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On the surface it was a Lewis Hamilton show in front of his home crowd, equalling Jim Clark in winning four consecutive British Grands Prix. From a dominant pole, it was a measured performance, keeping Kimi Räikkönen’s Ferrari just far enough off his back and then letting rip when he needed the gaps at the strategic times. A silver blur, a crowd-surfing hero. But the carnage in his wake, as the Ferraris burst their tyres in the closing stages, told of what was behind that performance.
There were concerns coming to Silverstone about the durability of the front-left Pirelli. The cars are five seconds faster than last year. Through Copse they are pulling 5.2g compared to 4.7 in 2016. Through the bumpy Chapel corner they were seeing speeds of 291km/h (less than 280 last year). “These cars are just monstrous around here. They’re like the ultimate rollercoaster ride,” Hamilton had said with a gleam in his eye after qualifying. Drivers were getting out buzzing with the sheer thrill of expressing their cars’ performance through the fast corners. Not only fast, but long-duration too. Around this clockwise circuit that meant there was a potential wear limit on the left-front.