On a dry day, Williams might just have won

2015 British Grand Prix lap charts

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[interactivecharts]The rain which arrived in the second half of the British Grand Prix means there is no real chance Williams could ever have won this race. When the track got wet Nico Rosberg was able to pick them off with ease – like its predecessor, the FW37 is not a chassis which likes a wet surface.

As long as it stayed dry, the Williams pair looked capable of keeping Mercedes behind them. Having been overtaken by Valtteri Bottas at the restart, Lewis Hamilton was unable to re-pass. As ever the Williams was quick in a straight line, and Bottas had the advantage of being able to use DRS as he was close to Felipe Massa.

Hamilton’s lap 19 pit stop was quick enough for him to leapfrog both the Williams cars. On the previous lap the trio had been covered by 1.29 seconds.

No doubt a focus of the post-race debrief at Williams will be asking whether they would have been better off had Bottas got ahead of Massa in the first stint and pulled away, potentially leaving Hamilton only able to pick off one of their cars at the first pit stop. In this scenario, assuming no one would have made a further pit stop, Williams might have got Bottas home first.

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This makes a few assumptions, however. For example, had Bottas overtaken Massa and pulled away, would Hamilton then have been able to overtake Massa, who would no longer have the benefit of DRS?

It also seems likely Mercedes would have tried to attack Williams by switching one of their drivers back onto the faster medium compound tyre later in the race. This seems to have been the plan with Rosberg, who after his first pit stop was told he was switching to Plan B’ in an attempt to pass the two Williams drivers.

This is all rendered moot by the fact that the rain did eventually arrive. However it does raise the question of whether Williams got the most out of their strategy, and whether their early instruction to Bottas not to overtake Massa was wise.

Massa was of the opinion that Bottas was not quicker than him during the opening phase of the race, and that his team mate only put him under pressure because he was within DRS range. However Bottas had slipped out of DRS range at one point and then closed back in, suggesting he was genuinely quicker than Massa at that point.

2015 British Grand Prix lap chart

The positions of each driver on every lap. Use the controls below to show/hide different drivers:


Lewis Hamilton12233333333333333331421111111111111111111111211111111
Nico Rosberg24444444444444444444244444444444444444433222122222222
Felipe Massa31111111111111111112132222222222222222222333344444444
Valtteri Bottas43322222222222222223313333333333333333344444455555555
Kimi Raikkonen56666666666665109999765555555555555555558899988888888
Sebastian Vettel688899999888886101010108766666666666666666655555533333333
Daniil Kvyat777777777777777666510977777777777777777766666666666666
Carlos Sainz Jnr8111010101010101010101110131313111111111110101099999999
Nico Hulkenberg955555555555565555651088888888888888888877777777777777
Daniel Ricciardo10131211111111111111111013121212131312121315
Sergio Perez11109988888999998777765111111101010101010101099999999988899999999
Max Verstappen13141313
Marcus Ericsson1512111212121212121212121110988889899911111111111111111010101010101010101011111111111111111111
Fernando Alonso1791616141413131313131312111111121214131212121212121212121212121111111111111111111110101010101010101010
Will Stevens1915141413131414141414141414141414141314141313131313131313131313121212121212121212121312121313131313
Roberto Merhi2016151515151515151515151515151515151515151414141414141414141414131313131313131313131213131212121212

2015 British Grand Prix race chart

The gaps between each driver on every lap. Use the controls below to show/hide different drivers:


