Tough weekend for Ferrari in rain soaked Silverstone
British summer time lived up to its reputation this weekend in Silverstone, as the heavens opened over the Northamptonshire circuit. In a race which saw seven retirements and numerous spins, it was Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton who drove through the incessant spray to win his first home Grand Prix in front of a capacity crowd, ahead of Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber F1 Team) and Rubens Barrichello (Honda Racing).
The fastest lap of the race was awarded to defending World Champion Kimi Räikkönen and his fourth place finish was enough to bring him to the head of the Drivers’ table. Fortune did not smile on team-mate Felipe Massa; an unhappy three days for the Brazilian saw his weekend end outside the points.
With the 60 laps completed, Ian Albiston, Shell Project Manager for Ferrari commented: “The conditions here at Silverstone this weekend were extremely challenging, placing more pressure than normal on the cars and consequently higher demands on the Shell products within the car. A disappointing result for the team but on a positive note we’re pleased the products worked well under the difficult conditions and helped power the Ferrari to some valuable points for the championships.”
Hamilton comes from ten points behind to share a three-way tie with Räikkönen and Massa. At this mid-way point of the season the three drivers have scored 48 points apiece in the FIA Formula One Drivers’ World Championship, with Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber F1 Team) standing just two points behind. Scuderia Ferrari maintains the lead of the FIA Formula One Constructors’ World Championship on 96 points to the BMW Sauber F1 Team’s 82.
Germany will host the10th round of the Championship at Hockenheim on 20th July 2008.
Selected comments from Scuderia Ferrari after the race:
"A Sunday to forget as quickly as possible in terms of the result, although we must remember certain elements of this weekend, as there were mistakes made that we cannot afford to repeat. We could have won this race with Kimi but we made a key mistake at the first pit stop, choosing to stay on the same set of tyres. The rain did not ease off and lasted longer and our drivers – Felipe had also gone for the same choice – found themselves in difficulty. With hindsight it’s easy to say we should have changed tyres, but Formula 1 is not an exact science: sometimes strategic choices pay off and sometimes they don’t. All the same, we have to admit that, this weekend, we did not operate to our usual standard. We made mistakes at every level and even our performance did not match our expectations and now we have to work out why, but calmly without panicking. We have reached the mid-point of the season: both our drivers are on equal points in the lead with one other driver in the Drivers’ classification and we head the Constructors’ Championship. We have lost a few opportunities to pick up a greater number of points, but we always knew this would be a very closely contested championship. Now we will concentrate on the coming rounds and will try and do better.”
“I am disappointed, but I am equally aware that things could have been much worse. We had the possibility to win the race but we made a mistake at the first pit stop, keeping the same set of tyres, because we expected the track conditions to improve. It was a joint decision: we are a team and we win or lose together. Things are not going too well for me at the moment, given all that happened in the last few races, but I am leading the championship, even if it is on equal terms with Felipe and Lewis. We know we have a great potential, but we have to put everything in place to get the most out of it.”
“This Silverstone weekend is one to be wiped out. On Friday I had an accident, yesterday there was the problem in qualifying and today a series of mistakes at all levels. We have to look ahead, because there is still a very long way to go in the championship and once again, we’ve seen that it only takes one result to turn the situation around. After nine races I am in the lead in the classification and I have every chance to fight for the title all the way to the end. Today, I could hardly keep the car in a straight line and it was always very difficult to drive. Only after the last pit stop did things improve a bit, but by then I was a long way back. We have to do a good job in the forthcoming Hockenheim test to be as well prepared as possible for the German Grand Prix that takes place on the same track.”
“We are very disappointed with the way things went today. Kimi was having a great race and he had every chance of fighting for the win, but we made a wrong choice at the first stop. We had banked on the weather getting better and it didn’t and in fact the rain actually intensified for a while, which put our drivers in great difficulty. Clearly, looking back, one could say we should not have made this decision, but it was not just a shot in the dark, as seen from the fact that we were not the only ones to make this choice out of all the drivers who stopped around this time. Felipe was struggling right from the start because of a lack of grip and his race was immediately compromised, and then it is very difficult to drive in these conditions in the middle of the pack. We are all very disappointed because once again, we have lost valuable points. Now we have to stay concentrated and must work even harder to improve our performance and to make sure we don’t make any more of these mistakes.”
Tough weekend for Ferrari in rain soaked Silverstone