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F1: Hamilton imperious as Vettel cracks

Bryan Edwards

If one could ever say that a circuit has a soul, one must, surely, say that about Silverstone, the home of the British Grand Prix for almost every running of that race since Formula One was born. And if a soul can be resurrected, to come alive and celebrate, Silverstone did just that. As the F1 circus rolled into town and set up shop, the biggest question was if this would be the last F1 at Silverstone and, even, if there would be a British Grand Prix after 2019. While the terms of the deal are secret, it is likely that the British Racing Drivers' Club, the owners of the former airfield and Liberty, the owners of F1, have done a deal under which the cost of running the race is reduced. The deal makes sure F1 comes home for at least the next five years. Then the grand old dame of F1 shed all her cares and woes and partied and what a party it was..

Sadly, Williams really are going to have to come to a decision about Robert Kubica's future. Yes, the car isn't quick enough, especially around corners, but George Russell beats him every time and it's not even close. The problem is that the story is done: yes, his return to F1 was amazing. Got it. Move on. It's an awful thing to say but his performance cannot be all due to the car nor to his long time out of F1. I'm not even sure that it's much to do with his injury. It's just that he hasn't got what he once had and F1 is no place for a sinecure. Williams has always been brutal with its drivers: ask Hill and Button. Is the only thing keeping Kubica at Williams the money he brings? At the end of last month a rumour started that his personal sponsor, oil company PKN Orlen, was thinking of cancelling or reviewing their sponsorship. That more or less coincided with the HAAS/Rich Energy news and one must always be cautious of coincidences. PKN Orlen issues, a week later, a statement that the rumours were false. But the fact is that, if the money goes, Kubica's seat is likely to go, too.

So, what do the tail-end Charlies have to do with the race? The fact is that both Kubica and Russell finished and they both finished ahead of Perez who made three stops and Vettel who made what is becoming a characteristic mistake. He finished second last, a position that was unchanged by the addition of a ten second penalty for running up the back of Verstappen. In parc firmé, Vettel immediately went to Verstappen who had not even taken off his helmet and apologised. Later, he said that the crash was entirely his fault. It was so hard that the front wing of the Ferrari went under the back of the Red Bull, lifting it off the ground and spinning it to land in a gravel trap. Both cars continued but repairs to Vettel's car put him to the back. Verstappen kept going, eventually to finish fifth. Instead of being angry, because he had clearly had a good chance of a podium finish, he laughed. "I'm just happy I go to the end," he said, explaining that the car was gradually falling apart around him, with even his seat dislodged in the crash so that he shifted about in the cockpit every time he braked, cornered or accelerated.

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