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2015 British Grand Prix

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United Kingdom  2015 British Grand Prix
Race details
Race 9 of 19 in the 2015 Formula One season
Layout of the Silverstone Circuit
Layout of the Silverstone Circuit
Date 5 July 2015
Official name 2015 Formula 1 British Grand Prix[1]
Location Silverstone Circuit
Silverstone, United Kingdom
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 5.891 km (3.661 mi)
Distance 52 laps, 306.198 km (190.263 mi)
Weather Cloudy, rain at times
17–20 °C (63–68 °F) air temperature
24–32 °C (75–90 °F) track temperature
2.5 m/s (8.2 ft/s) wind from the east[2]
Attendance 140,000[3]
Pole position
Driver Mercedes
Time 1:32.248
Fastest lap
Driver United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
Time 1:37.093 on lap 29
Podium
First Mercedes
Second Mercedes
Third Ferrari

The 2015 British Grand Prix (formally known as the 2015 Formula 1 British Grand Prix) was a Formula One motor race that took place on 5 July 2015 at the Silverstone Circuit in Silverstone, United Kingdom. The race was the ninth round of the 2015 season, and marked the 70th running of the British Grand Prix, and the 51st time that the race was held at the Silverstone Circuit.

Lewis Hamilton was the defending race winner, and came into the event with a ten-point lead over teammate Nico Rosberg in the World Drivers' Championship. In the Constructors' Championship, Mercedes were leading Ferrari by 136 points, with Williams a further 63 points adrift.

Hamilton took pole position during Saturday's qualifying, his eighth of the season, ahead of Rosberg and the two Williams of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas. The first lap of the race saw the Massa and Bottas take first and second place respectively through fast starts. They were able to hold their positions until the pit stops. Rain in the latter part of the race gave Sebastian Vettel the chance to overtake the two Williams for the last podium position. Hamilton won the race for the second consecutive year, 11 seconds ahead of his teammate, extending his championship lead to 17 points.

Report

Background

Coming to Silverstone, Force India introduced a new version (B-spec) of their VJM08, featuring a shorter nose with "nostrils".[4][5] After a problem with a wheelnut had caused problems for Sebastian Vettel at the previous race in Austria, Ferrari chose to revise its wheelnut system for the British Grand Prix.[6] Manor Marussia secured new sponsorship ahead of the race, thus changing its livery.[7] The race marked the 900th Grand Prix contested by at least one car using a Ferrari engine.[8]

Pirelli nominated their two hardest dry-weather compounds for the event; the white-banded medium tyre as the option selection, while the orange-banded hard tyre would be the prime compound. The company also supplied their two wet-weather tyres, as they do for all events; the green-banded intermediate tyre and the blue-banded full wet tyre.[9]

Silverstone Circuit was used in its revised 2011 Arena Grand Prix layout, which has been described as "one of the fastest circuits in the F1 calendar".[10] The "fast, flowing circuit"[10] featured 18 turns, with Stowe and Vale corner being the best overtaking opportunity.[11]

Lewis Hamilton came into the weekend with a ten-point lead over teammate Nico Rosberg,[12] after the latter took victory at the previous round in Austria.[13] In the constructor's championship, Mercedes led Ferrari by 136 points, while third placed Williams had moved closer to the Scuderia in Austria.[12] The race stewards for the weekend were FIA World Council member Lars Österlind, President of the Barbados Motoring Federation Andrew Mallalieu and 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell.[12]

Free practice

Per the regulations for the 2015 season, three practice sessions were held, two one and a half-hour sessions on Friday and another one-hour session before qualifying on Saturday.[14] In the first practice session on Friday morning, Nico Rosberg posted the fastest time, after recovering from early hydraulic problems that forced his team to exchange his gearbox.[15] The German was eventually seven-hundredths of a second quicker than teammate Lewis Hamilton. Max Verstappen was 1.2 seconds down on Rosberg in third, proving the Toro Rosso chassis was competitive for the weekend.[16] Taking part in first practice were test drivers Jolyon Palmer, replacing Romain Grosjean at Lotus, Susie Wolff in Valtteri Bottas' Williams FW37, and Raffaele Marciello for Sauber instead of Marcus Ericsson.[17]

