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GP Week : Issue 224
since the 2007 Brazilian Grand Prix (where he was third). McLaren had been bouyed by what it saw as an upturn in performance in Silverstone, despite qualifying on the penultimate row of the grid. Its cars were only 1.5 seconds off the time set by Mercedes in the opening qualifying stanza, which clearly showed progress around such a long lap they boasted. To suggest then that points were deserved would be stretching things too far. Both Toro Rossos and Lotus' retired, as did Daniel Ricciardo - five cars which could realistically have been expected to finish ahead of the McLaren's. Still, Alonso was running at the finish and that is a start; to finish first, first one needs to finish after all. That's been less than trivial this season. Alonso was ahead of Marcus Ericsson though, and that owed nothing to attrition. Sauber has fallen back as the year has worn on, somewhat predictably it must be said, so there is some measurable improvement from McLaren that a team which ran in the points in Melbourne at round one was behind it at Silverstone. Sauber's woes began even before the race with Felipe Nasr rolling to a halt on Hanger Straight on his way to the grid with a gearbox issue. The Brazilian was a non-starter as a result. Ferrari had a race of mixed fortunes. While on one side of the garage Sebastian Vettel mirrored Hamilton's strategy to stop at the ideal time - and move ahead of both Williams in the process - on the other side a string of poor strategy calls cost Kimi Raikkonen dearly. Raikkonen was one of the few to gamble during the first shower, stopping for intermediate tyres and struggling for pace as a result. By the time the second shower arrived and intermediates were the preferred rubber it was too late for the Finn. There are extremely positive signs at Force India as both its drivers finished in the points, with Nico Hulkenberg spending the first part of the race ahead of Raikkonen on pure pace. A strong start from Hulkenberg - which he described as his best in Formula - moved him into fifth before the German was caught out with the rain late in the race and had to do an extra lap on slick tyres. Sergio Perez too waited too long as lost out as a result, but still both Force India's were in the points for the second consecutive race. Victory for Hamilton moves him 17 points clear of Rosberg at the head of the championship with ten races remaining. Vettel remains a looming threat should Ferrari get its act together consistently, 59 points off Hamilton while Mercedes now has more points than Ferrari and Williams combined in the constructors championship. 23 GPWEEK.com // 23 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> BRITAIN PARTNERS: