To paraphrase Michael Corleone: "...Just when they said it was dead..."
It's become trendy to slam the series but even the most die hard hater was to admit F1 put on a good show at Silverstone.
Call us crazy, but there is something to this idea of holding races where people care: 350,000 people, according to the organizers, passed through in the three days easily topping Le Mans this year by almost a third, amazing considering Le Mans is such a special unique event.
Kudos to the BRDC and the British fans. In return they got one of the best races in a while, one that had all the ingredient you'd want: Underdogs, Uncertainty, The Local Hero triumphant in the end.
After all the talk of conspiracies with Mercedes clutch springs leading up to the "green flag" it was fantastic see Massa and Bottas' hole shot both Silver Arrows. Massa might want to consider a future in top fuel dragsters with reactions like that!
Surprising, on that first lap, that Bottas made such rookie error, leaving the door wide for Hamilton to pass him at the Loop. Bottas was a little disappointing, especially for one supposedly with a foot at Maranello already.
Williams did make a mistake giving him mixed signals on racing Felipe, you can't tell a driver not to attack,then a couple of laps later tell him he can, chances to pass are too hard to come by, but Valterri did not look like he quite had the pace to pass Massa.
Later on Bottas made the same early call for intermediate tires Raikkonen did but Williams refused him, that was good, but later they lft both drivers out too long, that was bad. The final stage of the race saw Valterri in greater difficulty that his teammate.
Another highly touted driver had a lousy race: Daniel Ricciardo. Not just his Renault going poof again but that first lap error, one you would expect from Maldonado or Grosjean. Daniel must be getting a bit of the feeling he gave Vettel last year, Kyat put on a very good show finishing 6th and for the first time ever, wiping the smile off the Australian's face.
After a bad start and getting schooled by Felipe "I'm not Timo Glock" Massa on the safety car re-start, Lewis was absolutely phenomenal on his out lap after the first stop.
Consider this: Lap 20, his out lap, at 1:56.349 was about 1.7 seconds faster than Rosberg's, 2.1 seconds faster than Massa and Bottas.
(Incidentally, the driver with the second fastest out lap? Daniil Kyyat, with a 1:57.7!)
Later Hamilton benefitted from the deployment of the Virtual Safety Car. Hammy loved it but maybe fans lost because the rest of the field did not get a chance to catch up. Why race control deployed a real safety car at the start when Massa was ahead but a Virtual Safety Car when Hamilton was leading, we'll leave to the conspiracy theorists.
Considering how things played out when it started drizzling, that cushion was crucial for Hamilton. In the mixed conditions/slick tire portion of the race, Hamilton was outclassed by Rosberg who, having gotten through the two Williams, was gaining on the leader at two seconds a lap..
When he pitted he was about to be caught and passed, he had to pit then. Just enough time for the commentators to declare his race lost and it started pouring, Behind him Vettel had made the same call... Champions make their own luck sometimes.
Raikkonen could have been the genius had the skies opened up 3 laps earlier instead he got more people kicking him now, unfairly. Kimi for his part just owned up to making the call, shit happens.
The Scuderia did not seem especially supportive. What a fascinating difference in team dynamics: In Monaco, Lewis made the wrong call and the team later took the whole blame. At Silverstone, Kimi made a wrong call, the team says he made the call on his own and Raikkonen shrugged.
Ferrari is looking like it has for so many seasons, facing the prospect of their mid season upgrades not working out as well as it was hoped. With the backdrop of Sergio Marchionne's need to pump up Ferrari's value to prop up other parts of FCA, will this lead to panic? Mercedes docet : you need to go all in, to do whatever it takes, spend whatever it costs if you want to dominate....and it might take years. There is always an ulterior motive behind racing but FCA's is not the same Enzo Ferrari had.
Now it's a long three week until Hungary. The German GP was supposed to fill that gap and F1 still has a lot of soul searching to come up with a proper solutions and add excitement.
Naturally all manner of gimmicks are being proposed yet the formula is simple: Fans want to see drivers doing what they do best so get rid of preset clutches, figure out a way take the computer out of the rear brakes, give them 25% more power and, especially, bigger tires so they can drive different lines into corners.
You're welcome F1, we love you!