The second session on Friday afternoon was red-flagged early on when Romain Grosjean got stuck in a gravel trap at Luffield corner. Nico Rosberg was once again fastest ahead of the two Ferraris and teammate Hamilton, who complained about the setup of his car. McLaren and Sauber endured difficult sessions, finishing only ahead of the two Manor Marussias. It was Manor Marussia driver Roberto Merhi who brought out a second red flag, when his car beached at the same spot that had caught out Grosjean earlier.[18] After the Williams drivers only finished tenth and twelfth, Felipe Massa stated that his team was behind Red Bull.[19]

In the third and final practice session, held on Saturday morning, World Champion Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time, half a second ahead of his teammate, who spent the better part of the session in the garage while his team investigated a possible gearbox oil leak. Behind the Mercedes were the two Ferraris and the two Toro Rossos, with only Kimi Räikkönen coming within a second of Hamilton's time. Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso was confined to only six laps, ending his session early.[20]

Qualifying

File:Massa Britiain 2015.jpg
Felipe Massa qualified third and would go on to lead the first part of the race.

Qualifying consisted of three parts, 18, 15 and 12 minutes in length respectively, with five drivers eliminated from competing after each of the first two sessions.[14] Before qualifying began, the race directors warned the drivers to respect track limits, especially at Copse corner.[21] Still, eleven drivers ultimately had times disallowed for leaving the track with all four wheels in the corner over the course of qualifying. Pastor Maldonado even lost two of his lap times, including his best in Q1, and barely made it into Q2.[22][23] This came at the expense of the two McLaren, the two Manor Marussias and Sauber's Felipe Nasr, who all failed to proceed into the second part. Meanwhile, Kimi Räikkönen was fastest of the session.[23]

The second part of qualifying (Q2) saw both Lotus drivers eliminated, just as Max Verstappen who complained about lack of rear grip. Sergio Pérez qualified eleventh while Grosjean in 12th had his best time disallowed for exceeding the track limits. However, his second best time proved sufficient to keep his position.[23]

Q3 saw the top-ten drivers compete for pole position, which eventually went to Lewis Hamilton, beating teammate Rosberg by 0.122 seconds. Both Mercedes drivers were unable to improve on their first times set in the session, with Hamilton aborting his run and returning to the pits before the session was over. After securing two podium finishes in the past two races, Williams confirmed their improved form and took the second row on the grid, Massa ahead of Bottas.[24] It was the twentieth consecutive pole position for Mercedes, being four races shy of a record set by Williams in 1992-1993.[25]

Race

File:Lotus accident Britain 2015.jpg
After colliding with each other on the opening lap, both Lotus drivers retired.

The sell-out race on Sunday was held in front of a crowd of 140,000.[3] On the way to the grid, Felipe Nasr experienced gearbox issues and had to retire. After the lights went out, both Mercedes did not get away well, allowing the two Williams of Massa and Bottas to move into first and third respectively, with the Finn almost getting the better of Lewis Hamilton. Further back, Nico Hülkenberg was quick off the line as well, jumping from ninth to fifth at the expense of Daniil Kvyat and the two Ferraris. At the back of the grid, Daniel Ricciardo touched Romain Grosjean into Turn 3, causing the Frenchman to turn into his team mate Pastor Maldonado. Fernando Alonso, who had to turn away to avoid the accident, collided with teammate Jenson Button, who along with both Lotus drivers had to retire. While Alonso pitted for a new nose, the incident brought out the safety car, which led the field until the start of lap four. Hamilton immediately attacked Felipe Massa, only to run wide on Vale, allowing Bottas to take P2 on the inside of Club. Meanwhile, Sergio Pérez overtook Sebastian Vettel for ninth, while the young Max Verstappen retired from a spin in the gravel.

