Storms sweep through the 2008 British Grand Prix


Click for a hi-res gallery from the 2008 British GP

Storms swept through Silverstone this year for the British Grand Prix. First came the announcement of David Coulthard's retirement from Formula 1, which was followed by the announcement that, starting in 2010, the race would leave its historic home at Silverstone and move to Donington Park.

The decision by Formula One Management and the FIA followed years of calls for the ageing Silverstone track -- owned and operated by the British Drivers Racing Club -- to renovate and get itself up to the modern standards set by F1's newer tracks. However, after failing to secure government funding or sufficient private investment, the decision was made to move the event to Donington. So as the storms set in to close two major chapters of British motor racing history, the rain poured down on the penultimate running of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Follow the jump to read how it turned out.

View 7 Photos

[Images: Getty/AFP]

Storms must have been raging in the hearts of British racing fans as well as they saw their homegrown hero David Coulthard - the most successful driver in British racing history - run his last laps at his home race, only to retire from the grand prix disappointingly early as his Renault-powered Red Bull racer skidded into the Toro Rosso of Sebastian Vettel, the very rookie driver tipped to be assuming the Scotsman's seat next year, taking both out of the race on the first lap.

The Red Bull pilots were far from the only drivers to spin out on the wet track, as BMW Sauber's championship contender Robert Kubica also retired early, along with both the Force India cars of Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil, Nelson Piquet Jr.'s Renault and Jenson Button's Honda.

The British fans could not have been sentimental for too long, however, as their favorite son Lewis Hamilton commanded an astonishingly dominant victory in his front-running homegrown McLaren before the local crowd. When Lewis finally crossed the finish line, he was more than a minute ahead of second place finisher Nick Heidfeld in the second BMW Sauber. Honda's Rubens Barrichello took an elated third place to round out the podium, occupied by three drivers who managed to lap the entire rest of the field before the checkered flag was waved.

It was indeed a spectacular weekend for McLaren, after Heikki Kovalainen took his first pole on Saturday. The position quickly slipped away from him, however, on the first rain-soaked lap as his team-mate slipped in behind him off the grid and made short order of passing him en route to widening the gap as the rest of the field jockeyed for position. Towards the end of the race, Kovalainen battled valiantly with Fernando Alonso in the ultimately less competitive Renault and with Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari to come in fifth behind the defending title-holder and ahead of the two-time world champion.

Fourth ultimately proved to be an admirable finish for Raikkonen, who suffered from poor strategy and battled his way up the grid for precious points in the title fight, setting the fastest lap once again along the way. His team-mate Felipe Massa, however, fared much worse as he struggled to control the car on the wet tarmac without traction control, reverting to his unfortunate start of the season after spinning out several times along the race distance - but managing to keep it going - to finish dead last in thirteenth place.

The results of the stormy race leaves Hamilton, Raikkonen and Massa in a dead heat for the drivers' championship with 48 points each, ranked officially in that order by virtue of races won so far. With both Ferraris in that mix, the Scuderia holds a commanding lead in the constructors' championship with 96 points, ahead of BMW Sauber with 82 and McLaren-Mercedes trailing with 72.

Scroll down to view the full race results, check out the gallery for images from the race, and tune in again on July 20th for the German Grand Prix from Hockenheim.

View 7 Photos

2008 British Grand Prix

1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
2. Heidfeld BMW Sauber
3. Barrichello Honda
4. Raikkonen Ferrari
5. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes
6. Alonso Renault
7. Trulli Toyota
8. Nakajima Williams-Toyota
9. Rosberg Williams-Toyota
10. Webber Red Bull-Renault
11. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari
12. Glock Toyota
13. Massa Ferrari

Fastest lap:
Raikkonen, 1:32.150

Not classified/retirements:
Kubica BMW Sauber (B) 40
Button Honda (B) 39
Piquet Renault (B) 36
Fisichella Force India-Ferrari (B) 17
Sutil Force India-Ferrari (B) 11
Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1
Coulthard Red Bull-Renault (B) 1

World Championship standings
(after 9 rounds)

1. Hamilton 48
2. Raikkonen 48
3. Massa 48
4. Kubica 46
5. Heidfeld 36
6. Kovalainen 24
7. Trulli 20
8. Webber 18
9. Alonso 13
10. Barrichello 11
11. Rosberg 8
12. Nakajima 8
13. Coulthard 6
14. Vettel 5
15. Glock 5
16. Button 3
17. Piquet 2
18. Bourdais 2

1. Ferrari 96
2. BMW Sauber 82
3. McLaren-Mercedes 72
4. Toyota 25
5. Red Bull-Renault 24
6. Williams-Toyota 16
7. Renault 15
8. Honda 14
9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 7

Share This Photo X