Lewis Hamilton3.041.3220.9171.6531.8552.1051.621.2381.3971.0421.0891.5011.2361.3311.391.181.0131.294018.23616.977000000000000000000000011.61900000000
Nico Rosberg5.1583.0521.0532.2872.883.2142.7672.2642.2682.1281.8912.1912.1232.1932.1312.2251.8421.8832.191.05220.5734.6725.2645.485.896.0936.0996.4197.0317.3247.658.07410.6729.5638.5189.56311.28510.6568.6947.7155.7463.7454.42309.1318.9399.67810.22310.74611.31911.76110.956
Felipe Massa0000000000000000000.212019.9123.3993.5614.0734.2634.3854.2664.5965.0835.385.7166.0996.3445.946.1367.3338.6686.7815.4027.3387.7199.11513.50516.27827.96529.11530.32631.39332.17533.62735.27936.839
Valtteri Bottas4.4992.1420.7110.7780.9021.0380.7050.4840.7480.5320.670.680.6230.5910.6970.4870.6020.6050.8521.92304.2124.4864.9265.1985.5525.4175.8576.4036.6087.0577.4458.1357.9847.8439.07610.69.9469.70411.59410.70112.4118.59524.63343.46147.20651.00453.66255.89959.07762.1463.194
Kimi Raikkonen6.9484.7181.8074.275.8547.0647.247.7889.1569.46110.05410.6810.01429.37729.03328.42827.99927.91128.30729.16629.61714.04615.31316.57217.26518.09618.26118.98519.91220.25820.60221.19629.72225.83521.14922.36127.99128.30645.07650.09756.66664.25675.10175.0978.83786.7791.754115.077114.737115.026115.785
Sebastian Vettel8.8156.6692.6886.3447.8239.1779.92210.4710.88611.06911.52512.12913.06712.38131.75530.66729.62229.03829.63130.54731.00515.54916.82317.99718.9520.06220.40221.0721.95722.55223.1123.89833.77129.01524.10324.8530.35128.71123.54721.42919.21720.34721.68534.79624.39925.47826.68626.98426.91826.69926.31625.443
Daniil Kvyat7.9036.0912.2675.1156.7097.8758.3368.5749.72810.19410.74411.44912.19412.65113.36414.07614.60413.21931.84633.05733.09617.09818.10419.60220.61921.51322.45722.95123.78124.57925.61626.41737.15633.05125.9926.97432.70530.29824.9822.41619.83721.72234.39451.19765.11365.65865.28365.73165.96166.1366.16663.955
Carlos Sainz Jnr11.3078.5773.4516.8838.65110.31211.03912.21613.78314.89115.86715.30436.85837.44938.52739.60439.23238.85338.80339.78940.45725.78927.53129.1230.6832.03333.49135.0436.99638.94341.205
Nico Hulkenberg5.9563.6721.4253.7715.1566.136.5467.2718.3198.669.24110.01910.86611.67512.64913.29913.74814.21413.30733.61934.51919.44321.04722.74924.37325.85526.73727.67629.07730.16331.74632.91745.81941.08333.25633.81340.7739.85833.94531.40827.66329.09138.10658.61774.25176.38377.66178.39778.60679.12279.33478.744
Daniel Ricciardo13.40910.613.6987.3999.46811.24911.97712.77514.37515.49215.17735.57936.42836.89738.08542.96550.79356.32661.60366.87109.788
Sergio Perez10.3777.5963.1395.8567.4348.6619.3359.92512.13513.03513.72614.50615.24116.15117.00817.67418.24918.66219.47420.23241.10326.5428.41830.5431.64833.24234.21435.92238.10939.51941.91544.92264.68658.61450.55851.78861.88362.14157.62156.78555.63357.48969.47198.707114.105116.145118.255123.214125.942128.519130.03
Max Verstappen13.92611.1034.605
Marcus Ericsson12.4389.9364.3427.87410.30112.19513.29414.91216.70417.84119.24220.57421.68122.94224.3925.39826.54427.4430.06632.77136.18422.6725.03548.4749.43850.74451.50352.74454.52356.09157.07358.27780.56177.48966.66768.44687.757111.817113.744122.267129.168157.708194.73194.193184.311187.383191.119193.459195.256196.888197.72
Fernando Alonso9.05241.0566.19310.03513.81816.54418.48620.53623.03725.01927.21929.58832.13634.67337.59541.32142.09862.53363.55365.97967.49753.41356.30759.06261.23363.40965.19266.93569.05770.58472.70675.604101.86297.580.36781.85893.748116.423116.632125.193132.206144.098161.456163.111158.37165.427170.907177.809183.199188.266193.484
Will Stevens17.16112.1954.9599.49613.34718.00521.36924.81128.57432.27936.25240.26843.93647.65651.75655.558.9762.2266.86672.03476.15164.50869.8275.66480.75785.36889.84994.352100.459108.109113.106125.569157.739143.098129.431142.172197.843204.128213.153228.737244.28269.595297.089305.877335.546380.212387.894397.863405.121
Roberto Merhi18.38814.185.87611.14415.71420.33424.15328.22732.46536.71241.0147.27251.44855.72159.6763.85468.29872.04976.24981.52686.12175.31181.15986.90192.40297.382107.324112.734120.802127.804134.736154.005185.104165.668152.729168.926207.016211.134218.074230.593245.12269.224301.029306.544320.341324.204328.772335.597342.664

