Hamilton wins again ‘at home’

Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton praised his own pit-stop calls as he won an entertaining British Grand Prix and completed a hat-trick of home victories.

Hamilton wins again ‘at home’

The world champion recovered from another poor start to seal a 38th career win and remain on course to equal his hero Ayrton Senna’s three championships.

To judge by the usual suspects on the Silverstone podium, this would look like was another boring race, with the main protagonists again dominating.

But this 52-lap corker was proof that Formula One is alive and kicking. There were periods of rain, an impressive supporting act from Williams and a couple of first-lap shunts.

Hamilton timed both of his pit-stops perfectly, firstly leap-frogging the fast-starting Williams pair of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas — who had jumped the Mercedes duo from the start — and then putting on the intermediate tyres as the heaviest of the rain came, thus placating a push from team-mate, Nico Rosberg.

“The race was very, very tough,” he said.

“It was very slippery off the start, but it made it more exciting when I was chasing down the Williams and it was very hard to get close and overtake.

“I got close enough on the first pit-stop and I came out ahead and then the rain came and I lost temperature on the front tyres. For the first time in my F1 career, I made the perfectly right choice in terms of, ‘I’m coming in now’. So, I feel extremely happy about that.” Mercedes chief, Toto Wolff, who was shown on television theatrically punching the air, as Hamilton sealed the win, also hailed his driver’s decision-making.

“It was Lewis’ call to come in,” he said. We gave him the option. He did it at the perfect time and that gave him the edge.” Championship leader Hamilton has won here twice in the past, in his previous title-winning seasons, and he moved 17 points clear of Rosberg — who was stuck in fourth for much of the race.

Ferrari had endured a poor weekend, but Sebastian Vettel somehow found himself on the final podium step, beating the Williams after the plethora of late pit-stops, as the changeable weather created drama.

Hamilton was the first of the leading quartet to pit, at the end of lap 19, with Massa and Rosberg following on the next lap.

The under-cut worked for Hamilton and he was easily ahead when Bottas came in on lap 22 — with Massa able to stay ahead of his team-mate and Rosberg still at the back of the leading train.

There was a looming threat of rain, as ever-blackening clouds gathered over the Northamptonshire countryside and it arrived shortly after the virtual safety car had been deployed.

None of the front-runners came in for intermediate tyres, but Bottas was struggling and Rosberg eased past into third.

He then caught and passed the second Williams, of Massa, to move up to second place and set off down the road after title rival, Hamilton, making up almost two seconds a lap, before Hamilton came in with eight laps remaining to change to the intermediates.

It proved to be the perfect decision, as the rain began to fall more heavily, with Rosberg struggling on his dry tyres, as any late battle for the lead failed to materialise — leaving Hamilton to secure a fifth win of 2015.

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