Lewis Hamilton won an incident filled and rain hit British Grand Prix after a dominant display in tricky conditions. Nick Heidfeld also put in a great performance to finish in second position while Rubens Barrichello seized the opportunity with both hands to take a memorable third position in the Honda.
Starting fourth, Hamilton made an excellent start and powered his way to second into the first corner behind pole-sitter and team-mate Heikki Kovalainen. There was the slightest of contact as the duo battled for position and five laps later Hamilton got a good tow down the Hanger Straight and made a clean pass for the lead.
Kimi Raikkonen was on the move as well after a slow start and soon found his way into second position and shadowed the race leader until the first round of pitstops. With the circuit beginning to dry a little and more rain forecast, this is where Ferrari made the crucial mistake that took Raikkonen out of contention for the race win.
Hamilton and Raikkonen both pitted together with McLaren fitting a new set of intermediate tyres while Raikkonen received just fuel. As the rain started to fall a few laps later Raikkonen found himself out of grip and his lap times tumbled. In the space of ten laps Hamilton had extended his lead from almost nothing to over 40 seconds. Ferrari did not react to the situation and it was only in the later stages of the race that Raikkonen could make any kind of recovery.
Nick Heidfeld steered clear of trouble and took advantage of errors from his rivals to take the chequered flag in second position 70 seconds behind the dominant Hamilton. Another driver to make best of the conditions was Rubens Barrichello who along with the team made the best calls of the day in terms of tyre strategy.
Running in the lower points-paying positions mid-race, a heavy rain shower saw Barrichello take full wet tyres. The results were immediate with the Brazilian veteran lapping between ten and 14 seconds a lap faster than anyone else. This promoted Barrichello to a stunning second position but a late race change back to the intermediate tyres dropped him back behind Heidfeld. It was an excellent drive from a man known to shine in such tricky conditions.
Kimi Raikkonen battled back to finish in fourth position in the leading Ferrari, but it was very much a case of damage limitation following the earlier error by the team. Team-mate Felipe Massa, the championship leader heading into the 60-lap race, endured what was probably his least competitive showing of his entire career and finished flat last a lap behind the next highest placed finisher.
With Hamilton taking the win, Raikkonen scrambling home in fourth and Massa not scoring, the trio all have 48 championship points heading to Hockenheim in two weeks time.
Heikki Kovalainen could not match the pace of Hamilton or Raikkonen early in the race and a spin late in the race at Club saw him lose position to Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso. He would get one of those positions back as he took the chequered flag in a disappointing fifth position.
Fernando Alonso found himself in defence mode in the closing stages of the race and could not result the pace of Raikkonen and Kovalainen but did hold on to finish in sixth position. Renault team-mate Nelson Piquet ran well until the heavy rains fell and lost control of his R28 and spun out of the race.
Jarno Trulli finished in seventh position in the leading Toyota, taking the position on the very final lap from Kazuki Nakajima in the Williams. Nakajima looked to have the pace to pass Alonso but went defensive in the final moment of the race and lost out to the Italian veteran. Still it was a good race from the rookie Williams driver.
Nico Rosberg finished in ninth position having started the race from the pit lane. It was not a trouble-free race for the highly-rated driver as a collision with Timo Glock saw him forced to fit for a new front wing and the error cost him a chance of points.
Starting second on the grid, Mark Webber had high hopes of a good haul of points this afternoon but a spin exiting Chapel on lap one saw those hopes dashed. Facing the wrong way as the field passed by, Webber can count his lucky starts that he was just far enough off line not to be hit. The Australian racer finished in tenths position while team-mate David Coulthard ran into Sebastian Vettel at the start of the race eliminating both on the spot.
Sebastien Bourdais soldiered on in the surviving Toro Rosso and finished 11th ahead of Timo Glock who suffered several spins in the later stages of the race in his Toyota. With half a dozen spins of his own, Massa was Classified 13th and last.
Rosberg Kubica was caught out in the heavy rain and spun off and into retirement as did Jenson Button and the Force India duo of Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil.
It couldn’t be closer at the mid-point of the season…
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