BOOM! SMELL THE BURNING RUBBER
2nd AUGUST 2020: THE BRITISH GRAND PRIX: SILVERSTONE
- 1. Lewis Hamilton
- 2. Max Verstappen
- 3. Charles Leclerc
- 4. Daniel Ricciardo
- 5. Lando Norris
- 6. Esteban Ocon
- 7. Pierre Gasly
- 8. Alexander Albon
- 9. Lance Stroll
- 10. Sebastian Vettel
“You could see the tyre was off the rim…I was just praying to get it home. Thank God we did, and maybe we should have stopped… I nearly didn’t get round the last two corners.” (Hamilton)
Lewis Hamilton had started in pole, held off Bottas on the starting line and seemed to be performing a straight-forward cruise to victory.
That was until he suffered a puncture halfway through the final lap….
In a testament to Hamilton’s skilful driving, he not only managed to keep going – he also successfully fought off a challenging Verstappen, to claim the win by just 5 seconds.
Hamilton wasn’t the only driver to suffer a puncture today. Teammate Bottas’ puncture came just before the start of the final lap, leaving him to limp around the whole circuit losing power. He subsequently dropped from 2nd to 11th place and then 30 points behind Hamilton in the championship. A devastating blow for the Finn. Carlos Sainz Jr also suffered a puncture on the final lap – dropping him from 4th to 13th place.
The punctures brought with them some much-needed drama, in an otherwise uneventful race.
Had Max Verstappen foreseen the punctures, he would probably not have stopped late on for fresh tyres – and would have almost certainly won. But hindsight is a wonderful thing. In the event Verstappen got his fresh tyres and achieved the fastest lap. And then took 2nd.
So what happened to Mercedes? Both Hamilton and Bottas had stopped for fresh tyres on Lap 13 – from medium to hard. This one-stop strategy left them with a long stretch to the finish and early on they had managed their pace to preserve the tyres – but by the end it wasn’t enough.
With Bottas out of way Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc took the final podium: “it was a very tricky race – we got the best result that we possibly could today. The car is not running to its potential, but we are happy with this podium.”
Ricciardo drove an excellent race to take 4th, his best finish so far for Renault.
The safety car had come out on the first lap, after Albon and Magnussen collided – putting the latter out of the race and earning the former a 5-second penalty. The question of whether he was at fault and deserved the penalty Albon said was “50-50”. He eventually finished in 8th.
In a stark reminder of the times that we are living in; before the race Sergio Perez tested positive for COVID-19 and so was forced to miss out and begin self-isolating. He was replaced for Racing Point by Nico Hulkenberg, who then failed to start the race due to a power unit issue.
This was Hamilton’s 7th British Grand Prix win and a new driver record for Silverstone. It was also his 87th career win – he is now just 4 wins behind Michael Schumacher’s record 91.
Back to Silverstone next weekend! This time to commemorate the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.
Who can stop Lewis Hamilton?