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Winners and losers - Great Britain

11 Jul 2016

Sunday’s 2016 Formula 1 British Grand Prix featured its fair share of drama, duels and post-race controversy - as well as some typically unpredictable Silverstone weather. But who came away beaming like a ray of sunshine, and who left feeling like the proverbial wet weekend?


The winners…

Lewis Hamilton

He came, he saw, and for the third year in a row he conquered. That made Hamilton the only man ever to have won three British Grands Prix on the bounce at Silverstone (though Jim Clark won four of his five in a row, albeit at Aintree, Silverstone, Brands Hatch and Silverstone again).

Memories of Hamilton’s Baku debacle were well and truly forgotten as he sliced another 10 points off team mate Nico Rosberg’s championship lead, so that going into the notional mid-season race in Hungary in a fortnight they are separated by a single point. Small wonder his post-race celebrations with the crowd were a little off the wall.

Mercedes

They might have lost three points with Rosberg’s post-race demotion, but once again Mercedes looked to have the legs of everyone when it really mattered.

Not so long ago it seemed that the opposition were catching up. Red Bull’s speed here notwithstanding, they still looked dangerously dominant all weekend.

Red Bull

The pace that, in particular, Max Verstappen was able to wring out of the Red Bull showed that the Milton Keynes constructor is fast closing on Ferrari just when the Scuderia had believed it would be closing on Mercedes.

The RB12 looks extraordinarily poised, suggesting that all it really needs is more horsepower to get on to really competitive terms with Mercedes. The team pulled Ferrari in by 18 points this weekend, and now face circuits that should really suit them. The British Grand Prix weekend marked a significant turn in their fortunes.

Max Verstappen

Calling Max Verstappen the revelation of the season might sound trite, but it’s true. Yet again the 18 year-old Dutchman showed class, poise and awesome speed as he gave Rosberg a serious run for his money and eventually finished runner-up again to Hamilton. Truly, we are witnessing the emergence of the next great talent in F1, and the British Grand Prix was yet another reminder that even Hamilton might have to work to hold on to his laurels if Verstappen ever gets a fully competitive machine.

The fans

The weather might have done its best just before the start of the race to rain on their parade figuratively and literally, but British race fans are a necessarily hardy bunch. And when Hamilton crossed the finish line to win for the third year in a row, they got their reward and couldn’t care less about the discomfort they might have felt an hour and three quarters earlier when the heavens had opened.

The Silverstone weekend was motor racing at its best, with a terrific Grand Prix as well as close racing in both the supporting GP2 and GP3 Series.

And the losers…

Nico Rosberg and Mercedes

After struggling in the early going, Rosberg lost second place to Verstappen and was thus bottled up behind the Red Bull for far too long. By the time he overtook the Dutchman, on the 38th lap, Hamilton was in a comfortable lead. Rosberg redeemed himself with a series of fastest laps, but Hamilton was able to respond when necessary and gave the impression that he was controlling the pace as he needed to.

Rosberg’s subsequent loss of seventh gear was tricky in itself, but the advice he got about dealing with that from his engineers would ultimately earn him the 10-second penalty that dropped him from second to third. It also meant that he left Silverstone with only a single-point lead over Hamilton, who has won four of the last five races.

His only consolation was that, without the advice, he would have parked it, and would thus now be 14 points behind…

Daniel Ricciardo

Yet again the Australian finished well adrift of team mate Max Verstappen, who led for a lap and really took the fight to Mercedes.

Despite spending a lot of time at the Milton Keynes factory earlier in the week, poring over data in an attempt to find where he is losing ground to the upstart - who this time around out-qualified him for the first time this year - he was no closer in the race and finished 17.9s adrift.

Ferrari

A couple of races ago Ferrari were talking about challenging Mercedes for victories. At least they led in Austria, even if it was while Sebastian Vettel was still running his first stint and both Mercedes had already made their pit stops. But on a circuit where downforce and grunt are requirements for success, the SF16-H’s floundered badly this weekend.

Of course it didn’t help that Vettel got a five-place grid drop for having his gearbox replaced, but in any case he had only qualified sixth, behind team mate Kimi Raikkonen - and the Red Bulls.

The Scuderia could only muster a distant fifth for the Finn, nearly 70s behind Hamilton’s winning Mercedes, and ninth for the German.

They came here a firm second 24 points ahead of Red Bull, and left with only a six-point cushion.

Williams and McLaren

Home stalwarts Williams and McLaren should both have been part of the tight midfield fight with Force India and Toro Rosso, but ultimately neither scored a point.

The former’s Valtteri Bottas spun at Vale on lap 11, testament to the FW38’s tricky handling in wet conditions, and team mate Felipa Massa struggled for grip and later ran out of rubber and had to make a late stop.

At McLaren Fernando Alonso looked a likely candidate for points at one stage, but the big spin he had at Abbey on the 24th lap cost him dear. Jenson Button, meanwhile, was paying the price for his rear wing endplate problem in Q1 which left him to start 17th. Neither man quite had the grunt they needed to be able to make up places as the track dried out.