Silverstone produced some of the most difficult racing conditions so far this year and some drivers rose to the challenge better than others.
Lewis Hamilton – Headed all three practice sessions and smashed the track record on his way to pole position. The only wrinkle on Saturday was losing his first Q3 time to a track limits violation. He was mighty in the rain, streaking away from Rosberg and able to start nursing his engine long before the chequered flag appeared.
Nico Rosberg – Only fractionally slower than Hamilton in first and third practice but was confined to the garage by technical problems in the second session. However when the serious business started in Q2 it became clear his team mate could access levels of performance Rosberg couldn’t reach. The same appeared to be the case in the opening wet stages of the race as Rosberg dropped back and was passed by Verstappen. However as the track dried Rosberg picked up pace and took second off Verstappen, though it proved temporary as he was penalised post-race for receiving radio assistance to fix a gearbox problem.
Sebastian Vettel – A second consecutive five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change ensured he went into the race on the back foot, but a scruffy Q3 didn’t help matters.
He made an early switch to slicks but lost time with a spin, then picked up a five-second penalty after forcing Massa wide while passing the Williams.
Kimi Raikkonen – Dissatisfied with his car’s pace on Friday and only just made it into the top ten shoot-out after two mistakes in Q2. Despite that he beat Vettel for ‘best Ferrari’ honours, starting fifth. Perez jumped ahead of him by pitting during the Virtual Safety Car period, but Raikkonen easily took the place back later in the race.
Felipe Massa – Struggled in Q2 and failed to make it into the final ten. He moved into the points during the race, despite being elbowed aside by Vettel, but made an extra pit stop for softs which dropped him out of the top ten.
Valtteri Bottas – As last year, the Williams looked a handful in the wet and Bottas found it more of a struggle than his team mate. He spun at Club and went off again later in the race as he plummeted from sixth to
Daniel Ricciardo – Out-qualified by his team mate for the first time this year, Ricciardo reckoned Verstappen had found a faster way through the slow Vale chicane. He made an early switch to intermediates but lost out because of the Virtual Safety Car and had to catch and pass Perez. Appeared to be the highest-placed driver who did not go off during the race.
Max Verstappen – Grabbed third with a super-committed lap yet the one second gap to Mercedes showed Red Bull still have much work to do. He was on a mission from the word go in the wet conditions, taking the fight to Rosberg with great verve and producing a stunning pass for second place. Rosberg inevitably re-passed him with DRS, but despite a minor off Verstappen still finished close enough to benefit from the Mercedes driver’s penalty.
Nico Hulkenberg – Beat his team mate into Q3 but was stripped of his best time after running wide. Much as was the case in Monaco Hulkenberg lost out strategically to his team mate. He showed immense car control not to hit Massa while trying to pass on the wet line at Woodcote, and after getting free of the Williams he recovered to finish on Perez’s tail.
Sergio Perez – Concentrated on his long-run pace and narrowly missed the cut for Q3. However he jumped up to fourth after delaying his switch to intermediate tyres and being helped by the Virtual Safety Car. He was never going to keep Ricciardo behind but Raikkonen might have been kept at bay had he not spun.
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Kevin Magnussen – Took the Renault into Q2 and escaped censure for holding up Kvyat on his qualifying lap. Despite the car’s lack of downforce he switched to intermediates at the first opportunity but it didn’t pay off and he slipped to the rear of the field where he eventually retired with a broken gearbox.
Jolyon Palmer – Didn’t make it beyond Q1 at his home track. In the race he jumped ahead of his team mate due to the VSC but at his second pit stop he was released with an unfastened rear wheel and copped a ten-second stop-go penalty. The retired as a precaution after also experiencing gearbox problems.
Daniil Kvyat – Lost time behind Magnussen in Q2 and failed to accompany his team mate into the top ten shoot-out. However he salvaged a point from the race despite going off at The Loop after switching to intermediates.
Carlos Sainz Jnr – After a tough Friday Sainz was pleasantly surprised not only to gain a place in Q3, but start a strong seventh after penalties. Despite two mistakes in the race – including a dramatic slide at Stowe – he grabbed more points for eighth place.
Marcus Ericsson – Ran Sauber’s first upgrade of the season on Friday but smashed the car up against the barriers at Stowe in the drying third practice session. The team rebuilt a car for him and he took the start, still sore from his accident, but a loss of power forced him out early on.
Felipe Nasr – Felt his car’s balance changed significantly in qualifying and ended up at the back. He stayed out of trouble in a treacherous race and even passed Bottas at one point, but points seemed impossible for Sauber.
Fernando Alonso – Was the first to run McLaren’s new floor and looked committed from the word go, consistently taking the car into the top ten. He delivered on that potential in qualifying, but was bumped back a couple of places after losing his fastest lap due to exceeding track limits. He produced a brilliantly combative performance in the wet but wanted his team to take be more aggressive with the strategy. Given the lack of options available to them it’s doubtful that was a possibility, and Alonso’s costly spin at Abbey left him out of the points
Jenson Button – A rear wing problem kept him from making a second run in Q2 and he was knocked out by Kvyat. His pace was on a par with Alonso’s in the tricky conditions but the Honda’s lack of grunt kept him stuck behind Bottas in the second stint and lost him a place to fresh-tyred Massa towards the end.
Pascal Wehrlein – Driving at Silverstone for the first time, Wehrlein was pipped by Haryanto by a few hundredths in qualifying. Switching to intermediates at the first available opportunity in a chassis not renowned for its downforce levels proved a gamble too far – he spun out when he reached Abbey for the first time.
Rio Haryanto – This was a track Manor expected to struggle at and Haryanto was disappointed they only had the Saubers behind them. He made it further into the race than his team mate but spun out after switching to slicks.
Romain Grosjean – Like Force India, Haas seemed less comfortably in windy conditions. Both drivers found their cars a handful when the gusts picked up in Q2 – Grosjean had a moment at Stowe and had to settle for 13th. A transmission problem ended his race early.
Esteban Gutierrez – Like his team mate he wasn’t able to get into Q3. A slow first pit stop dropped him to the rear of the field after which he lapped quicker than the Renaults but came home last.
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