The British Grand Prix certainly had tongues wagging all weekend long. A new Sprint race preceded by qualifying which was moved to Friday. F1 immediately got way out ahead of the narrative saying it was a resounding success based on “social media” response but perhaps I follow different folks as I saw more questions and contemplative consideration than I did wild praise. Regardless, some folks enjoyed the actual qualifying on Friday with only one practice session and felt it made more of an event out of Friday that just trundling around for practices. Yeah, that’s what qualifying is versus practice.
If that wasn’t enough, Saturday’s events saw a sort of reset for the grid based on the overall pace of the cars regardless of who may have got it wrong during qualifying. Sure, a car out of position during qualifying can happen but the Sprint allowed those cars to rise back toward the sharp end of the grid. Lewis Hamilton’s hard work on Friday was unraveled on Saturday by the Sprint Race and that’s a shame but he did show us that Mercedes had straight-line speed to be a match for Red Bull and what the Sprint race showed us was that in order to make that work, Lewis had to get the lead at the start. That, my friends, led us into the other main tongue-wagging topic of the weekend…the Hamilton and Verstappen clash.
The race was won by Lewis Hamilton, his 8th British GP win, followed by a terrific drive from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Lewis’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas, in third.
A big win for Ferrari who are in a private fight with McLaren in the Constructor’s championship. The team have struggled with heat windows for their tires and in the hot weather of Silverstone, this may have played in to their hands. Charles tried his hardest to hold of a recovering Hamilton but just didn’t have the pace. Even his teammate, Carlos Sainz, had a good race recovering from a difficult starting position.
A win for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton who needed to turn his championship fight around. Mercedes worked hard to cure their deficit to Red Bull and even if track specific, they did manage to field a car that was there or thereabouts. With Max Verstappen out of the way, the team managed to whittle the championship lead down to just 8 points in the driver’s championship.
A win for Lando Norris and McLaren who finished in 4th, just ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo, for a terrific points haul against their main rival, Ferrari. Lando came in this race weekend having been the victim of a mugging earlier in the week and it was good to see him out that behind him to put in a terrific drive while his boss was at home convalescing with COVID.
Also a win for Alpine with Fernando Alonso in 7th and Esteban Ocon in 9th. Both in the points and a feisty drive from Alonso. Perhaps Ocon’s new chassis is helping? Also a win for Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll who, unlike his veteran teammate, kept his nose clean, didn’t spin and ran all the way up to 8th.
A fail for Red Bull who looked set for a good battle after Friday’s qualifying and it was helped by Max’s Sprint race win but the Sprint race also saw their other driver, Sergio Perez, go to the back of the grid and that, ultimately, would hurt the team during the race.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was involved in a clash with Lewis Hamilton on the first lap going in to Copse. Opinions are split but the team are very upset with Lewis Hamilton as is Max himself via Twitter. This did serious damage to their title fight and hopefully, after a 51g impact, it hasn’t done any damage to Max himself because that would be a disaster for their 2021 campaign.
A fail for Sebastian Vettel who looked competitive all weekend but a spin on the race restart left him at the back, out of the points and eventually retired from the race.
A fail for Pierre Gasly who was beaten by his teammate, rookie Yuki Tsunoda, and finished out of the points. Also difficult was Mick Schumacher how as also beaten by his teammate, Nikita Mazepin.
The clash! So who’s fault was it? Just two aggressive drivers unyielding? Lewis punting Max? Max being too aggressive?
I do find the British press interesting when just a few days ago they were saying that making high-risk moves often ends in tears when discussing Lando Norris and Sergio Perez at Austria. That narrative seems to have gone with regards to diving inside on Copse and missing the apex.
They made much about Lewis passing Leclerc in the same manner but I watched both of those back again…Lewis hit the inside apex and took a different line than when he tried with Max. Ignore where Charles went way out wide, just look at Lewis’s line through Copse versus the line on lap one.
Some fans were outraged that there was even a penalty and say drivers should be allowed to race but I reckon the penalty given to George Russell just 24 hours earlier for a similar incident with Sainz was always going to be equaled during the race. Penalize actions, not outcomes.
Here is what the Stewards said:
“The stewards reviewed video and telemetry evidence,” the stewards said. “Cars 33 [Verstappen] and 44 [Hamilton] entered Turn 9 with Car 33 in the lead and Car 44 slightly behind and on the inside.
