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GP Week : Issue 224
It was anything but straight- forward for Lewis Hamilton as he overcame a poor start, a pair of fiesty Williams', the weather and even a hard-charging teammate to win in silverstone. Of his grand prix wins, it was certainly one of the more impressive. Hamilton had predicted his fate at the start as he pulled away on the formation lap. His revised clutch, the bane of his races since the Spanish Grand Prix, was working well but under his rear wheels there was no traction. He slipped to second as Felipe Massa catapulted off the line. He went wheel-to-wheel with Valtteri Bottas, who was guilty of not defending as well as he might, in the opening corners and gained the upper hand there, only to lose it at the restart. Not for the first time this season both Lotus drivers had managed to find the same piece of tarmac. Both McLaren drivers wanted it too and of the four three of them were out on the spot. It was the worst possible start for Lotus, the poorest of results imaginable at a time when it needs to score points. It's battling Force India in the constructors championship and given the Silverstone-based team debuted a new car - which looked both mean on track and competitive - Lotus simply has to maximise its chances. Both Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado have under-performed in 2015 and regardless of whose fault the opening lap clash at Silverstone was both deserve having their heads banged together until they see sense. So too do the two Williams drivers. While it would be unfair to say Felipe Massa cost the team victory his actions early in the race certainly minimised any chances the team had. When the rain came any pace in the car disappeared, so perhaps they'd have fallen back anyway. In the early stages there is no doubt Bottas was faster than Massa, both capable of running ahead of the Mercedes but Massa was not pulling away. From a team perspective it made sense to leave its two drivers as they were, first and second, but Hamilton was far too close in third to make that strategy work. The Williams pitwall needed to release Bottas and use Massa as a stop-gap to help give Bottas the advantage he needed to spring clear. Instead the team was indecisive and that is what ultiamtely cost the team the lead, if not the race. Although Bottas had got by Hamilton at the restart following the safety car inter vention for the first lap crash, Mercedes were left to out-smart Williams. A blistering lap following his pitstop saw Hamilton leapfrog both Bottas and Massa after the first round of stops, from which point it seemed only a matter of time before Nico Rosberg found a way through, as he did when the skies opened. Rosberg who seemed more at home in the rain, slicing as much as two seconds a lap out of Hamilton's advantage before the Englishman made what was an inspired decision. Whether it was his or the team's call makes little difference and should go some way to repay Hamilton for the calamity that was Monaco. As he trundled into the pit lane, Rosberg blasted by into the lead. At the time it seemed Hamilton had cost himself victory. By the time he'd charged out of his pit box, on intermediate tyres, the weather had changed once again. Hamilton had timed his stop perfectly, and in doing so had effectively won the race. High attrition once again saw McLaren take a points paying postion, Fernando Alonso's first for the team 22 GPWEEK.com // 22 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> BRITAIN PARTNERS: