Hamilton beats Verstappen, Rosberg demoted to third

© XPB 

Lewis Hamilton closed the gap to Nico Rosberg in the championship to just one point after beating his team-mate to victory in the British Grand Prix.

A safety car start due to standing water prevented any drama between the two Mercedes drivers at Turn 1 and Hamilton led comfortably in wet conditions before managing his pace as the track dried. Max Verstappen ran second for the majority of the race after a breathtaking move on Rosberg, but the championship leader managed to regain the position with 14 laps remaining, by which time he was too far adrift to challenge for victory.

Rosberg then suffered a late scare as a gearbox problem slowed him and dropped him into the clutches of Verstappen, and while he held on the German was investigated due to messages he received over the radio having been told to "avoid seventh gear" as a result of the issue. The stewards eventually handed Rosberg a ten-second time penalty, demoting him to third place.

Verstappen originally finished third with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo 18 seconds further back in fourth place ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez. Nico Hulkenberg, Carlos Sainz, Sebastian Vettel and Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top ten.

A torrential downpour 20 minutes before the start left a lot of standing water on the track and race director Charlie Whiting opted for a safety car start despite the sun coming out before the race got underway. The first five laps were spent behind the safety car, with ten drivers immediately pitting for intermediate tyres. The switch to intermediates was risky as Turn 1 remained very wet, with Pascal Wehrlein having retired after aquaplaning off.

After everyone had stopped to switch to intermediates, Verstappen - who had been hustling Rosberg since the start - pulled a stunning move around the outside of Chapel after the Mercedes driver got out of shape and took second place. The move came on lap 16, just as many drivers were switching to slicks despite Turn 1 remaining wet.

Verstappen stayed out a lap longer than the Mercedes drivers but was immediately quick on the medium tyre and the top three all started to close up.  Both Hamilton and Verstappen had off-track moments at Turn 1 while Raikkonen also went wide.

Fernando Alonso had a high-speed spin at the first corner and clipped the barrier but managed to continue. However, Rio Haryanto was not so fortunate as he followed Manor team-mate Wehrlein out of the race at the same corner.

Perez had managed to jump up to fourth place during the first round of pit stops but lost out to Ricciardo on lap 21 when the Australian pulled a good move around the outside of Stowe. By then Ricciardo was 20 seconds adrift of the leaders and couldn't bring himself back into contention.

With the top three running close together, Rosberg was closing on Verstappen on the drying track and attempted to pass on numerous occasions at Stowe. Verstappen defending excellently for a number of laps before Rosberg regrouped and managed to pass with a good move around the outside of the Red Bull at Stowe.

There was late drama, however, as Rosberg's attempts to put pressure on Hamilton were ended prematurely by a gearbox problem. Rosberg slowed at the final corner and came over team radio to report the issue, which resulted in a reply from his race engineer explaining a setting and telling the German to avoid seventh gear.

Verstappen was immediately back on Rosberg's tail but didn't launch an attack as he couldn't get within a second. However, Red Bull informed the 18-year-old of an investigation which could see Rosberg penalised post-race for the radio messages.

Perez continued to drop back into the clutches of Raikkonen in the closing laps and the Finn dived up the inside of the Force India into Stowe with six laps remaining to take fifth. Hulkenberg closed on his team-mate but crossed the line 0.7s behind.

Vettel had a difficult race having started 11th due to a gearbox penalty, struggling in the midfield and spinning at Turn 1. The Ferrari driver then received a five second time penalty for forcing Felipe Massa off track at Turn 3, but managed to pull enough of a gap over Kvyat to retain 10th place.

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01Lewis HamiltonMercedes52 laps - 1h34m55.831s2
02Nico RosbergMercedes+6.9112
03Max VerstappenRed Bull+8.2502
04Daniel RicciardoRed Bull+26.2112
05Kimi RaikkonenFerrari+69.7432
06Sergio PerezForce India+76.9412
07Nico HulkenbergForce India+77.7122
08Carlos SainzToro Rosso+85.8582
09Sebastian VettelFerrari+91.6542
10Daniil KvyatToro Rosso+92.6002
11Felipe MassaWilliams+1 lap3
12Jenson ButtonMcLaren+1 lap2
13Fernando AlonsoMcLaren+1 lap3
14Valtteri BottasWilliams+1 lap2
15Felipe NasrSauber+1 lap2
16Esteban GutierrezHaas+1 lap2
17Kevin MagnussenRenault+3 laps4
18Jolyon PalmerRenaultDNF4
19Rio HaryantoManorDNF2
20Romain GrosjeanHaasDNF2
21Marcus EricssonSauberDNF3
22Pascal WehrleinManorDNF1