Rain, chaos, and someone other than Mercedes leading the race – the British Grand Prix of 2015 had it all! After a…tame start to the Season, Formula 1 finally bounced back in style with an exciting event, culminating in a win for home hero Lewis Hamilton. But that wasn’t the only reason to cheer!
The sheer volume of fans packed into the Northamptonshire circuit created an atmosphere that came through Twitter and the TV screens to the homes of millions, and brought to life a scintillating event. Well over one hundred thousand fans filed into the grandstands on Sunday to show their support for drivers British or otherwise, with over 350,000 in attendance over the three days total.
Whether you were lucky enough to be at the track, or watching from home, it was hard not to get caught on the emotive lure of one of F1’s most popular events.
You could tell that there was perhaps a little favouritism from the crowd with their reaction to Lewis Hamilton’s appearance on the podium, but you can hardly blame the British crowd for supporting their World Champion compatriot. Just don’t ask how Jenson Button or Will Stevens’ races went…
It might be a little hasty to start comparing this installment of the British Grand Prix to what is widely regarded as one of the best races in the history of the sport, but the ‘Oh-god-what-tyre-should-I-be-on’ panic exhibited by pretty much everyone created a thrilling divide between those taking the risk of staying on dry tyres, and the ones who pitted for Intermediate tyres.
Eventually, the inters proved to be the only real choic,e as the limit of adhesion was found by those on slick tyres, but even the wet weather rubber wasn’t enough to guarantee traction, a fact not lost on Will Stevens, who pulled his front wing off after a spin at Vale, and Kimi Raikkonen, who spun at the same corner, although kept it out of the barriers.
Like he did in Malaysia 2009 – another race where tyre timing was crucial – The Iceman put his inters on way before anyone else, and by the time the heavens did open, his tyres were past their best, and he had to pit for more. As Brundle always says: “Be on the right tyre at the right time!”
Williams finally took the fight to Mercedes in Silverstone, which is something fans have been clamouring for all year. Some fans have become disinterested due to the sheer dominance of the Mercedes cars, so it made for superb viewing to see all four cars in a perfect line with one another dicing for the lead.
It’s a pretty safe bet that neither of the Merc drivers were expecting to see a spirited Felipe Massa carving through them off the start, nor did Valtteri Bottas probably expect to have such a good run at Lewis Hamilton after the safety car, either. The only thing that sullied the story Williams not letting their two racers race, despite the Finn’s car looking a lot more planted.Still, hopefully Williams can continue their upward surge.
“Anything can happen in Grand Prix racing, and it usually does.” – Murray Walker
These immortal words rang true in Silverstone, with four cars smashing into one another on the first lap, a young rookie on the wrong tyres spinning off shortly after, and some rain in the last third of the race that spiced things up.
With Mercedes riding off into the sun in pretty much every round this year, it has been foregone conclusion that they would form the top two, but Ferrari broke that system in Malaysia, and Williams nearly did it here, leading the first twenty laps, and it was anyone’s guess who would emerge victorious.
With several meetings to determine the future of F1, changing technical, sporting and political regulations, there has been a feeling of uncertainty in the paddock and indeed the motorsport world recently, a feeling that has at times undermined the integrity of the sport loved by so many across the world. However, this race showed that Formula 1 still has the potential to be magical.
Surging ticket sales and a thrilling race were exactly what Formula 1 needed to begin to redeem itself in the Turbo era and has given us a new optimism for more the same heading towards the Hungarian GP.