“Car 44 was on a line that did not reach the apex of the corner, with room available to the inside.
“When Car 33 turned into the corner, Car 44 did not avoid contact and the left front of Car 44 contacted the right rear of Car 33. Car 44 is judged predominantly at fault.”
On the other side, Max turned in knowing Lewis was there and upon review, Lewis was not ahead of him but Max did leave room, you can see his steering action from his onboard camera. Did he leave enough or was his line compromised enough that he should have yielded more space? Lewis said Max is too aggressive and always has been.
One might argue that with a 30+ point lead, Max should look at the big picture and not risk a DNF. Better to cede the position and finish 2nd than to not finish at all. For a racer, that’s much easier said than done but still, it is a long-game view that drivers do need to consider.
I was watching the Friday broadcast and when George made it to Q3, the crowd went crazy. When the Sky crew were in commentary, Simon nearly injured himself trying to downplay the crowd enthusiasm for George or Lando and said on two occasions, when it was mentioned, that Lewis can really get a crowd behind him. Go back and watch, it was awkward.
Sky also keeps mentioning that these two are youngsters who will be stars of the future but I have news for Sky, they are here! Now! Why so doggedly entrenched and unwilling to consider that the younger F1 fans in the UK may be cheering for Lando or George more than they are Lewis?
I have to admit, this weekend’s broadcast was so far up Lewis’s backside, he could taste them. I think Lewis is awesome but I’m not inclined to need Sky Sports to ram that message down my throat to the point of fanboy lunacy. Lewis is fantastic! I get it and I have all the respect for him but when you try too hard to big something up, it loses its shine and becomes a turnoff. Sorry Sky, but I have more respect for Lewis than to think he needs a marketing and branding machine in the form of a global broadcaster.
Also, could someone help me understand Nico Rosberg’s job or does he have several? I have no idea what was going on with his 5 minute infomercial. I may have missed the plot about what he was doing at home with his garden and eating fake hamburgers and Sky’s carbon footprint thing.
Pirelli Key Moments:
- Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was the winner, with two tyre changes, of a dramatic British Grand Prix that was paused by a red flag shortly after the start following contact between Hamilton and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen. Hamilton started on P Zero Yellow medium C2, changed to another set of mediums during the red flag period after lap two, and then finished the race on the P Zero White hard C1. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who finished second, led until the final laps before being overhauled by Hamilton who was fighting back from a 10-second penalty.
- The same basic strategy was used by all the drivers apart from AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly (who made an extra stop following a puncture) and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.
- Under the red flag rules, teams are allowed to change tyres and repair damage. In total, 13 drivers changed tyres (including Hamilton): but they just swapped the mediums they had originally started the race on for a fresh set of the same compound.
- The sprint qualifying format for the British Grand Prix meant that drivers had a free choice of tyres for the start. They all chose to start on the medium C2 tyre, with Perez – who started from the pit lane – being the only car to start on the hard C1.
- Temperatures remain high throughout the race, with 32 degrees centigrade ambient and 49 degrees on track. Despite these challenging conditions, the tyres performed well.
British GP Results:
|Pos||Name||Car||Laps||Laps Led||Total Time||Fastest Lap||Pitstops||Pts|
|6||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Ferrari||52||0||+43.454s||1m31.223s||2||8|
|8||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin-Mercedes||52||0||+1m14.289s||1m31.992s||2||4|
|12||George Russell||Williams-Mercedes||51||0||+1 lap||1m32.049s||2||0|
|13||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||51||0||+1 lap||1m32.346s||2||0|
|14||Nicholas Latifi||Williams-Mercedes||51||0||+1 lap||1m32.477s||2||0|
|15||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||51||0||+1 lap||1m31.895s||2||0|
|16||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull-Honda||51||0||+1 lap||1m28.617s||4||0|
|17||Nikita Mazepin||Haas-Ferrari||51||0||+1 lap||1m32.909s||2||0|
|18||Mick Schumacher||Haas-Ferrari||51||0||+1 lap||1m32.862s||2||0|
|Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin-Mercedes||40||0||DNF||1m33.059s||3||0|
|Max Verstappen||Red Bull-Honda||0||0||DNF||0s||0||3|