As Lou Reed might have it, it was – for one person at least – such a perfect day.
Pole won by a distance. Lead every tour. Get fastest lap. Win at a canter. Moreover your championship rival – who had been metronomic in 2017 – hit problems late. Now the points deficit to him is all but gone. All this too in front of your adoring home public. The public that some rather excitable sorts had suggested you might be losing. You even got to crowd surf.
It is indeed hard to see how Lewis Hamilton, or his massed following watching on, could have asked for more from his home event at Silverstone. But still we could see it coming. He appears to have inherited Nigel Mansell’s knack of always operating on a higher plain than all others in his local round. And that even over and above this things therein will somehow, inevitably, go his way.
An Inevitable Win
Aptly this was Lewis’s fourth British Grand Prix win in a row, and his fifth in total. Both are record-equalling with the late great Jim Clark, one who specialised in the sort of crushing domination that Lewis demonstrated in this one.
Such was Lewis’s pace advantage, an astonishing half second-plus in qualifying, it was clear in advance that only the unusual would deprive him victory. Would his start be poor? Well it wasn’t stellar but crucially was enough to retain his lead. Would rain arrive? Yes, but not until after the race, as if to emphasise that fates were smiling upon him.
You can work out the rest – he simply moved clear unchallenged. The TV director seemed to agree on the inevitability as Lewis scarcely was shown. He was still in place, in first, at the end.
It Gets Better For Lewis
And right before that point his day had got even better, as amazingly both Ferraris got punctures in the final couple of laps. Kimi Raikkonen, who had been second, as a result dropped to third behind the other Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, who’d recovered impressively after adding five to his qualifying place due to a gearbox change. Indeed Bottas had passed Sebastian Vettel shortly beforehand; the German dropped to seventh after his own puncture. Early Pirelli analyses indicate the two failures were in fact unrelated.
As was the case after the last round in Austria Valtteri should not be forgotten – he’s now within a race win of the table top himself, even after the slice of bad luck mentioned this weekend.
Yet the momentum now seems well with Lewis, and this is a major departure from previously. Before this round things just wouldn’t come for him. Vettel kept edging clear despite the Mercedes looking quicker. Now Vettel’s lead over Hamilton is but a point. Next up is Hungary which is another track on which Lewis specialises. And it remains the case that the Merc looks quicker than the Ferrari, and has done for several rounds.
As we are reminded repeatedly, in F1 much can change during an hour and a half on a Sunday.