Over the next couple of laps, Williams exercised team orders, and told their drivers to avoid racing each other to pull away from the Mercedes. The Finn complained that he was faster and requested permission to overtake for the lead, which Williams granted. Bottas's pace did not improve, however, but the top four pulled away from the midfield, leading Nico Hülkenberg in fifth by seven seconds on lap 13. Both Ferraris pitted for new tyres early, on laps 14 and 15, apparently set for a two-stop strategy.[26] On lap 20, Lewis Hamilton opted for the undercut,[27] coming in for a new set of tyres. Massa, then in P1, and Rosberg, in P4 came in a lap later. On exit, both fought on the pit lane wheel to wheel, but Massa's lead proved sufficient for provisional second. Bottas came in a lap later, but Hamilton's outlap, the fastest of the race, saw the world champion take the lead, with Bottas in P3 in between Massa in P2 and Rosberg fourth. Daniel Ricciardo retired with an electrical failure on lap 23.

By the halfway point, the drivers were told that rain was expected before the end of the race. When Carlos Sainz, Jr. lost speed and retired on track due to an electrical failure, the race saw a brief Virtual Safety Car period from lap 33 to 34, after which the first drops of rain hit the circuit, which affected only region around the pit lane. By lap 38, drivers started to lose traction. Sebastian Vettel managed to overtake teammate Räikkönnen on lap 39, with the latter pitting for intermediate tyres at the end of the lap, which proved to be a poor choice as the track was not wet enough yet. Meanwhile, Rosberg took third from Bottas on the same lap. Two laps later, he pass Massa on Turn 4 as well for P2. Räikkönnen lost additional places and dropped down to ninth on his intermediate tyres. Rosberg, on the slicks, pushed hard and significantly reduced Hamilton's lead, only 3.7 seconds behind by lap 43. In response the Briton pitted for intermediate tyres himself, which Vettel imitated. The strategy proved effective, as the rain came on just then, with Rosberg and both Williams dashing into the pits in the subsequent laps, but the stops proved too late as Massa and Bottas fell behind Vettel, with Hamilton managing to improve his lead to nine seconds over Rosberg.

Fernando Alonso scored his first point of the season and first with his new team.

On lap 49, Will Stevens went wide into the barriers, losing his front wing. He was able to continue, but the subsequent nose change demoted him to last place.[26] Hamilton held on to his lead over the last couple of laps, winning at Silverstone for the third time (the last two being consecutive British Grand Prix wins and the first from pole by any driver, since 1994).[28] In doing so, he also surpassed Jackie Stewart's 45-year-old record of laps led in eighteen consecutive Grands Prix. Alonso finished tenth to earn his first point since his return to McLaren, while the new B-spec Force India recorded a double-point finish with Hülkenberg and Pérez in seventh and ninth respectively.[29]

Post-race

"What a great race! A classic British Grand Prix which had a bit of everything. In particular, the changeable conditions kept us all on the edge of our seats, with the intensity of the rain being very difficult to read."

John Booth, Team Principal of Manor Marussia.[30]

Media reception of the race was good, with different sources calling it a "thriller"[31] and "a transfusion of fresh blood for the much-criticised sport."[32] Hamilton's performance in particular was deemed "brilliant."[33] The world champion admitted that Mercedes losing their places at the start "made the race for the fans" and went on to say: "You can't imagine how happy I am. I was tearing up on the last lap."[33]

Following the early lap fight for the lead with teammate Massa, Valtteri Bottas stated that he was sure he could have pulled a gap to the Mercedes behind. However, he insisted that "No one should let anyone by. That's not racing, but it would have been nice to have been able to race when I had the best opportunities."[34] Red Bull's team principal Christian Horner declared after the race that a spin on a damp track had allegedly cost Daniil Kvyat the chance to challenge for a podium position.[35] Following the race, the stewards decided not to take any action regarding the first-lap incident between the Lotus and McLaren drivers.[36]

Lewis Hamilton celebrating his third home Grand Prix win

The victory allowed Hamilton to extend his championship lead over Rosberg to 17 points.[33] By placing two drivers on the podium for the ninth time in a row, Mercedes equalled a record set by Ferrari over the course of the 1952-1953 seasons, albeit whilst often racing with more than two cars.[37]

