In terms of the championship, the British GP was looking like being a case of damage limitation for Ferrari as Lewis Hamilton shot off into the lead whilst Sebastian Vettel dropped behind Max Verstappen at the start and couldn’t get past.
Kimi was having probably his best drive of the season though, and despite coming under pressure from a charging Valtteri Bottas towards the end it looked as though he was probably going to get rewarded for a strong drive with second place. Vettel was looking set for fourth after a lonely and somewhat under-par performance.
However with three laps to go Kimi slowed – his front left tyre cried enough after suffering the punishment of Silverstone’s high-speed layout. A pit stop to repair the tyre dropped him behind Bottas and his teammate, and he was fortunate not to lose further positions as Verstappen had also pitted for tyres, Red Bull fearful of getting a puncture itself.
What sucked for Kimi looked like good news for Vettel, though. He’d been a bit off form all weekend and had his race further compromised when he lost out to a feisty Max Verstappen at the start. His car actually kept going for once too, which meant Vettel had to wait until the pitstops to get ahead, despite his best efforts at getting ahead on track.
With Kimi’s issue being promoted to third and losing just 10 points to Lewis would have been a reasonable result for Vettel in what was otherwise a weekend to forget.
But just one lap after Kimi had a tyre failure, Vettel had one too. This was somewhat less surprising – he was the earliest of the front runners to stop for the soft compound tyres and he punished them pretty heavily, locking up a couple of times as he attempted to fend off Bottas.
To make matters worse his tyre failure happened earlier in the lap than Kimi’s did, and the flailing rubber meant he had to take it a bit easier on the way back to the pits, costing him whole heap of time and dropping him from the top three way down into seventh.
Now instead of losing 10 or 13 points to Hamilton he’d lost 19, slashing his championship lead down to just a single point at the halfway stage of the season.
Silverstone is a track that often pushes tyres to their limits. After all, who can forget the massive blowouts of 2013? But even so, for Ferrari be the ones to suffer the most from issues comes as something of a surprise, as tyre usage has been one of the cars strengths all season long.
Was it down to setup issues, driving style, or just plain bad luck? We don’t know yet, and likely wont for a while, but after the race Vettel said that there was no warning that the tyre was about to fail and that he didn’t think anyone was to blame.
Still, Ferrari had to have a ‘mare of a race at some point, didn’t it?