three, the Iceman was left third. The battle was extremely intense, as the top three were separated by 98 thousandths of a second only! This time Bottas was left out of the front row, and the Finn had to settle for P4. Third row was locked down by the Red Bull duo of Verstappen and Ricciardo. The Haas drivers Magnussen and Grosjean locked down the fifth row.

What a drama-filled race the British GP turned out to be! The start was the first turning point. Sebastian on P2 got a tremendous start and stormed to the lead. Pole-setter Hamilton took the worst start of the top three, and he was also overtaken by teammate Bottas. Kimi was right at the Briton's tail in P4. Going into Turn 3, Kimi braked too late, which caused a lock-up. Hamilton was on the outside of Kimi, and the Iceman ended up hitting Hamilton's Mercedes! The contact caused Hamilton to spin, and the quadruple world champion dropped down to P17. Kimi, on the other hand, was able to continue and maintain his fourth place. The incident was taken into investigation by the stewards, and some laps later Kimi was handed a 10-second time penalty for causing the collision. Teammate Sebastian had been handed a 5-second penalty for a similar incident in France...

Although Hamilton repeatedly complained on the team radio that his car didn't feel good, the Briton started rapidly to make his way through the field. By lap 11 Hamilton had made his way up to P6 already. Kimi pitted as soon as on lap 14; the Iceman suffered his 10-second penalty and then switched to the white-marked medium Pirellis. All top drivers opted for a similar tyre choice. After the first pit stops, Sebastian was still leading the race with a 2.7-second gap to Bottas. Verstappen was third, Ricciardo fourth and Kimi fifth. Having pitted, Hamilton re-joined the track in P6.

Unexpectedly, Ricciardo pitted for the second time on lap 31. The Australian opted for a fresh set of soft Pirellis and dropped down to P6 when re-joining the track. Another turning point in the race was lap 33. Sauber's Ericsson went to Turn 1 with his DRS open and lost control of his car. The Swede ended up crashing into the tyre wall at high speed. Luckily, he got away from the shunt unharmed, but, naturally, the crash brought out the safety car. Both red-suited drivers and Red Bull's Verstappen pitted during the safety car, everyone opting for the softs. Neither Bottas nor Hamilton had a fresh set of softs left, so both silver cars stayed out on their worn mediums. Bottas was now leading the race.

The re-start was filled with wheel-to-wheel action. Bottas maintained his lead, with Sebastian right at the Finn's tail. Kimi was having a heart-stopping battle with his "arch enemy" Verstappen for P3. Kimi squeezed determinedly past the flying Dutchman, but Max wasn't going to let his third place to be taken away from him! Wow, this was definitely Formula 1 action at its best!

Almost immediately after the re-start there was drama again. Renault's Sainz made a move on Haas' Grosjean, trying to overtake the Frenchman, but the manoeuvre led into a collision, and both drivers were out of the race. Safety car was deployed, again!

The second re-start took place on lap 41. Sebastian was extremely hungry to get past Bottas and was patiently lurking for an opportunity to attack the Finn. The Ferrari aces were both on flames, as Kimi had decided to make it past Verstappen permanently and make it on the podium. A couple of laps later it finally happened; Kimi squeezed it past Verstappen and moved third! What an amazing move from the "good old Kimi"!

The last 10 laps were such an amazing thriller. Sebastian was putting huge pressure on the race leader Bottas. Kimi, on the other hand, had smelled Hamilton's blood, being right at the home hero's tail. Such a close fight between four top drivers hasn't been seen for a long time! My heart was pounding, and I was shouting "Get past Sebastian!" and "Go for it Kimi!" It was just perfect Formula 1 action, really!

In the closing stages of the race, Verstappen's RB14 was hit with a brake issue, which ended the race for the Dutchman. Meanwhile, Sebastian had seen his opportunity to attack; he made a move on Bottas and snatched the lead from the Finn! Wow, what a staggering move from Sebastian indeed! Bottas had no chance to defend his position on his dying mediums. Soon also teammate Hamilton and Kimi in his SF71-H made their way past Bottas, who had dropped to P4 in only a heartbeat.

I was shouting from joy as Sebastian crossed the finish line as the race winner, ending Mercedes' 5-year winning streak at Silverstone. Home hero Hamilton finished the runner-up, which was an excellent result after the costly first-lap incident. Kimi had fought like a lion, and it was absolutely delightful to see the Iceman completing the podium. Noteworthy is the fact that Kimi has finished on the podium in every three races of the triple-header! Bottas finished as disappointing fourth, and Red Bull's Ricciardo had to be content with being fifth. Hulkenberg brought good points for Renault by finishing sixth.

Sebastian has now extended his lead to 8 points in the drivers' championship standings. Ferrari have now opened a 20-point gap to title rival Mercedes in the constructors' standings. Very well done from the Red Team indeed! What an entertainment, success and glory the triple-header has offered! Forza Ferrari!

With passion for racing red, 
Iina Huhmarniemi

Jul 12, 2018
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