Sunday’s British Grand Prix threw up plenty of talking points with a dramatic end preceding a relatively boring race.
Here we look at the winners and losers of the first race of the Silverstone double header, while if you want to catch up on the race then our report is here.
Winner – Lewis Hamilton
It looked to be another strong yet unchallenged victory for Hamilton, but the final lap’s put this race into folklore. He literally crossed the line with three wheels, just let that sink in.
It was a fully deserved win, although he didn’t make the best start he led into the first corner and managed two safety car restarts while Bottas was never in a position to challenge.
And although he had a massive gap on Verstappen as the tyre went, I’m not sure how many drivers on the grid could’ve pulled off that win.
He hadn’t topped a session chart all weekend up to the start of Q3, but in trademark style pulled out his best when it really mattered, securing his 91st pole position in F1 by three tenths over Bottas, and over a second ahead of Max Verstappen.
All in all, a weekend that will go down both in legend and the record books for Lewis Hamilton.
Loser – Racing Point
Tipped to perform strongly at Silverstone, Racing Point. On the back foot from before the weekend started with Sergio Perez’s positive test for coronavirus putting him out of action for the race (and next race, most likely).
Nico Hulkenberg stepped in and looked to be near the pace of Lance Stroll, but an engine failure prevented the German taking his 13th place on the grid.
It didn’t go much better for Stroll as he ran off the back of the midfield battle all race, and then faded at the end on the hard tyres. He was given a reprieve through the punctures late on, but was rightly disappointed with his ninth place, and the team will need to work their problems if they’re to challenge the top five next week.
Winner – Charles Leclerc
With all the drama at the end it was easy to miss that Leclerc was to be elevated to the podium, but that was just deserts for the Monegasque driver who raced well all weekend.
In F1 your first job is beating your teammate and the Monegasque had better pace than Sebastian Vettel all weekend, but most obviously in the race when he ran clear of McLaren and Renault throughout while Vettel struggled against the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly.
After looking to have passed Verstappen on the run to turn three, only for the Dutchman to take the place back through the chicane, Leclerc had a quiet rest of the race but ran comfortably ahead of the rest of the midfield and nailed both safety car restarts.
Leclerc’s had some good fortune as his best races have been where the frontrunners have had difficulty, but you make your own luck and after a tough weekend in Hungary this was the perfect way to bounce back.
Loser – Valtteri Bottas
It looks as if, barring a huge chunk of bad luck coming Lewis’ way, the championship’s over for another season – much to Hamilton’s disappointment along with the rest of the F1 fanbase.
Bottas didn’t look too bad in race trim but as we now know he was pushing harder than his teammate which led to his tyre failure, but after optimism from Q1 and Q2 he was well beaten to pole and didn’t make the most of his run up the inside at turn one.
However, what will sting most is that he picked up no points due to his puncture while Hamilton took the full complement; the Brit now essentially has a free retirement in future.
He does have it in him to win races, and he’ll likely pick up more wins this season, but despite the optimism of the Austrian Grand Prix he doesn’t look to be a serious title challenger.
Winner – End Racism
Finally. F1 devoted some specific time towards fighting racism in all forms, with the drivers lining up at the front of the grid, some taking the knee, and a video with them all giving anti-racism messages.
It’s a shame it’s taken this long and some drivers still aren’t taking the knee but it’s definitely a positive step.
It now needs to be the start of meaningful change in the sport, not the end of their work on it.
Loser – Alex Albon
Like Racing Point, it was a tough weekend from start to finish for Alex Albon. He crashed in FP2 and then missed most of FP3 with an electrical issue, so was short of runtime and confidence even before qualifying.
For the second week in a row. This result won’t sink his Red Bull career, but there’s a worry that after a strong start at the team we’re seeing the all-too-familiar loss of confidence that Pierre Gasly have also experienced.
He needs to turn this slump around but if he can have a strong second weekend at Silverstone it’ll do his reputation a lot of good.
Winner – Pierre Gasly
The Frenchman’s had a strong start to the season with two seventh places and made it through to Q3 in Hungary before his engine effectively packed up for the weekend. However, he had no such trouble at Silverstone and was running a tidy race even before – the one on Stroll being the pick of the bunch, and finished ahead of Alex Albon in the AlphaTauri.
Also a word for Daniil Kvyat – he made a storming start from nineteenth on the grid to twelfth and was running behind Gasly at the time of his crash.
But at least the team have acknowledged the crash was likely caused by a puncture rather than driver error, which they pointed to immediately afterwards.
— Formula 1 (@F1) August 4, 2020
Winner – Renault
A superb result for the French manufacturer, taking twenty points to close the gap to Ferrari and Racing Point, while also showing all weekend that they had the pace to run with the top midfield runners.
Daniel Ricciardo’s battle with the McLarens was a fun watch all the way through, and he even thought he could’ve had a podium had the race been a couple of laps longer.
Esteban Ocon was equally strong and equalled his best result since Mexico 2017 and given his tough start to the season, it was brilliant to see him doing well.