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British GP paper review: Silverstone thriller shot in the arm for F1

Action-packed race - with a home winner, of course - was just what the sport needed, according to Monday's newspapers

A record crowd of around 140,000 spectators were present for the British GP - and according to Monday’s newspapers at least, the action-packed race served up was a much-needed shot in the arm for F1.

'A sport that has recently been addled by criticism picked up its bed and walked, Lazarus-like,' wrote Jonathan McEvoy in the Daily Mail. 'Rain, safety cars, strategy calls, daring racing, crashes, surprise leaders - all contributed to the fun on the flat-as-a-pancake airfield in Northamptonshire'.

Most of all for the fans, it served up a home winner. Yet Sunday's race wasn't a breeze for Lewis Hamilton and so there was praise too for the manner of the world champion's victory, particularly his inspired decision to pit for wet-weather tyres just as Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg was poised to strike.              

'The one area where Rosberg is meant to hold the advantage is in brain power,' the Mail added. 'The joke is that he can translate the Koran into Japanese while cornering at 180mph. But Hamilton was the clever Dick on Sunday.'

The Daily Telegraph’s Daniel Johnson agreed. 'The sport's problems have not disappeared, but races like this do wonders when it comes to lightening the mood,' he wrote. 'From the start, this was the compelling drama Formula 1 had been crying out for. While Mercedes of Hamilton and Rosberg spluttered off the line, the Williams were like missiles. Felipe Massa, lining up third, carved his way through, flying into the lead.'

The Brazilian went on to lead for the first 19 laps and one question raised afterwards was whether Massa or Williams team-mate Valtteri Bottas - who followed him in the opening laps and could perhaps have overtaken but for an instruction not to - might have posed a stronger challenge.

Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas got ahead of the Mercedes cars in the opening laps
Image: Massa and Bottas led the early stages for Williams

'Nothing could have been more popular than Lewis Hamilton’s third victory at Silverstone,' wrote David Tremayne in The Independent, 'but a lot of fans would have gone home happy if Sir Frank Williams' team had beaten the Mercedes duo.'

More from British Gp 2015

As it turned out, the Williams pair faded just as Hamilton made the decision which won him the race. But if there was disappointment for them, then over at McLaren the needle remains stuck on the record. Disappointment, if not necessarily surprise, greeted Jenson Button’s early exit and although Fernando Alonso claimed his first point of the season, it came more through attrition than anything else.

Success seems a long way off and yet McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said at the weekend that they "need to start winning now". Writing in The Guardian, Giles Richards pointed out the financial imperative.

‘It is a need beyond simple prestige and perhaps becoming urgent. They have had no title sponsor since the deal with Vodafone ended in 2013 and face a salary bill for Button and Alonso understood to amount to about £33m.

‘As one of the long-term members of the sport they benefit from its arcane financial payout system but McLaren could still face a loss of revenue of about £30m from most probably finishing in ninth place, their lowest position for 35 years.’

Jenson Button of Great Britain and McLaren Honda climbs out of his car after retiring in the British Grand Prix
Image: Button's 16th British GP latest all of three corners

But let's return to the winner and leave the last word to The Times' Kevin Eason, who witnessed his reaction. 'Hamilton said he wanted to party, but the emotional turbulence of 91 pulsating minutes in the cockpit of his Mercedes in front of the tens of thousands of expectant spectators seemed to be draining the desire out of him,' he wrote. 'He was not given to bursting into tears, he said, but this time he was finding it hard to dam the flood.

‘[Hamilton's] Mum stayed quiet in the upstairs suite of the imposing Mercedes motorhome last night, content to slip her champagne, but perhaps only she will see deep into the heart of a young man on the threshold of sporting greatness.’

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.

Image: Hamilton laps up the acclaim as the crowd invade the pitstraight

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