This win was popular, and this win was needed to keep British Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes close to the top of the leader board for the 2014 drivers' championship. Hamilton closed the gap with rival team-mate Nico Rosberg to within four points on Sunday, July 6 by winning the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
In a reversal of fortune, according to Formula 1, Rosberg was forced to retire from the race with gearbox problems, leaving Hamilton, who had qualified sixth on Saturday, to keep Mercedes's dreams alive, and he went on to take the win. Placing second on the podium was another victory for Great Britain with British team Williams standing there in the person of driver Voltteri Bottas. Third on the podium, noticeably again ahead of his defending World Champion team-mate, was Aussie Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull.
After the race, Hamilton had this to say about his home country victory, "Winning in front of your home crowd is just the best feeling. We really do have the greatest fans here and thank you so much to everyone for your patience after yesterday. To see the support all around the track is just amazing. I said before that I'd never give up but it was a tough qualifying and I really needed to dig deep and come back positive this morning. A huge thank you to my family and all of the fans for pushing me on - I couldn't have done it without them."
He continued, "Nico had a pretty big gap at the beginning of the race but I kept pushing and was happy with my pace. After extending my first stint, we switched to the prime tyres and I honestly couldn't believe the pace that I had and was closing up to Nico. Of course, he then had a problem and I saw him pull over. It's a shame for the team and I never want to see a team-mate fall behind - I always want to battle it out - but I'm sure we will get to do it again in the future. It's been a rollercoaster weekend and to come away with the win after a day like yesterday is fantastic, so thank you to everyone in the team for all their hard work. I'm proud to have done it for them here - so close to our factories in Brackley and Brixworth."
About his retirement from the race, Hamilton's team-mate Rosberg said, "It's a pity what happened today as I lost a lot of points in the Championship. We are always aiming for 100 percent reliability but unfortunately that didn't work out for me today. I had a small issue in the installation lap but the car felt great in the beginning. By lap 20, though, the gearbox started to become a serious problem and from then it got worse. I tried to get it into some safety settings, let Lewis through and just keep going until the end of the race. But there was nothing we could do so I had to stop the car. All I can do is accept that these things happen and work with the team to find out what went wrong. It's a shame for the race in a way, as it could have been a great battle against Lewis, but congratulations to him for the win. Now we are heading to Germany with the quickest car and I'm looking forward to a home Grand Prix for both Mercedes-Benz and myself."
Valtteri Bottas had this to say about his second place finish, "We knew that this race would be good fun. We knew we had a quick car and maybe it surprised us it was so quick. The first stint we went through the field fast and that needed a bit of risk. I am so happy for the team, they have worked on race pace and it shows. We were thinking about points today not the podium, and the strategy guys did a great job. I really felt for Felipe today in his 200th race, and it was so nice of him to come to the podium with the team; I really appreciated that. We are a stronger team than we were in the first few races and it won't be easy to stay near the top but we are doing a great job of it at the moment."
Third-place Ricciardo had to defend his position against an oncoming and determined British Jenson Button at the end of the race. Ricciardo commented about his podium spot, "“I feel good! This is the best third place I've ever got. I'm not normally ecstatic with a third but I really am today, obviously to redeem myself from yesterday and also the fact that I don’t think we had an awesome race car today, but we made it work. We used the cards that we had and played the game well, so I was really happy to make a one stop work. For the last two laps, I saw Jenson coming and thought I was probably going to be a bit vulnerable but we held on. The one stop wasn’t planned. We pitted quite early on the Prime because we were quite slow and it wasn’t working, so we came in for the Option and, at one point, my engineer pretty much said alright four laps to go on this tyre then let's box. I said the pace seems OK, the tyres aren’t getting any worse and let’s try and stay out or at least think about keeping me out there and he said OK we’ll look at our options. Then, a few laps later he said do you think you can go to the end, there’s 15 or 20 laps to go, and I said, at the moment I think we can give it a crack. And so, yeah, we did and it paid off!"
Felipe Massa, who celebrated his 200th grand prix at Silverstone, unfortunately had a run-in with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen. Notably, both drivers showed concern for each other after the accident. Massa said, "It has been a really difficult weekend. It was a bad start but after that I could catch up everyone and pass cars in the first few corners. The car felt great. Then there was the accident. Kimi came across the track and I never really had a chance to miss him, and sadly the damage was too much to continue. Luckily I turned as it could have been a worse accident. I hope Kimi is ok but it's a weekend to forget for me personally; not the 200th Grand Prix I had planned."
British fans had moments to realistically think they might see a double-British podium on Sunday when McLaren's Jenson Button came so close to finishing third. At fourth, Button said, "Circuits with high-speed changes of direction aren’t really our car’s forte, so I think we can go away from Silverstone feeling encouraged by what we achieved this weekend. Specifically, it was great to have such a good fight with Fernando [Alonso], and it was encouraging to be able to pull away from him and Sebastian [Vettel] in the last stint."
Button continued, "At the end, I crossed the line only 0.9s behind Daniel [Ricciardo]; if there’d been just one more lap, I think I could have made it past."
"I got so close to a podium finish," he noted, " - and I think it would’ve been so great for the fans to see Lewis and me up there together. I’m sorry it didn’t quite happen, but I want to say a big thank-you to all the fans, and to my family, and last but not least to the entire McLaren team - everyone has been so supportive this weekend. Looking to the future, although today has seen us take another step forward, it’s apparent that we still have a lot of work to: for example, even though Williams started behind us [on the grid], they still beat us today."
Concluding, he said, "Nonetheless, we’re certainly not giving up. On the contrary, it’s important that we continue to work hard to develop this car, so as to score as many world championship points as we can this year and learn as much as we can for next year."
The rest of the field finished in this order: Button (4th); Vettel (5th); Alonso (6th); Magnussen (7th); Hulkenberg (8th); Kvyat (9th); Vergne (10th); Perez (11th); Grosjean (12th); Sutil (13th); Bianchi (14th); Kobayashi (15th); Chilton (16h); and Maldonado (17th). The rest of the field retired.
The win for Hamilton now puts him at 161 points in the world championship to Rosberg's 165. Ricciardo is third in the overall points with 98. Defending World Champion Vettel is down in sixth with 70 points.
In the constructors' championship, Mercedes continues to rule the season with a running total now of 326 points, according to Formula 1. Next closest is Red Bull at 168, and Ferrari is third at 106.
The tenth contest in the 2014 season will be the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim on July 20.