2015 British Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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44 comments on “On a dry day, Williams might just have won”

  1. It pains me to criticise a team for their Corinthian spirit but Williams should have sent Bottas off in front as the hare and had Massa back Hamilton into Rosberg. Could have won today.

    1. You did see what happened to their chassis in the rain, did you not? They were not running competitive times with the Mercs in the wet. Even if Bottas had been let by (which is ridiculous to suggest, because it’s entirely possible Massa was simply running a pace to conserve the tires/fuel, still keeping his teammate behind) and assuming he could have pulled a gap (big assumption) there is no way with the conditions as they turned out to be the Williams could have held it.

      1. I agree , and I’d go a step further and say even if it was dry the whole race , Lewis and Nico would have turned up the wick and ate the FW’s down the back chute and cruised to the 1/2 that happened anyway

    2. Could have won today.

      I think that is the frustrating part. It was obvious that both Rosberg and Hamilton would get passed both Williams cars unless Williams played their cards correctly. Williams didn’t, and it doesn’t really matter why, only that they didn’t, so consequently they weren’t in contention for first and second place.
      It’s almost like Massa thought “I’d rather have a third than a second”.

  2. Graham (@guitargraham)
    5th July 2015, 19:53

    tell me about it…sigh

  3. I think the greatest mistake Williams made was to not pit Massa on the same lap as Hamilton. One lap more on the hard tyre at the end of the stint wouldn’t have made that much difference. Even if Bottas and Rosberg had leapfrogged Massa while he held up Hamilton, Williams would have had a win with Bottas.

    1. Must Massa was in front of Ham, probably wasn’t easy for Williams to react.

      1. But the message for Hamilton to pit was heard on the correct lap and well before the stop. Williams would have been able to hear that and react.

        1. Mr win or lose
          5th July 2015, 20:48

          Actually it was funny that Mercedes was doing a ‘dummy’ in order to make Williams pit, which was not a bad strategy. Williams should have pitted Massa as soon as possible (without getting in too much traffic) to remove the danger of the undercut. Probably it was quite smart to let Bottas defend the Mercedes’. Bottas’ potential pace in the first stint was quite amazing: he was faster than Massa in the fast corners, despite the turbulence. Sadly, even with DRS it was not enough to overtake, but he was clearly faster. Later in the race that advantage evaporated.

        2. @david-a

          Exactly. When I heard that message I was thinking: come on Williams, pit Massa.
          But no, just like Austria 2014 they let Mercedes steal there thunder and we end up with someone who wins without overtaking a single car.

          1. I think he might have been the only guy not to overtake anyone whole race among all drivers who finished the race.

          2. When you’re up front and leading, you only have to overtake backmarkers…and Lewis did plenty of that kind of overtaking, so…….another victory from pole. Well earned.

          3. you can overtake only so many people. but when you are up front, you cant overtake air, it will be one step ahead all the time…

  4. Aside from all the talks about the Williams strategy and their team orders, I was disappointed not to see them at least pick a podium in the end. They were really fast today, most importantly faster than Ferrari; yet, one Ferrari picked up the last podium step.

    1. Well we can say the same about Ferrari in the last 2 races! And yet it was Williams at the podium… Sometimes F1 it’s also a little bit of luck.

      1. Yes you are right, but Williams needed the momentum to carry on with the fight with Ferrari. But the sad thing is that with 2 cars leading the race, and with no errors like Ferrari’s pit errors, it is disappointing seeing Williams out of the podium places at the end of the race.

