The calmness of Sebastian Vettel

Such is the regularity of so-called Radio Vettel - somewhere on the same literal frequency as Radio Grosjean -, his fairly physical tussle with Max Verstappen during the British Grand Prix led to one renowned commentator to state on Twitter 'Seb complaining in 3... 2... 1...'

Except he didn't. Nor did he complain when he suffered a puncture on the penultimate lap. We were all waiting for a barrage of expletives, drama and general explosiveness coming from the Ferrari cockpit as his 20 point advantage shrunk to just 1 point over Lewis Hamilton, yet it never came.

In fact, Seb was smiling, he was positive about his Ferrari - despite it being arguably its least convincing weekend of the season - and steered the conversation away from Pirelli in a manner unexpected after what happened in Spa 2015.

We're suspicious. Maybe he needs a blue flag waved in front of him...

Jesting aside, Vettel's calm demeanour is probably not a coincidence. The FIA may be willing to forgive and forget (again) his Baku indiscretion, but the episode has reportedly not gone down well with Sergio Marchionne according to the Italian media.

So while Vettel appears to have 'gotten away lightly' in the eyes of the public, behind closed doors it could come at a high price. So it is interesting then that, after weeks of Kimi Raikkonen being identified as the 'key' to the driver market, it appears Vettel instead could be the man to kick-start the flurry of announcements.

Could he leave Ferrari? Could Ferrari force him out? Probably no to either, but Vettel could be heading into negotiations with less leverage than he may have had a month ago, hence the delays.

Rumour has it Ferrari is pushing hard for Daniel Ricciardo to join in 2019, so could Vettel have lost his valuable right to veto any incoming team-mate...? Alternatively, could Vettel limit the deal to a single year on the premise Lewis Hamilton could hypothetically leave Mercedes (for Ferrari?) in 2019? The 2018 driver market may be fairly open, but it will set the blueprint for 2019 and 2020 too.

Time will tell, but Vettel's small fuse was lit more than once in Silverstone, yet he didn't ignite... and we're not convinced he is simply a changed man.

Hamilton heals home scars with fifth win

Lewis Hamilton went from pantomime villain to home hero in the space of just a few days, with his no-show at F1's live event in London being largely forgotten come the chequered flag on Sunday.

Hamilton's absence from the demonstration was, while perfectly permitted, unfortunate given he was the only current driver not to appear, particularly as the host nation's most successful and visible driver.

But after his actions on Sunday, crowd-surfing on the main straight in celebration of another race win, it is impossible to say that Hamilton doesn't care about his fans. He does. Deeply. They are the real driving force behind his success, as he spoke warmly about after the race.

"The energy that I get from the fans, there is no other driver that gets this kind of energy anywhere," Hamilton said. "I really do think it boosts you, it lifts you up. There's no avoiding it. Literally from the start of the race, before I even got in the car I could see the crowd, and every time I turned to see them, they were there with me.

"There wasn't one lap I didn't see them standing up and cheering. I just feel that's like, they're egging me on. You don't see that anywhere else in the world. I think that's also a real big part of it."

Say what you want about his London no-show, but Hamilton made up for it in the most fantastic way over the weekend.

Can F1 really survive without Silverstone?

This is a big question that was asked time and time again over the weekend after the BRDC announced a few days prior that it would be triggering a break clause in the British Grand Prix's contract after 2019.

Silverstone once again played host to a bumper crowd that is the envy of the entire calendar, yet it is still likely to make a loss, such is the nature of its current contract. The game of hard ball between the track and F1's bosses, Liberty Media, is set to rage on for some time.

The truth of the matter is that nothing will be able to replicate what Silverstone currently offers. Sure, the prospect of a London Grand Prix is a highly exciting and would be remarkable if it were to be pulled off properly - but the hundreds of thousands of fans would not be there. The atmosphere would be totally different.

Silverstone has and always will be the spiritual home of F1 in the UK. It would be a sorry, sorry shame to lose it, as the very character of the British Grand Prix would change. Let's hope a happy solution can be found for all parties.

Another race, another wild driver rumour

Silly season has been particularly silly so far this year, especially when it has come to Jolyon Palmer's future in F1 with Renault.

Palmer's rotten run continued at Silverstone on Sunday when he suffered a pre-race problem that meant he could not even start his home race. With team-mate Nico Hulkenberg charging to a sixth-place finish, it was a difficult break for the Briton as the pace was there in the Renault R.S.17.

Palmer has been subject to a great deal of speculation, particularly in recent weeks following Robert Kubica's private tests, but a new report in the German press over the Silverstone suggested Carlos Sainz Jr. could be in line to replace him for Hungary.

The report was rebuffed by both Renault and Red Bull, the latter insisting that Sainz remains under contract for 2018 despite the Spaniard's own claim that a fourth year with Toro Rosso was unlikely.

A mid-season swap does seem particularly unlikely, even if Pierre Gasly is ready and waiting to make the step up to F1 and take a seat with Toro Rosso, but the bigger story here comes with the price tag now put on Sainz after Christian Horner admitted Red Bull would listen to "significant" offers.

Sainz may not be in a Renault come Hungary, but for 2018? It wouldn't be a total surprise.

 

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