Bottas had started in pole, with Hamilton behind him
9TH AUGUST 2020: 70TH ANNIVERSARY GRAND PRIX: SILVERSTONE
- 1. Max Verstappen
- 2. Lewis Hamilton
- 3. Valtteri Bottas
- 4. Charles Leclerc
- 5. Alexander Albon
- 6. Lance Stroll
- 7. Nico Hulkenberg
- 8. Esteban Ocon
- 9. Lando Norris
- 10. Daniil Kvyat
Last week I asked the question: who can stop Lewis Hamilton? Today I received the answer: Max Verstappen. At least temporarily…
“I didn’t see that coming.” (Max Verstappen)
The 70th anniversary of the first race at Silverstone did not disappoint; it provided more excitement than last week’s slow starter here, but unfortunately for Mercedes it brought similar issues.
Today Verstappen’s Red Bull car was simply faster than Mercedes. Bottas had started in pole, with Hamilton behind him on the grid in 2nd and Hulkenberg in 3rd.
Verstappen started in 4th on hard tyres and this evidently suited the warm conditions more than Mercedes medium tyres. Not to take anything away from Verstappen, who drove an incredible race to interrupt Mercedes domination of the season so far.
Bottas kept ahead of teammate Hamilton at the start, while Verstappen passed Hulkenberg and began to follow the Mercedes cars comfortably. After just 10 laps Verstappen had caught up with Hamilton.
Lap 13 and 14 saw Hamilton and Bottas stop for hard tyres, while Verstappen extended his lead. But the new tyres were not the solution Mercedes had hoped for and they continued to struggle with tyre blistering.
When Verstappen pitted on Lap 26 for mediums, he re-joined just behind Bottas – who he promptly passed. After 6 laps Verstappen pitted again – this time for hard tyres.
Bottas chose to pit next, while Hamilton skilfully managed his badly-blistered tyres for another 9 laps and limited the gap between himself and the two leaders to just 10 seconds. Following Hamilton’s final pit for fresh tyres on Lap 41, he passed Leclerc and then, with 2 laps to go, Bottas. He also achieved the fastest lap on Lap 43 with a time of 1:28.451.
“I was managing the tyres like you couldn’t believe.. in the middle stint, one half was bald and the other half was ok. I was afraid it was going to explode.” (Lewis Hamilton)
Hamilton is now ahead of Bottas by 34 points in the championship, with Verstappen now behind him in 2nd place - ahead of the Finn by just 4 points.
Leclerc started in 8th and in a difficult car drove an impressive race to finish 4th -on a one-stop strategy. But it wasn’t a good day for Ferrari teammate Vettel and he could only finish in 12th.
Red Bull continued their success today with Albon showcasing some bold overtaking moves to take 5th.
Unfortunately, Ricciardo could not capitalise on his success last week. He had started in 5th following a strong qualifying performance – but a battle with Carlos Sainz and the subsequent spin may have cost him dearly and he finished 14th.
So, for the second week in a row Mercedes have struggled with their tyres. Can the team remedy these issues before they become a real problem?
“Red Bull’s strategy was far better, and we have to look at this. There was a chance to keep up with Max, but as soon as I pushed the tyres fell apart.” (Valtteri Bottas)
Next report will be from Spain. Good luck everyone!