Lewis Hamilton powered to a lights-to-flag victory at Silverstone to claim his fifth career British Grand Prix win and equal the record set by F1 legends Jim Clark and Alain Prost.
In a remarkable finish to the race, both Kimi Raikkonen and championship leader Sebastian Vettel suffered punctures in the closing laps to allow Valtteri Bottas through to seal a Mercedes one-two. Raikkonen recovered on new tyres to claim the final podium spot.
In the final laps Hamilton had held the lead from Raikkonen and Bottas, with Vettel in fourth place. Ferrari’s race then unravelled as Raikkonen’s front-left tyre punctured. Close to the pit lane, the Finn dived in for new tyres, which promoted Bottas to second and Vettel to what looked like a damage-limiting third place.
However, on the very next lap Vettel too suffered the same problem, his front-left tyre letting go. The German was forced to limp a much longer distance to the pit lane than his team-mate for new tyres and that allowed Raikkonen to claim third ahead of Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo who had driven a superb race to rise to fifth from 19th on the grid.
Ahead of the race start, Renault’s Jolyon Palmer was ruled out on the formation lap, with the Briton reporting that his brake by wire system had failed. He pulled over at the side of the track and given the position of the car an extra formation lap was required.
When the lights eventually went out Hamilton held his lead under pressure from Raikkonen but behind Vettel was passed by Verstappen as the field flooded through the first few corners. Valtteri Bottas, meanwhile, powered through from ninth to seventh in the opening phase.
Further back though there was trouble as Carlos Sainz got past team-mate Daniil Kvyat. The Russian went off track and in rejoining collided with Sainz, pitching the Spaniard into a spin and off track where he was forced to retire. Kvyat was later handed a drive through penalty for rejoining unsafely.
The Safety Car was deployed to clear Sainz’s car and the debris, and when racing resumed on lap four, Hamilton held his lead well ahead of Raikkonen, Verstappen and Vettel. Bottas, meanwhile, was making more progress and he passed Force India’s Esteban Ocon and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg to take P5. His next target was Vettel who was being held back by Verstappen.
At the back Daniel Ricciardo, who had started in P19 following engine-related penalties, was 14th when the SC was deployed and on the re-start picked up two more places. However, as he went to pass Romain Grosjean’s Haas at Woodcote the Australian went off-track and dropped back to P18.
By lap 12, Hamilton had eked out a three-second lead over Raikkonen. Verstappen continued to frustrate Vettel, however, with the Red Bull over six seconds behind the lead Ferrari.
Vettel made his move on lap 14, trying to go down the inside of the Red Bull into Stowe. Verstappen defended and the pair went into the next corner side by side. Vettel held his line and the pair went marginally off track. Verstappen was resolute, however, he emerged in third. The battle allowed Bottas to close in hard and on lap 16 he was two seconds off the back of Vettel’s Ferrari, which was now 14 seconds adrift of Hamilton.
Looking for a strategic overtake of Verstappen, Vettel pitted for soft tyres on lap 19 looking for the undercut. Verstappen pitted on the next lap but his stop for soft tyres was slightly slow due to a wheel nut problem and when he emerged from pit lane, Vettel was already past.
At the front Bottas continued on his starting soft tyres and when Raikkonen pitted for soft tyres, the Finn took second place behind Hamilton. The Briton made his stop for soft tyres on lap 26 and emerged marginally ahead of his team-mate.
Ricciardo, meanwhile, had continued his advance and on lap 29 he had climbed 13 places to P6, though he had yet to make a stop. The Australian’s times were solid, however, and he was attempting to use the clear air to make further ground. It worked and when he pitted after 33 laps on his opening supesofts he rejoined in P10 just behind the Force India of Sergio Perez. Bottas also pitted on the same tour, for supersofts, and the Finn emerged in fourth place behind Hamilton, Raikkonen and Vettel.
Hamilton, though, was comfortable in the lead and with 12 laps to go the Briton was 12.5s ahead of Raikkonen, who was now 4.4s ahead of team-mate Vettel, who has Bottas just 2.4s behind.
Bottas closed to just half a second behind by lap 43 and then made his first move, Vettel defended aggressively and following a huge lock-up after braking late, the German held the position.
It was a futile defence, though, as Bottas clearly had the pace on his fresher tyres and on the next lap Bottas powered past to claim P3 and target Raikkonen who was eight seconds in front.
With five laps to go Bottas had close to just five seconds behind Raikkonen.
Bottas didn’t need the extra pace, however, as three laps from home his countryman suffered a puncture. Bottas swept past as Raikkonen limped to the pits for new tyres.
The race then took a remarkable turn as within seconds of Raikkonen’s failure Vettel suffered exactly the same issue. The German’s race collapsed along with his front left tyre. The Ferrari driver was forced back to the pits for a set of supersoft tyres and as he did so, Verstappen also pitted for new tyres.
The Dutchman questioned the move but was later told Red Bull were concerned a similar fate to that which affected Ferrari might have befallen him.
Ahead, Hamilton sailed through to claim a record-equalling fifth British Grand Prix win. Bottas powered through to complete a Mercedes one-two, with Raikkonen reclaiming a podium position as Vettel dropped back.
Verstappen moved through to claim fourth place ahead of Ricciardo who had passed Hulkenberg in the closing stages. Vettel, meanwhile, held on to take a disappointing seventh place ahead of the Force Indias of Ocon and Perez. Felipe Massa took the final point for Williams.
2017 British Grand Prix – Race
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 14.063
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 36.570
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 52.125
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:05.955
6 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:08.109
7 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:33.989
8 Esteban Ocon Force India 1 lap
9 Sergio Perez Force India 1 lap
10 Felipe Massa Williams 1 lap
11 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1 lap
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1 lap
13 Romain Grosjean Haas 1 lap
14 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1 lap
15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1 lap
16 Lance Stroll Williams 1 lap
17 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 1 lap
Ret Fernando Alonso McLaren –
Ret Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso –
Ret Jolyon Palmer Renault