A crowd of 140,000 attended Sunday’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone – round nine of the 2015 FIA F1 World Championship – to witness a thrilling race that was won by reigning world champion and home favourite Lewis Hamilton.
A proactive approach from track bosses ahead of the meeting ensured attendance levels were at a new record high for the event, with many visitors hoping that Hamilton would be able to claim his third Silverstone victory.
The crowds were not to be disappointed, as Hamilton qualified his Brackley-based Mercedes AMG Petronas on pole position for the big race, and despite a slow start to proceedings on Sunday for the two-time world champion, he was able to find his way to the front as the race progressed.
Hamilton then used a rain storm that swept across the track to his advantage against the fast-starting Williams cars of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, and his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Having chosen the optimum moment to come into the pits and fit intermediate tyres to his car, Hamilton further increased his lead over his rivals before taking victory by over 10 seconds.
Rosberg finished the race in second to maintain his challenge to Hamilton on the Drivers’ Standings, with Sebastian Vettel claiming a final podium finish for Ferrari.
As Hamilton celebrated his victory on the podium, thousands of spectators were allowed to flood onto the Silverstone track to celebrate the 30-year-old’s third British Grand Prix triumph at the Home of British Motor Racing.
He said: “This is one of the best days of my career. To win this famous gold trophy for the third time is an amazing feeling. I would like to thank everyone who came to support me. This win will help catapult me towards the world title.”
The race marked the seventh one-two finish for Mercedes this season, with Rosberg adding afterwards: “Silverstone is an amazing track, one of the very best.
“It is a classic circuit and I think every Grand Prix driver enjoys racing here. I am sorry I could not win, but I can see how happy all the British supporters are. This has been a good weekend for F1.”
The British GP injected some much-needed impetus into the F1 World Championship. Recently, critics have been calling for significant changes to the sport, but Silverstone’s gripping encounter once again showed that F1 could deliver entertaining racing of the highest quality.
Marc Gene, Ferrari test and reserve driver who was attending the Grand Prix on behalf of the team and Italian television, said: “Silverstone did an amazing job running this race. The atmosphere was great and the crowd levels superb throughout. I think that this was the best race of 2015 so far.
“I know from people that everyone at the track has been working so hard on this event and I believe there efforts have paid off. Well done to them.”
The Silverstone crowds were treated to a full weekend of entertainment. Aside from F1, a full support package of races took place as well as numerous concerts.
Crowds were also treated to see air displays by The Red Arrows and the Royal Air Force Typhoon, the latter appearing in the sky over the circuit just prior to the start of thrace.
The next F1 race takes place in Hungary on July 26.