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Rain dance - onboard with the best at Silverstone

10 Jul 2015

Ever wondered how hard it is to control a Formula One car on slick tyres in the wet? The answer, of course, is ‘very’, as the video below highlights.

It takes us onboard with four top drivers on lap 38 of last weekend’s 2015 Formula 1 British Grand Prix - just as the previously light rain is beginning to get heavier - and allows us to compare and contrast how they negotiate the tight Luffield turn and the high-speed Woodcote corner. Watch and marvel - and then read on for some further analysis…

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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

Arriving first, race leader Hamilton has no-one ahead to provide a guide to the conditions - but also has a relatively 'less wet' circuit to contend with. Sure enough, a couple of minor steering corrections aside, the world champion makes untroubled progress through Turns 7 and 8 and on to Copse. He would begin to struggle for grip soon after, but nonetheless remained on track until lap 43, when his timely decision to pit for intermediate tyres effectively sealed his victory.

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes

Running fourth, not only does Rosberg have the rain to cope with, he is also locked in battle with Valtteri Bottas in the Williams. Bottas admitted afterwards that he was far from comfortable with his car in the wet and we can see the FW37 visibly squirming ahead. Nevertheless, at this point of the race it’s Rosberg who makes the error, running off track at Woodcote as things get slippery. The German would soon adjust, though. The next lap he had caught and passed Bottas and was rapidly closing on the second-placed Williams of Felipe Massa. By lap 41 Rosberg was positively revelling in the conditions, taking two seconds per lap out of leader Hamilton. Unfortunately his enthusiasm was his undoing - just as he was flying the rain worsened and pitting a lap later than his team mate consigned him to P2 at the flag.

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari

Raikkonen comes through Luffield around a minute after Hamilton, by which time conditions have visibly worsened. It is clear the Finn is unhappy with the combination of his SF15-T and its supersoft tyres as it continually tries to get away from him - so unhappy in fact that he would be the first of the frontrunners to blink, pitting at the end of the lap for inters. It was a call Raikkonen later admitted he made three or four laps too early - and one Ferrari were not entirely happy with. It helped demote him from fifth to an eventual eighth place, a lap down on the leaders.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari

Chasing his team mate hard for fifth place, here Vettel is the embodiment of determination. Just as in Raikkonen’s hands, it is clear the Ferrari is far from easy to control on Silverstone’s slick tarmac. But that doesn’t stop the German pushing it to the limit, making several big catches as he visibly closes in on his team mate ahead. He would indeed pass Raikkonen soon after, before pitting - like Hamilton - at the ideal time on lap 43, vaulting him onto the British podium behind the two Mercedes.