Winners and Losers at the British Grand Prix
7 July 2014 – The 2014 edition of the British Grand Prix entertained from start to finish as Lewis Hamilton claimed victory while Nico Rosberg retired for the first time this year. GPUpdate.net presents its winners and losers...
Monaco was troublesome, Canada was dismal and Austria was little better for Lewis Hamilton. And after qualifying, his mood was bleak. He'd aborted his final flying lap, little realising conditions had improved, and he tumbled to sixth. Worse still, it was team-mate Nico Rosberg on pole. But spurred on by the British fans he rocketed up to fourth at the start and quickly got rid of the McLaren drivers to sit five seconds or so behind Rosberg. He preserved his tyres in the first stint before pushing after his stop and the gap to Rosberg rapidly reduced. The German encountered gearbox trouble and subsequently retired, but even without those gremlins it was unlikely that he would have repelled Hamilton's advances. The result was that Hamilton closed to within four points of Rosberg following his second victory at his home event.
After qualifying, Fernando Alonso's mood was sour to say the least. He joked with Spanish TV that his grid position made little difference and in his open press session he ruled out fighting for the title. So unused to lining up at the back he overshot his grid position and copped a five-second stop/go penalty. Nonetheless, he drove like a man possessed. His move on Daniel Ricciardo around the outside of Vale was incisive while opting to go around Sebastian Vettel at Copse was bold and it worked out beautifully. Vettel struck back, but spent several laps stuck behind Alonso as the Spaniard defended brilliantly despite inferior machinery and problems with his F14 T. It was perhaps one of the best sixth places in the sport's history.
This season has been trying for Jenson Button. Not only has he been lumbered with a difficult car for a second consecutive year, he has done so without the presence of his father, John, who was such a huge influence on the 2009 World Champion. John's life was celebrated at Silverstone, with the 'Pink for Papa' shirts being worn in honour of Button Sr. Jenson went on to put in a strong performance on track as he nailed his qualifying lap to line up third and extracted the maximum from the McLaren MP4-29. He fell agonisingly short of finishing on the podium for the first time at Silverstone, but this was a superb drive from a man who has faced criticism and doubts about his future in the run up to the event.
Kimi Räikkönen arrived at Silverstone having a season best described as thoroughly abysmal. Matters didn't improve in qualifying as Ferrari misread the conditions, consigning him to 20th position. Penalties for others elevated him to 17th place and he made a good start, running as high as 11th until he ran wide at Aintree. He took to the tarmac before bouncing across the grass at high speed as he attempted to re-join. A bump unsettled the car and he was pitched into the barriers before spearing across the circuit, where he was struck by Felipe Massa. He was fortunate to escape relatively uninjured but it was a silly mistake from an experienced driver. The consequences could have been far worse.
For Felipe Massa it was supposed to be a weekend to celebrate as he commemorated his 200th race. Williams held a gathering for Massa in their swish new three-story motorhome but on-track it was a complete disaster. The Brazilian dropped it on the exit of Stowe in first practice, causing a headache for his mechanics. In qualifying the team, like Ferrari, erred in the changeable conditions which resulted in Massa being eliminated in Q1, while off the line he barely moved and dropped to the back. He was then helpless in avoiding Räikkönen, although he at least managed to rotate the car to lessen the impact. One to forget.
Caterham's tumultuous few events show no signs of abating. After Tony Fernandes departed the Formula 1 operation it was announced that a mysterious group of Swiss and Middle Eastern investors had purchased the team, with Christijan Albers installed at the helm. On track, the CT05 was typically woeful with Marcus Ericsson in particular struggling. An ERS issue struck Kamui Kobayashi in qualifying and both drivers ended up outside the 107 per cent mark. They were allowed to race, but Kobayashi damaged his car while avoiding Räikkönen and Ericsson's suspension broke when he struck a kerb. There was little reason for immediate optimism for the new owners.