The Formula 1 British Grand Prix Races Into Social Media
I have been into Formula 1 and motor racing in general since an early age, thanks to my dad and my older brother who would take me to the Monza racetrack near Milan pretty much every other weekend. So I decided to look at yesterday’s Formula 1 #BritishGP and Lewis Hamilton’s mighty win through the lens of social data.
As expected, the British crowd has been amazing and very vocal, on the grand stands and on social media, with nearly 400,000 posts throughout the race weekend (the #BritishGP hashtag generated more than 280,000 mentions alone). Conversation from the UK accounted for 30% of all online discussions, with another 22% coming from the rest of Europe, a surprising 15% from North America (looking forward to the race in Austin in October) and 13% from Asia.
Hamilton hit a grand slam at Silverstone’s glorious racetrack this weekend, winning the pole position, having fastest lap of the race and obviously the race’s victory as well. And if we look at social media conversations, #LH44 dominated there as well with the highest number of mentions over the weekend (112,557 as of Sunday evening) as well as highest number of positive comments (37,582). It is truly fascinating to see how the share of voice of all the drivers’ related conversations reflects perfectly with the race’s podium, with Hamilton, Rosberg and Vettel taking the top spots in terms of social media mentions.
How did Lewis’s fellow Brits fare? Not so well during the race. Jenson Button was taken out by a collision with his own teammate on the first lap, and Will Stevens crashed in the insidious weather conditions towards the end of the race, to finish last behind teammate Roberto Merhi.
Interestingly, if we look at the drivers’ Social Reputation Score (SRS) – a measure of online appreciation based on sentiment distribution and influence of the commentators – a few drivers took a bit of light away from Lewis’s triumphant ride thanks to their brave driving over the race weekend:
- Dany Kvyat (SRS = 72 out of a score of 100) who outpaced and outscored his more experienced teammate Daniel Ricciardo
- Nico Hulkenberg (70) on a revived Force India (based just outside Silverstone’s gates) with a very effective new aero package
- Carlos Sainz Jr (70) on a Toro Rosso that in free practice and qualifying outshined RedBull
- Hamilton was tied with Sergio Perez (also on Force India) and UK’s Will Stevens (on the slightly more competitive Manor Marussia), all with a score of 67 out of 100.
Looking at the conversations surrounding the 10 teams on the grid – most of which have their F1 facilities in the vicinity of Silverstone, Mercedes took the lead here too, followed by Ferrari and local darlings McLaren (although not necessarily for the great performance) and Williams.
But the most interesting part of the conversation is the minute by minute evolution during the race, with peaks matching the most exciting moments of a rather exciting race, from the amazing start of the Williams duo to the crucial overtaking by Lewis during the first pit stop and the nail-biting last third of the race under changing weather conditions.
- The lights go out! Both Williams leapfrog Rosberg and Hamilton’s Mercedes with a cracking start. An accident into turn 3 takes Button and both Lotuses out of the race. Safety Car deployed.
- Hamilton comes close to colliding with Massa as he attempts to overtake as the race restarts. Bottas takes advantage of the situation to claim 2nd place.
- Hamilton stops for his pit stop and, thanks to a fantastic 2.4-second tire change and a fast out-lap, he makes the undercut on Massa and Bottas work and takes the lead.
- The conversation about impending rain intensifies over the teams’ radios.
- The first drivers pit for intermediate tires, which will end up being a bit premature, but was probably a gamble worth taking.
- Hamilton and Vettel in the pits for intermediate tires at lap 44 (coincidentally Hamilton’s car number), which turned out to be the optimal point of the race to do so, which helped secure Hamilton’s victory and a 3rd place to Vettel that seemed out of reach only one lap earlier.
- It’s the final lap and the crowd can cheer with Lewis Hamilton, 3rd time winner at Silverstone!
In the end, the result of the race was “same old, same old,” but in Silverstone we got there through lots of emotions, and to me this has been the best race of the season so far.
Did you enjoy the race as much as I did? What were you posting about during the race?