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July 7, 2008

F1: British Grand Prix


Not too exciting until Q3 where the BMW crew were panicking to get Robert Kubica back out but couldn’t due to a technical problem they couldn’t fix in time. Lewis Hamilton was very fast in the first two sectors but had trouble in the third one, overdriving the car and locking wheels under braking.

At the very end Mark Webber had provisional pole only for McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen to take it away at the very end and earn his first pole position. McLaren team boss Ron Dennis didn’t look pleased. Hamilton was fourth.

The Ferrari team were struggling and off pace. Kimi Raikkonen was third while Felipe Massa was well back due to the team not being able to change a rear tire for his last qualifying run.


The race was super exciting due to heavy rain and constantly changing conditions. It really highlighted the difference in tire choices. Everyone started on “intermediate” tires but there were a couple of drivers who switched to full wets during the course of the race.

Hamilton made an incredible start going from fourth to second by the first corner, tagging teammate Kovalainen’s right rear wheel and nearly taking him out but for a nice save by Heikki. Raikkonen was boxed in by Mark Webber who left the door open for Hamilton to charge by on the inside.

Webber then spun and was well down the order, while his teammate David Coulthard, who announced he will retire from F1 racing at the end of the season, collided with Sebastian Vettel on the first lap and took them both out.

Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen did not change tires during the first round of pit stops which would cost them dearly in terms of lap times. It appears their teams thought the rain would abate and the already worn intermediate tires would provide a performance advantage.

However, the rain increased and slowed them up considerably while Hamilton had switched to new intermediates and was miles up the road by the end. He also appears to be quite hard on his tires so not changing tires probably wasn’t an option.

Rubens Barrichello made the change to full rain tires and was rewarded handsomely as he drove his Honda, normally one of the slowest cars on the grid, to an unthinkable third place finish.

Hamilton drove a near perfect race and stormed to a dominant win. Nearly everyone else had at least one spin during the event. Sebastian Bourdais probably came as close as possible to being taken out without actually being taken out when Adrian Sutil spun in front of him. Sutil was lucky not to flip as his car went airborne sideways a few times over the wet British countryside.

Quote of the day from Speed TV’s Bob Varsha, “Someone get Matchett a tranquilizer!” Nick Heidfeld drove a great race to finish second. He seems very quick when his job is under threat but otherwise no so much.

So now we have a 3 way tie for the lead in the driver standings. This season will probably go down to the wire, just like last year.

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