  5. Mustavo Gaia
    5th July 2015, 20:10

    No, they wouldn’t.
    the merks have never shown their real hand before the first stops.
    from previous races we’ve learned that not real attempt is made on the track before the first stops.
    at least one merk would be chasing a williams after that.
    i do not believe the merks were showing their real pace when behind the williams.

    1. Agree :)

    2. pastaman (@)
      6th July 2015, 1:42

      Yep, the Mercs would have overtaken on the in-laps or out-laps

  6. Even half month ago, few expected Williams would repeat Austrian GP 2014. Amazing!

  7. Just wishful thinking without real support on facts. Bottas was complaining and made people belive that he was faster but he was unable to prove it. Even when Williams let them race and he had the advantage of DRS he was unable to pass. Williams pit strategy was conservative and wrong and they paid a high price for it.

    1. it was 10 laps from the time they allowed to race and bottas still couldnt make it.
      Should he is really faster than his teammate he couldve make that easily

  8. After Massa pitted, Bottas did 40.2 in sector 2 on his in-lap. Best ever for Massa was 40.7 at that point. So Bottas had speed in reserve even without DRS compared to Massa at that stage which wasn’t really surprising if you saw the Bottas in-car when he was following Massa.

    1. Bottas is really good at using the last bit in the tyres in in-lap. He has a great feeling about tyres, which is really useful.

    2. It was an in-lap.

  9. They would have 4 options:
    A. Racing each other
    B. Hold own positions
    C. Ask Massa to move over
    D. Ask Bottas to slow down to block Mercs in order to open a 4s gap

    My thoughts:
    C and D have very low risk and high revenue
    C and D need an inter-team agreement before the race
    C and D are always against Williams racing philosophy
    B has very low risk and medium revenue (pulling away from Ferrari more quickly).
    A has high risk and medium or low revenue.

    1. D would mean Bottas would have to defend without the help of DRS. Might have worked though as Rosberg didn’t pass him until the rain started. The Williams is really fast on straights.

    2. This foolish gentlemanly racing philosophy. The only reason the Merc drivers are so ‘high-heatedly’ allowed to compete is because nobody is threatening their 1-2 championship finish and having a safe pre-set finish order would kill F1. Williams don’t have that obligation! In fact I feel they have the sporting obligation to try whatever it takes to take away the win from Mercedes. For Rosberg and Hamilton, the championship points are more important than to finish higher in general. This race was Williams’ chance to use the Merc rivalry against them by cooperation – make it a 2v1v1 race – and they just weren’t ready for it. I’m just infuriated at their failure. It took a couple of laps for them to ‘figure it out’ and come up the worst possible answer, for their resultss and for F1 excitement in general, exactly because they ‘let them race’. Not even getting 3rd place… it serves them right!

  10. I don’t get the point of this title. I can understand talking about hypothetical situations like ‘what if Williams released Bottas…’ and such like, but to say ‘on a dry day…’ ? Hamilton took the lead and built a gap when it was dry.

    Plus, we know Merc have pace in the pocket for when the pit stops are coming. As Pat Symonds pointed out.

    1. Agreed! I’ve been saying that but people keep saying that they might have won. How? Mercs were definitely faster.

  11. I was sad Massa couldn’t get the last podium. theynwere let down by strategy today.

  12. Might just have… but I hardly believe it! That’s because I don’t think Mercedes showed the real pace, then Massa was 1st for some good laps… so basically that was his best shot as he was in clean air… but he didn’t manage to build a gap to Mercedes. Hamilton managed to undercut the Williams’ before the rain and built a gap too, so this is the proof that at least HAM was faster than Williams. But, even if Massa would have remained in front after the 1st pit-stop, there’re really big chances HAM would have passed him (and/or Bottas) in wet conditions. So, in my opinion, no matter what would have happened today with Massa and Bottas, I hardly believe they would have managed to keep behind HAM.

