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The British Grand Prix weekend is the most historic race weekend on the F1 calendar. One of only a handful of races on the calendar every single year in F1's long history, it always throws up an interesting race. Most fans have their own favourite memories of the Silverstone circuit, whether it be Mansell on Piquet into Stowe, Herbert's win in 1995 after Hill and Schumacher collided, Prost and Clark's domination of the track in their respective eras and the list goes on.
Coming into the 2016 weekend, Ferrari and Force India confirmed they would retain their drivers for 2017. Sauber were hoping for a clean weekend but Ericsson slipped on some damp astroturf and destroyed the entire car, including the survival cell itself. He was thus forced to sit out qualifying, permitted to start the race from the pit lane pending medical approval.
Ferrari had another weekend of gearbox issues for Vettel, with a second gearbox change in as many races forced on them. The former champion again had to take the penalty for that.
Palmer was the first driver in qualifying to lose his lap time due to exceeding track limits, although it was some 4 seconds off the pace anyway.
Mercedes set almost identical laps in Q1, sitting half a second ahead of the rest of the pack.
Button, Palmer, Haryanto, Wehrlein and Nasr fell in Q1.
Q2 saw Perez, Massa, both Haas cars, Kvyat and Magnussen dropping, leaving Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, Bottas, Sainz, Alonso and Hulkenberg for the final shootout.
Hamilton took provisional pole in the first flurry of laps in Q3 ahead of Rosberg, but lost his lap after running off the track at Copse. His second lap gave him a cushion against his teammate. Rosberg couldn't improve. Verstappen and Ricciardo locked out row 2, Raikkonen and Vettel row 3, then Bottas, Hulkenberg, Sainz and Alonso rounded out the session, the McLaren losing a lap which would have been worth 8th.
In typical British fashion, the cool, dry conditions were replaced with about 15 minutes until the race start with a heavy downpour, bringing a Safety Car start into the mix. That meant everyone had to start on wet tyres, but conditions looked as if they'd be dry enough for inters within a few laps. The Safety Car peeled off on lap 5, followed by a stampede into the pits that didn't include Mercedes or Red Bull. Raikkonen, Bottas, Sainz, Hulkenberg, Alonso, Vettel, Grosjean. Magnussen, Wehrlein and Gutierrez pitted for inters immediately. Ricciardo made that move a lap later along with Massa, Kvyat and Button.
In those two laps, four separate cars looked to have made unsafe releases.
Wehrlein ran off the track, his inters not capable of handling the puddles. This brought out the VSC on lap 7. Hamilton bailed at the end of lap 7, Rosberg and Verstappen following for inters. Perez also pitted, managing to jump Ricciardo thanks to the slower racing speed. The VSC was gone after almost a lap.
Ericsson reported mechanical issues and was told to pull his new chassis back into the pits.
Bottas spun into the penultimate corner, dropping to 13th just ahead of Button.
Vettel was the first driver to take slicks, taking mediums on lap 15. On track, Verstappen managed to clear Rosberg around the outside of Becketts. Raikkonen pitted a lap later for the same tyres, followed by Massa, Bottas, Grosjean, Palmer, Kvyat and a Sauber as the fastest laps tumbled. However, Palmer had no right rear tyre attached when he was released which meant he needed wheeling back to the box to have it fitted before he could go any further.
Hamilton and Ricciardo were the first of their respective teams to pit, although Rosberg pitted with a few seconds' gap to his teammate. Verstappen took the lead.
Vettel spun his Ferrari out of turn 2 after setting a fastest lap, Verstappen pitting at the end of that lap. He rejoined further ahead of Rosberg but no closer to Hamilton.
Grosjean parked an ailing Haas after his worst ever qualifying in Silverstone.
Palmer received a 10 second stop/go penalty for the unsafe release where he forgot his wheel.
Perez' temporary 4th place was lost as Ricciardo nailed him down the Hangar Straight.
Alonso had a huge spin, bouncing off the wall at turn 1 and continuing with the race, though Bottas briefly passed him before sliding wide and almost losing out to Nasr. Another spin put Sainz down from 6th to 8th as he forgot about the puddles.
Nasr did make the move on Bottas, around the outside of Stowe for 14th. The position later went back to the Williams
The first actual retiree at the first corner was Haryanto, sliding into the wall sideways.
Vettel finally made it into the points on lap 28, scything past Kvyat's Toro Rosso.
Perez was the next driver to spin at Abbey, damaging his tyres and losing speed and time against Raikkonen behind.
Vettel passed Massa but slid wide and forced the Williams into the runoff as well. Vettel kept the position so the stewards had a look at it, giving the Ferrari driver a 5 second time penalty. Massa then pitted for softs with 14 laps to go.
Palmer's afternoon went from bad to worse as Renault retired the car.
Alonso took more mediums for the final 12 laps.
Rosberg dropped back after starting to reel Hamilton in, reporting gearbox problems which the team were able to help him with – though Red Bull promptly reported them to the stewards. Verstappen, also losing pace, was looking a lot closer to Verstappen. Behind them Perez eventually lost his battle with Raikkonen.
Hamilton won a surprisingly easy race from Rosberg, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Perez, Hulkenberg, Sainz, Vettel and Kvyat. Massa then led Button, Alonso, Bottas, Nasr and Gutierrez. Magnussen retired on the last lap, presumably to get a free gearbox for Hungary as with his teammate. Both Manors, Grosjean and Ericsson also retired.
Rosberg's investigation thus began – the crux of the question being whether there was a safety issue that Mercedes' radio call avoided. We had no answer about any penalty by the time of publication.