A day after the race, a small controversy surfaced in the media in relation to the Mercedes team allegedly breaking the rules by causing its mechanics to rush to the pit lane on lap 14, for a stop that never eventuated. Stirred by text messages from Susie Wolff to her husband, Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff, the latter publicly conceded that the incident was "a bit of a game" that failed to cause Williams to call its cars in the pits early.[38] While no sanctions followed, FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting responded by deciding to warn all teams against this practice at the subsequent Hungarian Grand Prix.[39]

Classification

Qualifying

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Q1 Q2 Q3 Grid
1 44 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:33.796 1:33.068 1:32.248 1
2 6 Germany Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:33.475 1:32.737 1:32.361 2
3 19 Brazil Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1:34.542 1:33.707 1:33.085 3
4 77 Finland Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1:34.171 1:33.020 1:33.149 4
5 7 Finland Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:33.426 1:33.911 1:33.379 5
6 5 Germany Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:33.562 1:33.641 1:33.547 6
7 26 Russia Daniil Kvyat Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:34.422 1:33.520 1:33.636 7
8 55 Spain Carlos Sainz, Jr. Toro Rosso-Renault 1:34.641 1:34.071 1:33.649 8
9 27 Germany Nico Hülkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:34.594 1:33.693 1:33.673 9
10 3 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:34.272 1:33.749 1:33.943 10
11 11 Mexico Sergio Pérez Force India-Mercedes 1:34.250 1:34.268 11
12 8 France Romain Grosjean Lotus-Mercedes 1:34.646 1:34.289 12
13 33 Netherlands Max Verstappen Toro Rosso-Renault 1:34.819 1:34.502 13
14 13 Venezuela Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Mercedes 1:34.877 1:34.511 14
15 9 Sweden Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1:34.643 1:34.868 15
16 12 Brazil Felipe Nasr Sauber-Ferrari 1:34.888 16
17 14 Spain Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 1:34.959 17
18 22 United Kingdom Jenson Button McLaren-Honda 1:35.207 18
19 28 United Kingdom Will Stevens Marussia-Ferrari 1:37.364 19
20 98 Spain Roberto Merhi Marussia-Ferrari 1:39.377 20
107% time: 1:39.965
Source:[40]

Race

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Pts.
1 44 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 52 1:31:27.729 1 25
2 6 Germany Nico Rosberg Mercedes 52 +10.956 2 18
3 5 Germany Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 52 +25.443 6 15
4 19 Brazil Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 52 +36.839 3 12
5 77 Finland Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 52 +1:03.194 4 10
6 26 Russia Daniil Kvyat Red Bull Racing-Renault 52 +1:03.955 7 8
7 27 Germany Nico Hülkenberg Force India-Mercedes 52 +1:18.744 9 6
8 7 Finland Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 51 +1 Lap 5 4
9 11 Mexico Sergio Pérez Force India-Mercedes 51 +1 Lap 11 2
10 14 Spain Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 51 +1 Lap 17 1
11 9 Sweden Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 51 +1 Lap 15
12 98 Spain Roberto Merhi Marussia-Ferrari 49 +3 Laps 20
13 28 United Kingdom Will Stevens Marussia-Ferrari 49 +3 Laps 19
Ret 55 Spain Carlos Sainz, Jr. Toro Rosso-Renault 31 Electrical 8
Ret 3 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 21 Electrical 10
Ret 33 Netherlands Max Verstappen Toro Rosso-Renault 3 Spun off 13
Ret 8 France Romain Grosjean Lotus-Mercedes 0 Collision 12
Ret 13 Venezuela Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Mercedes 0 Collision damage 14
Ret 22 United Kingdom Jenson Button McLaren-Honda 0 Collision 18
DNS 12 Brazil Felipe Nasr Sauber-Ferrari 0 Gearbox 16
Source:[41]

Notes:

Championship standings after the race

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.

References

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External links


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2015 Austrian Grand Prix
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2015 Hungarian Grand Prix
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2014 British Grand Prix
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2016 British Grand Prix