Verstappen
Credit: Mercedes / LAT Images.

Mercedes’ streak was broken by a superb all-round performance from Red Bull and Max Verstappen, which overshadowed strong results from drivers down the grid.

Here we look at the winners of a race opened up by strategy battles, while if you want to catch up on the race then our report is here.

You can also see our coverage for qualifyingFP1FP2 and FP3 and we’ll be back this weekend to cover the Spanish Grand Prix.

Winner: Red Bull

Embed from Getty Images

Probably the perfect Sunday for Red Bull, as Verstappen took a deserved win as the strongest car, and Albon made his way up to fifth after qualifying ninth and dropping to the back of the race after an early pitstop.

It was a masterstroke to start Verstappen – it begged the question of why other teams didn’t try it – and once the lights went out he was able to execute the strategy to perfection while the pit crew held their end of the deal too.

Despite Mercedes ultimately being the fastest car they were unable to unleash their full pace for most of the race as it would’ve shredded the tyres while Red Bull were able to run faster, stronger for longer.

It feels somewhat of a surprise now that Verstappen was only fourth in qualifying given how fast he looked on Sunday.

And perhaps the best news for the team is they can hope for similar conditions of hot temperatures at tracks with heavy tyre loads at several more races this season, with the Circuit de Catalunya next week.

Also a great race Albon – it’s been a tough few weeks after the promise of the Red Bull Ring with the Hungary weekend not going to plan and then being outperformed by Pierre Gasly last week.

He came back really strongly with some brilliant overtakes, most notably on Kimi Raikkonen and only missed out on fourth to Charles Leclerc being on the optimal strategy.

A real statement of fortitude from Albon.

Loser: Sebastian Vettel

Embed from Getty Images

He got a bye last week due to Leclerc’s brilliant podium but failed to take advantage of that, so is included this time.

Leclerc put in another strong drive yesterday, making the one-stop work and again showing himself as leading the midfield.

All of which stands in stark contrast to Vettel, who struggled with car setup all weekend, finished out of the points and nearly cause a mass pile-up at the start.

Coming out of the first corner he struggled to put the power down and nearly collected Carlos Sainz, Esteban Ocon and Daniil Kvyat as squirmed left, then spun out the right in a classic tank slapper.

He doesn’t seem to be at all at home in the car especially at high-speed tracks and it’s difficult to see how this issue will be resolved.

Winner: Nico Hulkenberg

A tough week off-track for Racing Point who won’t have made any friends with their management of the Sergio Perez situation and then were told their brake ducts are illegal as the FIA upheld Renault’s protest from the Styrian Grand Prix.

On the whole, the €400,000 fine and 15 constructor’s points deduction won’t trouble them too much (they scored 14 points this weekend) but four rival teams intend to appeal the punishment, as do Racing Point, and it feels like this story has much longer to run.

But they needn’t have worried on-track as Hulkenberg qualified a brilliant third and was running in the top five for most of the race.

The strange decision to pit him near the end of the race cost him two places but it was still a great weekend from the Hulk who will have done his driver market stock no harm at all after he looked to be out of the sport following last season.

We don’t know whether Perez will take the start at Barcelona but his replacement is already looking all at home in the car and it’d be unwise to bet against another strong weekend from Hulkenberg next week.

Loser: Daniel Ricciardo

Hulkenberg’s teammate last season had a much less successful Sunday, despite optimism from running in practice and qualifying.

Ricciardo felt there was more to come from the car after clocking third in FP2 and  was satisfied with fifth in qualifying but ended up outside the points on Sunday with a strange strategy to boot.

After looking to attack the German on the opening lap he ended up losing a place to Lance Stroll through the loop and quickly fell away from the top five battle.

He then struggled on his second set of mediums before spinning on lap 31 as he defended from Carlos Sainz, and fourteenth having made three pitstops.

A weekend with plenty of positives but a Sunday to forget for the Australian.

Loser: Kevin Magnussen

Embed from Getty Images

Out-qualified by Romain Grosjean, the only driver to retire and still earned himself two penalty points on his racing licence for a very aggressive move into Nicolas Latifi.

The Dane ran wide of his own accord under attack from Latifi at Stowe, and then rejoined into the Williams on the run to Vale, with both drivers lucky not to sustain heavy damage.

Eventually Magnussen retired with the team worried about a vibration issue, and with nothing to lose, while Grosjean couldn’t capitalise on his gird position of 13th but nonetheless a better weekend for the Frenchman.

Winner: Kimi Raikkonen

It’s been a tough year so far for the 2007 champion but he did well to make the one-stop strategy work in his best race of the season.

It’s a shame he put his best performance in a race where none of the top runners had serious issues so 15th was the best the Finn could manage but to finish top of the ‘Class C’ battle, from last on the grid, is no mean feat.

It’s stark contrast from last week at Silverstone where he was the only driver to be lapped and was overtaken by both Williams.

Loser: Mercedes

The historic feat of winning every race is gone, and Mercedes just didn’t have the car for the conditions this weekend. Those conditions could be repeated later this season which ust worry the team.

Hamilton seemed philosophical after the race, realising second with fastest lap was the most he could’ve garner from the race although it would’ve been fun for Mercedes to roll the dice and try and send him to the end on medium tyres.

His radio message that Red Bull could be running illegally low tyre pressures was poor.

However, for Bottas it will have been a desperately disappointing result after starting from pole.

He ends up dropping four points to Hamilton and falls behind Verstappen in the championship and it looked as if he didn’t receive the optimal strategy compared to his teammate.

He was confirmed as a 2021 Mercedes driver on Thursday though, so the weekend wasn’t a total loss.

Winner: Esteban Ocon

Embed from Getty Images

A second consecutive good weekend for Ocon, after Ricciardo’s spin he managed to work the one-stop strategy and finish ahead of midfield rivals McLaren.

After a three-place grid penalty dropped him to 14th he fought back to seventh to bring home four points for the team.

Cyril Abiteboul praised his driver for making the strategy work, and we’re seeing more of the driver who outperformed Sergio Perez in the Force India/Racing Point in 2018.

Ocon needs to get on top of the Renault before Fernando Alonso joins next year or he’ll be left in the dust but these last two Silverstone weekends have shown he’s on the right path.

Winner: Daniil Kvyat

A very impressive drive to finish in the points after his very heavy shunt at Becketts last week.

It looked like it could be a tough race after he didn’t make it out of Q1, and he was very nearly hit by Vettel at turn one but he ended up flying the flag for AlphaTauri to bring home a point in tenth.

The team’s only finished out of the points once this season which feels like outperforming the car’s ultimate pace, and though Pierre Gasly looked strong early on it was Kvyat who was able to be the breadwinner this week.

Loser: McLaren

After looking so strong at the Red Bull Ring, McLaren have yet to return to those heights and never looked like fighting towards the top of the midfield on Sunday.

For the second week running Sainz lost time to a wheel-related problem but this time it was a dysfunctional pitstop that cost him and he trailed home 13th, the same position as last week.

Meanwhile, Lando Norris had a good FP3 but wasn’t able to build on it, qualifying tenth (Sainz didn’t reach Q2) and not able to make much impression on the race.

McLaren will hope they can rebuild some momentum as Ferrari and Renault are coming on strong and they’re in danger of sliding down the constructors’ championship.

Leave a Reply