THE British Formula One Grand Prix had more action and drama than expected and at the end the top five qualifiers finished in the same order they started from – but it was anything but a procession.
Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton won, with Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in second place, followed by the Red Bull Renaults of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen fifth, for Ferrari.
But while the action at Silverstone was fast and furious in front and behind, Perth’s Ricciardo had a fairly lonely run in fourth place.
The race started in pelting rain with the safety car leading the racers for the first five laps, then with the skies showing signs of clearing Red Bull called Ricciardo in on lap seven to change his rain tyres for longer-lasting intermediates.
It was not a good move for the Perth driver, who was soon after delayed by a virtual safety car after Pascal Wehrlein’s Manor slid off the circuit and became bogged.
“We lost a lot of time and that was just bad luck,” Ricciardo said.
“I think for the team and for the points the final result was really good. Obviously we gained a bit on Ferrari which is nice, but for me it was lonely and a bit boring. Hopefully Budapest works better.”
After finishing second, Rosberg had 10 seconds added to his time, which dropped him to third place behind Verstappen.
Rosberg had received a radio instruction from his pit about a gearbox problem and new rules by the governing body preclude any advice via radio from the pit.
However, the German still finished ahead of Ricciardo, who reclaimed fourth after a battle with Force India’s Sergio Perez.
Ricciardo also set the fastest lap.
The wet conditions caught out many drivers and, apart from Wehrlein, resulted in spectacular spins for Vettel, Sainz, Alonso, Haryanto, Perez and Bottas.
For Ricciardo, it was an anniversary of sorts: he had his first Formula One race at Silverstone five years earlier in his debut drive for the Spanish HRT team.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was upbeat about his drivers.
“Daniel was unfortunate in losing time under the Virtual Safety Car, but we got a great result with plenty of points in the Constructors’ Championship and we may get better yet,” he said.
Highlights of the 52-lap race included a great battle between Rosberg and Verstappen for second place, with the Dutch teenage sensation squeezing past Rosberg on lap 16 but the German, after complaining about Verstappen’s defensive moves, got his place back on lap 38.
Then the stewards reversed it by enforcing the controversial new ‘no communication’ rule.
Mercedes is appealing the decision.