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Martin Brundle: F1 finally finds its silver lining at the British GP

Sky Sports F1's Martin Brundle on strategy calls, McLaren's woes and F1 finally turning a corner at Silverstone

Lewis Hamilton talks through his pole position lap with  Martin Brundle

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel absolutely aced their pit-stop calls at Silverstone to change onto intermediate tyres.

It was a little easier for Vettel because he was several seconds further away from the pit entry as the forecast rain became ever more imminent. But as Kimi Raikkonen had demonstrated with his curiously very early change, there's no point thrashing rain tyres through fundamentally dry 150mph corners. They are simply not designed to handle that.

Like many, including Nico Rosberg who was on the same piece of tarmac in the same car, I thought that Hamilton had pitted a touch early and mostly because he was being caught very quickly by his team-mate in damp conditions on slicks, and was about to be passed. It felt along the lines of 'I need to do something'.

As Raikkonen finished tearing the rubber from his intermediate tyres, Hamilton emerged from his stop on fresh inters - into much heavier rain descending just a few seconds later.

Lucky? Maybe it's no coincidence that the two drivers who have won six of the last seven F1 world championships got it just right on lap 43 of a great race.

Williams had a bittersweet weekend. Having locked out the second row, and demoted arch rivals Ferrari in the process, they then left the grid like bank robbers to lead the mighty Mercs. Once in front, they could at least contain the Silver Arrows until it rained.

Martin Brundle talks to Fernando Alonso

But the Brackley bruisers were playing with the Grove gentlemen (and women), even faking an early pit-stop it seems. Williams didn't quite have the confidence to force the race by releasing Valtteri Bottas and driving the strategy and pit-stop undercut. They were worried about pitting too early and creating a long final stint but rain was forecast. And then they had to pit both cars together for inters, a little too late, at which point even the podium slipped away.

More from British Gp 2015

Remember all those barren years for Williams when we winced and politely looked the other way while yearning for the glory years? Well, McLaren are playing that role now. Even the basics are falling apart. One of Jenson Button's wheels was put on Fernando Alonso's car generating an official reprimand. They managed to collect each other in the melee at the start, and the subsequent nose change for Alonso took an age although it didn't matter with the Safety Car. Even the livery looked a mess at the weekend. I have no doubt the team will bounce back, but as I said back in March, later than sooner it appears.

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McLaren CEO Ron Dennis says the team are battling through the pain in their search for a competitive car alongside engine supplier Honda.

The good news is that Andy Cowell at Mercedes told me that with the 25 'tokens' available to upgrade engines over next winter he could almost start again. And so if Renault and Honda know what to do, they can play catch-up. However, that message also demonstrates that Mercedes won't be standing still.

Formula 1 itself had a great weekend. I suspect we are about to see a battle between key power brokers to demonstrate who's in control of F1's destiny but the press release on Thursday evening outlining intended changes for 2015, 2016 and 2017 read well. As ever, the devil will be in the detail but the basics were: make the cars faster, noisier and more aggressive-looking, improve the grid penalties situation, let the drivers drive with less babysitting over the radio and consider a format change for the race weekend, especially Saturday.

I think the current qualifying format works well, the best ever for teams, fans and TV alike. There's a thought of moving qualifying earlier on Saturday to set the grid for a sprint race later in the day. The result of the sprint race would then set the grid for Sunday's main event. This would also have the effect of energising Friday as the only track set-up time.

And how about allowing third cars or even the top-six GP2 cars (they'd have enough fuel capacity) into the sprint race for a full grid?

The big teams will fight against this, they don't like any surprises to their perfectly simulated, predicted, and data-driven lives. And herein lies the problem. Before any changes can be made, we must create a fully empowered, small and independent group of people to drive the new rules. And given the current power brokers, all with hugely different needs and resources, there's not much chance of that.

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Lewis Hamilton guides you around the Silverstone track after claiming pole position for the British GP.

Like a great F1 car, F1 itself needs some constant fine-tuning and a great balance. Not redesigning every race on a whim.

The problem is that every change in F1 costs big money and there's always several knock-on effects and unintended consequences. There was nothing in the new proposals which saved money and that's ominous for a few teams.

Silverstone 2015 was a turning point for F1; the bottom of the curve for the naysayers and doom-mongers. Step forward and take a bow the most important element: each and every fan who cheered through the glorious weekend. It reminded even the most committed of us in the paddock just what a responsibility we have to this great sport.


Don't miss the F1 Midweek Report for all the analysis of the British GP. Former FIA president Max Mosley and F1 correspondent for The Times Kevin Eason join Natalie Pinkham in the studio. Catch it at 8:30pm on Wednesday July 8 on Sky Sports F1.

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