July 14, 2016
Hamilton dominates but race control robbed fans at Silverstone.
There was no question a Mercedes would win the British Grand Prix, with over a second per lap over the nearest competitor it was just a matter of which one would get the better start.
Then, English summer weather intervened and, all of a sudden, it looked like we might be treated to a real classic. Would someone take advantage of the inevitable first lap chaos and sneak ahead of the Silver cars, forcing a truly heroic drive from Hamilton or Rosberg?.
No, Race Control decided a comical 6 laps Safety Car procession under bright sunshine was needed, handing Hamilton the easy lead. PAuse and consider this year's Nurburgring 24 hours. Most of those guys are amateurs or semi pros, yet they raced through fog and rain on a track without the acres of runoff Silverstone affords. F1 drivers are supposed to be the best in the world in the best cars, they can't drive to the conditions?
F1 lost another piece of its soul at Silverstone, the very place it was born.
Slightly vomit inducing worship aside, it was hardly Hamilton's fault the race was given to him on a silver platter. His driving was almost perfect, he made the most of being in clear air with a superior car. Hamilton had so little trouble, he was barely shown on tv.
Not so perfect, his only championship rival. Rosberg was once again left looking weak in the rain. Lewis got the jump on the German right off the safety car. After all these years with safety cars, it's a mystery that F1 drivers still don't know how to do restarts properly. The time penalty for the radio calls was inevitable given current regulations, like them or not.
The real star of the race was Max Verstappen. his non-DRS pass on the outside of Rosberg in a place where NOBODY passes is something even Hamilton might fantasize about. Max's strength is his instinct, you give him half a look and he's through. This was so obvious when he was Sainz's teammate, Sainz would take two laps to pass a back marker while Max would do it in a few corners.
Imagine how great it would have been to see Hamilton have to figure out a way past Verstappen.
But no, race control saw to it none of that nonsense would happen up front.
The irony of a formula that has increasingly seeked to put artificial obstacles in front of drivers, shying away from a proper, natural one is strong.
Die hard fans and the Motorsport press routinely complain about how boring and sterile F1 has become and yet excitement is currently measured by the number of instagram and snapchat followers (99% of whom care nothing about racing) Hamilton has and any slight controversy or contact is castigated. Everyone is endlessly bringing up the "golden era", Hunt, Lauda, Fuji, Dijon, Villeneuve yet Sunday we were treated to the sad spectacle of Vettel getting a penalty for an "on the limit" pass on Massa instead.
Soon, F1 will start handing out penalties for "exceeding the limits of traction".
It's that bad.