  13. Bottas was a little faster than Felipe, but with the positions inverted Massa wouldn’t have had DRS and both would have been vulnerable. Overall, Massa was the better driver but Williams’ decisions again were too cautious and came as late responses to Mercedes. Of course in such a situation why risk, when even 3rd and 4th would have been a great result considering the strength of the Silver Arrows. Nonetheless, though probably Hamilton could’ve still made his overtake with the overcut instead of the undercut, Williams should have acted like they were on track: first. They led the race, and if we know how the driver ahead always gets the call to pit before his team mate, surely Williams could have forced Mercedes to react to their wills instead of imposing their law.

  14. Notice that Hamilton first took the lead when he came into the pits (due to the pit entry being shorter than the track, Hamilton actually crossed the start/finish line before Massa despite being behind him) – so it seems as though drivers should come into the pits on the last lap as they reach the finish line more quickly!

    1. Does crossing the line in the pits actually count as finishing?
      If it is, that would be an amazingly clever stunt to pull off! If anyone knows, it’s got to be Vettel.

      1. Yes. Remember when Schumacher had to serve a penalty and did so on the last lap to avoid being overtaken?

  15. I was wondering.
    Bottas being inside DRS of the slower Massa kept the Mercs from passing.
    If Bottas was past and broke the DRS of Massa then Mercs could pass Massa then close and pass Bottas with DRS.

    I am working with 1st/2nd car air disruption affects 3rd car badly guess.

  16. All this is great with the benefit of hind sight.
    When Lewis pitted, most commentators thought it was too early, it all came down to luck.
    I think they were better off making the calls about the two racing or not at the right time, it could have been too costly otherwise, and why didn’t Bottas back up the Mercs, as a team player? What would have been the outcome if he had helped Massa gain a few more seconds? I though it was a team sport.
    One Ferrari proved to have made the right gamble while the others gamble didn’t pay off.
    WILLIAMS, you are upfront fighting the Mercs and Ferrari, one immediate improvement you should also concentrate on is your pit stops. As far as I can recall, consistently you are much slower than your rivals.
    Hamilton 2.4 sec, Massa 3.8, this alone is enough to loose a podium or more, you were very lucky to stay ahead of Rosberg.

    1. i thought they lost out with Massa because of their crappy pit stop, Hams was 2.4sec Massa was 3.5 or something like that, it was painfully slow i know that.
      still the Williams gave us something different to ponder over while they where leading.
      was Kvyat holding up the Ferraris? i so we might have even had a better race with more cars in the mix,
      like Williams we will never know, there are too many if’s involved.
      but thanks anyway Williams was very enjoyable watching you hold the Merc’s up while it lasted.

  17. Williams should not rest on the laurels just yet (if there was any from the race). Ferrari’s preferred tires were the mediums. They were slower (on absolute pace) than Red Bulls on the hard tires during practice.

    For all the part where they ran the mediums, they were behind FI or RB (Hulk and Perez/Kvyat). On the hard tires too, they were in the game after a few laps in it.

    I would attribute the qualifying to the poor form of the drivers more than Williams making a jump on Ferrari.

    Hungary will be difficult for Williams but Spa will be interesting. Hopefully the ‘super engine’ of Ferrari for Monza restores some advantage for them.

  18. No, they would have not! They had the car(s) to do it but not the courage to call the strategy.
    The got doubled undercut! Unbelievably stupid of them!

    They should have pitted one of their cars early, and Ferrari gave them the opportunity when they pitted their cars early; they should have pitted once car just after Ferrari did!

    They were always bad on strategies; ever since i watch F1 in the early 90s.

  19. If the rain did not fall Williams could not win that race don,t you people understand how Merc controlling f1

  20. Williams strategy was totally immature. They were leading with 2 cars against a mighty opponent and of course they could only come out on top by using a strategy just as agressive as their race starts. But very frustrating – if You are not a Merc fan – Williams was only reactive and totally left initiative to Mercedes.
    I’m sure the outcome would have been a Hamilton win, but at least a decent try to put Merc under pressure by pitting at least one of the Williams early and “sacrificing” the other to delay the leading Merc, would have been most intertaining and would have done Williams great honour.
    As it unfolded Williams looked like an inexperienced team, suddenly leading a race with twp cars, and the overall impression of an exciting race was that somehow Williams underperformed.

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