Belfast Telegraph

Hamilton cruises to Silverstone win

Rosberg demoted to third place after time penalty

By Jack De Menezes

Lewis Hamilton leaves Silverstone with more than just his fourth British Grand Prix victory after Nico Rosberg was hit with a 10-second time penalty for illegal use of team radio messages, with the reigning Formula 1 world champion just one point behind his Mercedes teammate in the drivers' championship.

After becoming the first man to win three consecutive British Grands Prix and four races at Silverstone, Hamilton closed the gap to Rosberg down to just four points in the drivers' championship, but an investigation into Rosberg after he suffered a gearbox failure led to the German receiving a time penalty for the second consecutive race.

Rosberg and Mercedes say they will appeal the penalty.

Rosberg exited the Club Chicane stuck in seventh gear, to which he received help from his race engineer Tony Ross to solve the problem.

It enabled Rosberg to maintain second place ahead of Max Verstappen, who continued to impress after taking third place along with completing another candidate for overtake of the season. However, after analysing the audio from Rosberg's radio communication and insisting that they would crack down on any illegal advice given to drivers during races, the race stewards confirmed that the 31-year-old championship leader had been given a 10-second time penalty for the indiscretion, relegating him behind Verstappen and cutting his lead in the standings to a solitary point.

At the end of the 46th lap, Rosberg urgently said "gearbox problem" on his team radio, to which he received the response: "Driver default one. Chassis default one, chassis default one. Avoid seventh gear Nico."

When Rosberg asked "do I need to shift through it?", Ross replied: "Affirm, you need to shift through it." The stewards deemed that while the original message was legal to avoid an imminent failure, the second command to "shift through" seventh gear fell foul of the rules.

The race started behind the safety car despite the rain actually stopping before the lights went out, and despite conditions looking good enough for the 22 supposed best drivers in the world to go to work, FIA race director Charlie Whiting elected to keep the race neutralised until the fifth lap.

Such was the rate of drying that a stream of cars followed Bernd Mayländer, the safety car driver, into the pits to put on intermediates, with the front four of Hamilton, Rosberg, Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo waiting until lap eight to pit under a virtual safety car after Pascal Wehrlein went off at Abbey.

He wouldn't be the only one though, and the first turn proved to be a treacherous corner for a number of drivers including Hamilton, Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen, while Wehrlein's Manor teammate Ryo Haryanto would join him in spinning out of the race there.

The only lap Hamilton failed to lead was when he pitted to swap from intermediates to slicks, with Verstappen taking the lead after he had passed Rosberg with an incredibly brave move around the outside of the championship leader through the daunting Becketts corner.

Tricky enough in the dry, Verstappen placed his car on the rear corner of Rosberg's and had enough faith in his Red Bull to sweep around him and pull clear on the Hangar Straight.

The moment Verstappen was unable to hold on to the place came when Rosberg completed an impressive pass himself around the outside of Verstappen at Stowe on lap 37, but his attempts to catch Hamilton were thwarted by the gearbox issue that also cost him second place.

Behind Verstappen, Ricciardo completed a lonely race to take fourth ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, while Raikkonen needed to pass the impressive Sergio Perez late in the race to reclaim the fifth position he lost at the opening pit stops. Nico Hulkenberg followed his Force India teammate home in seventh ahead of the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz, while Sebastian Vettel endured a miserable afternoon as he received a five-second time penalty for forcing Felipe Massa off the track.

Final positions after race (52 laps): 1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1hr 34mins 55.831secs; 2 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes GP 1:35:02.742; 3 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1:35:04.081; 4 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 1:35:22.042; 5 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:36:05.574; 6 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India 1:36:12.772; 7 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Force India 1:36:13.543; 8 Carlos Sainz (Spa) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:36:21.689; 9 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1:36:27.485; 10 Daniil Kvyat (Rus) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:36:28.431; 11 Felipe Massa (Bra) Williams at 1 Lap; 12 Jenson Button (Gbr) McLaren at 1 Lap; 13 Fernando Alonso (Spa) McLaren at 1 Lap; 14 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Williams at 1 Lap; 15 Felipe Nasr (Bra) Sauber-Ferrari at 1 Lap; 16 Esteban Gutierrez (Mex) Haas F1 at 1 Lap; 17 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Renault at 3 Laps; Not Classified: 18 Jolyon Palmer (Gbr) Renault 37 Laps completed; 19 Rio Haryanto (Ina) Manor Racing 24 Laps completed; 20 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas F1 17 Laps completed; 21 Marcus Ericsson (Swe) Sauber-Ferrari 11 Laps completed; 22 Pascal Wehrlein (Ger) Manor Racing 6 Laps completed.

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