Hi, Bob Aldons, The Car Guy, with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport team report from Silverstone after the 2018 British Grand Prix.
It might be easy to say that Ferrari won the race, but undoubtedly the driver of the day was Lewis Hamilton. Relegated to last place after an incident with Kimi Raikkonen, Hamilton drove like
a man possessed passing all but Vettel in the race to the chequered flag of the British Grand Prix.
And I think Lewis has his engineers to thank for the second place finish. Listening to the chatter between Hamilton and the pits, I felt that Lewis almost dropped his chin after that incident. If I can recall his words he suggested that the 44 car was damaged. That it wasn’t, as advised by the engineer suggested that Lewis could still finish well in the points. And that he did.
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport score 30 points in front of an incredible crowd at the British Grand Prix, Silverstone
- After a collision on the opening lap, Lewis fought his way back through the field to claim P2
- Valtteri came home P4 in the British Grand Prix after fighting for the win for much of the race
“It was a difficult race, but I gave it everything and I’m grateful to make it back up to second. It was eventful from the start, but in the final laps, we just didn’t have the pace of the Ferraris on the fresher tyres.
I’m very grateful that the car was in one piece after the incident in Turn 3 and that I could continue the race. I was last at that point, but I still believed that I could win – and I needed that mentality to make it back to where I finished. When the guys in front of me pitted under the Safety Car, it was an opportunity for me to get up into third.
It was absolutely the right decision – if I had followed them into the pits I would have come out behind them on equal tyres and I would have struggled to get by them and most certainly would not have been second. The fans have been incredible this weekend and I’m so grateful for all their support.”
“I’m very disappointed, leading the race and then dropping to fourth in the last few laps feels pretty bad. The others pitted under the Safety Car, but we took the risk and stayed out to get ahead of Sebastian.
It worked out initially, everything felt fine in the beginning. I was giving it everything I could in the re-starts, I had to push like in qualifying, but with about five laps to go, the tyres just could not take it any more. I tried everything to not give up the lead, but there was nothing I could do at that point to defend against the others on the fresher tyres. We knew a one-stop was not going to be easy, but we decided to take the risk.
Unfortunately, that stint on the Medium tyres was just a bit too long today. It’s always easy to judge these things in hindsight, but at the point, we made the call to stay out I was on the same page. I could have easily taken second place today, but we decided to go for it. I will continue to give it everything and I’m sure that one day it will work out.”
“That was an incredible race – thrilling right to the finish and full of drama. For Lewis, it was an awesome fightback to second after running dead last on lap one; and for Valtteri, we gave it everything to try and claim the win – and he arguably would have done so without the first Safety Car period, as he was closing fast on Sebastian at that point.
First of all, we need to look at our own performance and what we can improve from today. We clearly have work to do on our starts, as we lost ground once again to Ferrari. But after yesterday’s very close qualifying session, it was encouraging to see the underlying pace of the car – and that we had better tyre usage than our competitors.
We made the right call to leave both cars out under the Safety Car: we had planned to do the opposite to Ferrari, as it was our best chance to win, so when they pitted we stayed out on track with both cars. We took the improved track position and knew it would be tough to hold on.
Valtteri defended like a lion but just couldn’t hold off Sebastian as the tyres were dropping away – and still did a great job to take P4. For Lewis, on fresher tyres, it got him back to P2 and maximum damage limitation. Overall, though, we are left with the feeling of “what might have been” after one of our cars was taken out for the second time in three races on lap one.
In the past three weekends, we have lost points through our own mistakes and those of others – now we need to get our heads down, keep developing and put the performance to good use in the next 11 races. It’s all to play for.”
“This sport is at its very best when unpredictable and we saw that proven today with a thrilling spectacle for the aficionado and casual fan alike. However, as a Mercedes team member, it hurts a lot not to have Lewis on the top step of the podium where his blinding pace today should have put him.
Leaving aside the misfortune of the first lap, it is intriguing to speculate how the final part of the race would have played out without the Safety Car. Valtteri was in very good shape on his tyres, and closing on Vettel, who we had seen was more challenged on tyre wear during the race. But it was not to be.
Although we have endured a couple of difficult weekends, this has not been because the car was slow but for a host of other unconnected reasons. In the end, pace normally tells over the course of a season, and if we bring it to bear in the next 11 races, we will muscle our way back into a title race that is very much ours to win.”
Bob Aldons is the owner and founder of The Car Guy, reviewing cars, reporting on Car Industry Matters, Car Tech and the world at large. He’s spent the last forty years immersed in the automotive industry from salesman to the owner of a 7 brand multi-franchise dealership. Bob knows cars.
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