Hamilton’s historic sixth
You’d need a heart of stone not to have felt for Valtteri Bottas on Sunday afternoon. The Finn had that haunted crestfallen look we’ve seen before, and for good reason – because not for the first time he was blameless in defeat at the hands of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Having claimed a fantastic pole position on Saturday, Bottas had driven a great race, hadn’t put a wheel wrong – and still found himself losing out.
Immediately once the lights were out Hamilton had been on him, but when his moment came to take the lead, Bottas bit back. Hamilton’s brilliant undercut at Brooklands looked to be enough, but his team-mate had his nose up the inside at Luffield and that gave him the momentum to streak back ahead into Copse. Classic Silverstone stuff.
But a moment of fortune on tyre strategy and the timing of a safety car, to clear Antonio Giovinazzi’s beached Alfa Romeo, handed Hamilton what amounted to a free stop – and a lead he would not lose.
Would he have passed Bottas anyway? Probably. Bottas had committed to two stops, whereas Hamilton’s single-stopper looked to be the better bet. But that safety car never gave us the chance to see this one play out naturally.
All we can know for sure is the victory, cheered by the wonderful Silverstone crowd, made it six wins at home, and secured another record for happy Hamilton. This one moves him beyond Jim Clark and Alain Prost, both of whom shared with him the record of five British GP wins. At this rate, he’ll soon be in a class of his own – at least as far as stats are concerned.