Silverstone lifts Formula One gloom, if only for a day

Mon Jul 6, 2015 11:31am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One has many problems, but Sunday's British Grand Prix, a thrilling race won by tearful home hero Lewis Hamilton in front of a record 140,000 strong crowd, was not one of them.

"Crisis called off?" asked Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff, relieved not to be facing questions about domination, falling viewing figures and a lack of competition after his team took their sixth one-two finish in nine races.

The Austrian knows the answer is no.

But with the sport divided about its future direction and a yawning gap between wealthy big teams and small ones struggling for survival, it was, for one afternoon at least, a good news story.

Mercedes still won, but it was no foregone conclusion as Williams took the fight to the champions and tricky conditions rewarded those who called it right on tyre choices and strategy.

There were collisions, there was close racing and Hamilton came roaring back from a poor start to become only the third British driver to win three times at home -- and set a record for 18 successive races led.

"Sometimes these things just happen at the right moment and there was such a great crowd and a race with all the ingredients necessary for excitement," said Wolff.

"We still need to ask how we can make it better so that we can convince the critics that this is a great sport."   Continued...

Formula One - F1 - British Grand Prix 2015 - Silverstone, England - 5/7/15
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates his win on the podium. Reuters / Paul Childs