July 31 2014 Latest news:
Michael Bailey, Formula One correspondent
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Britain’s summer of sport before the race at Silverstone had been a bit of a shocker. And in all honesty, over the course of that Saturday night, it looked like it was getting worse too.
"We are not happy to be sixth – so starting from here, we need to prepare a different team from 2015"
Lewis Hamilton’s call to abort his final qualifying lap, effectively giving Nico Rosberg a free run at pole position having misjudged how fast the drying final sector of Silverstone was, produced one of the most startling post-event press conferences I’ve ever seen. Yes – even from Lewis Hamilton.
As Rosberg bubbled over at how he had worked out that his lap would be worth recording – probably at the same time Lewis was pulling over the slingshot his Mercedes team-mate past him – the Brit, you wondered, may have suffered a catastrophic blow to his world title chances and confidence in what he was trying to achieve.
But even though we malign our sport stars, there is plenty of evidence pointing to moments when they have risen to the occasion; taken adversity and flourished.
And that was Lewis Hamilton on the Sunday – not bad for a man who seems to attract drama as if it’s going out of fashion.
• Pole position – Williams: The Grove marque is starting to deliver on a clearly quick car, aided by some impressive performances from Valtteri Bottas.
• Stalling – Esteban Gutierrez: The Mexican is starting to cut a desperate figure as he struggles to keep on the track and out of the way of others – even if his Sauber car is a bit of a dog too.
Nigel Mansell – someone who knows a fair bit about winning his home grand prix – called it before the race. Hamilton could use his mistake to fire his race. Sometimes F1, even with all its machinery and technology, proves why it’s a sport driven by its human element.
We will never know what Nico Rosberg’s retirement meant for the result – but then, Hamilton knows what it’s like to be on that side of the fence already this season. Twice.
What the British Grand Prix has done is relaunch a Brit’s bid to be world champion come the end of the season in Abu Dhabi.
And next up? That will be the German Grand Prix, in Hockenheim.
Rosberg’s turn to sample the extra spur of a home crowd. Hamilton’s chance to make his Saturday at Silverstone not only the turning point of his weekend – but of his season.
• So the Caterham change was confirmed in time for Silverstone – new owners, new team principal and a new outlook.
No Tony Fernandes either. But sadly, there was no immediate improvement.
The expected vows of returning the Hingham-backed outfit to 10th in the championship were both necessary and possibly hopeful.
But arguably, it’s Hethel-backed Lotus facing a comparable change.
For the former Renault works team to switch to Mercedes engines from next season is a horrible blow for the French manufacturer. It’s also clear Lotus currently need more than just a change of engine.