A truly memorable weekend came to an end today at Silverstone circuit. It actually got underway as far back as Wednesday, with the announcement that an agreement had been reached with the British Racing Drivers’ Club and Silverstone Circuit to continue hosting this event for the next five years. It ended with a fantastic race, which was won by Lewis Hamilton, who had been the outright favourite going into the event. But the Englishman had to dig deep to get the better of his Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team-mate and worthy opponent Valtteri Bottas. Naturally, the win was hugely popular with the massive crowd, a record 141,000 today, 351,000 over the weekend from Thursday onwards. The Mercedes duo were not alone in putting on a show.
It would be hard to point at the key moment of today’s race: the duel between Hamilton and Bottas right from the start, or between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen, or the fight between the young Ferrari driver and Pierre Gasly? Or what about the robust passing move that Verstappen used to get ahead of Sebastian Vettel and then the mistake from the German? Or maybe it was Hamilton’s final lap, when he just beat his team-team to set the race fastest lap, even though he was running Hard tyres that had already covered 32 laps? Whichever moment impressed most, whether seen at the track or on a screen, this tenth round of the 2019 season will be remembered as a classic.
This was Hamilton’s seventh win of the season, the 80th of his career and, most importantly the sixth in this race, which makes him the outright record holder for British Grand Prix wins. This was win number 96 for Merceds and the seventh one-two of the season, their 51st in total.
The duel beween poleman Bottas and Hamilton had the crowd on its feet in the early stages, but in the end, the decision went down to a bit of luck. The Finn had fought off the advances of the championship leader and then pitted before him, opting for a new set of Medium tyres, aiming for a two stop strategy. Hamilton however decided to go for a long first stint and when the Safety Car was called after Antonio Giovinazzi went off the track, he pitted immediately for a set of Hards, which meant he could go all the way to the chequered flag. Coming out of pit lane, Hamilton just had to control the race from then on, which he did with his usual style. Bottas was always a safe distance behind, never more than 3.1s, up to lap 45, when the Finn had to pit again to comply with the rule of fitting at least two tyre compounds. On used Softs, Bottas tried to at least bring home the point for fastest race lap, but even this was denied him by Hamilton, with a mind-blowing final lap, setting a new track record in 1.27.369.
After taking the chequered flag, waved by the musician Stormzy, one of many celebrities present today at Silverstone – others included the current James Bond actor, Daniel Craig and Millie Bobby Brown, Mel B and basketball player Chris Bosh – Lewis calmly savoured the taste of victory, with a gentle slowing down lap, as he buzzed the grandstands to pay tribute to the home crowd. It was a truly special win for the five times world champion.
Charles Leclerc finished where he started, but his route to the third step of the podium was far from easy. He did a great job of fending off a hard charging Verstappen, but then the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing man overtook the Scuderia Ferrari driver in the pit lane when they both made a tyre stop on lap 13. But Leclerc did not take long to re-pass the Dutchman. When the Safety Car came out, Verstappen was immediately called in for a second second stop to fit Hard tyres and therefore run to the end, while Ferrari first called in Vettel on lap 20 and only brought his team-mate in next time round. It meant Vettel kept his third place but Leclerc found himself behind both Red Bulls, as Gasly had pitted on lap 10 to fit Hards.
On lap 36, the Ferrari man managed to pass Gasly with a lovely move and then made the most of the heavy collision when Vettel ran into the back of Verstappen just after he had been overtaken by him, on the following lap, to go back up to third. From then on, the top five places remained unchanged, with Gasly finishing ahead of his team- mate for the first time this season. However, the winner of the Austrian Grand Prix did still manage to finish the race with a damaged car and in a far from happy mood, although Vettel did the decent thing and immediately apologised once the cars reached parc ferme. It was a really disappointing afternoon for the man who had won this race last year and it is also the first time this season he has finished outside the points.
A strong performance from Carlos Sainz in this exciting Grand Prix saw him finish sixth. Disappointed in yesterday’s qualifying, as he failed to get into Q3, the Spaniard made the most of the Safety Car appearance to close on the drivers from the top three teams, then defending his position tooth and nail from the advances of Daniel Ricciardo. Renault also got Nico Hulkenberg home in the points in 10th place, while between them, Kimi Raikkonen was eighth while Daniil Kvyat did a great job to move up from 17th to ninth at the flag.
After the tenth round of the season, Lewis Hamilton is now running away in the lead of the Drivers’ classification, 39 points ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas (223 ro 184) and Maxi Verstappen in third has extended his lead over Vettel by 13 points. In the Constructors’ table, Mercedes has already gone over the 400 point mark, with 407 to be precise, a huge lead over Ferrari second on 243 points. Red Bull is third on 191. The next round of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, the FORMULA 1 MERCEDES-BENZ GROSSER PREIS VON DEUTSCHLAND 2019, takes place at the Hockenheim circuit on 28 July.
The 7th round of Formula 2 concluded on a high note for the British Grand Prix fans as local hero and Renault F1 3rddriver Jack Aitken charged from P4 on the grid to the lead of today’s Sprint Race. His formidable speed and slick overtaking moves made for a great win on home soil, regaling the numerous fans. Louis Delétraz, who had lunged to P1 from second on the grid at the start, was denied his first F2 win but remained happy with another podium finish in 2019. Championship leader Nyck De Vries salvaged a trying weekend with 3rdplace today and added valuable points to his title race. His closest rival Nicholas Latifi lies 2nd in the Championship standings, 31 points behind the Dutchman. Yesterday’s Feature Race winner Luca Ghiotto was pointless today but remains 3rd. In the Teams’ Championship, DAMS are still leading by 47 points over UNI-Virtuosi whilst ART Grand Prix lie in 3rd with a 51 point deficit to the British team.
FROM THE DRIVERS
has been a familiar face in the winners’ section in 2019, but with seven victories from 10 races, that’s no real surprise. His latest triumph was a smidge fortunate, the Briton capitalising on a Safety Car to nab a free pit stop – but the great champions make their own luck. Disappointed that he missed out on pole to team mate Valtteri Bottas by just 0.006s, Hamilton had the bit between his teeth on Sunday and battled the Finn hard for victory. He was the quicker driver throughout, with his fastest lap on the final tour despite having tyres that were more than 30 laps old is testament to that. It was his sixth British GP triumph, moving him clear of Alain Prost and Jim Clark’s record. He has also tied Prost for the most wins by a driver at his home Grand Prix, while it is his ninth British Grand Prix podium – another record with his name on it. And on top of all of that, he has now scored in 55 out of the last 56 races. What a machine.
This was perhaps one of Valtteri Bottas’ finest performances in terms of racecraft. And up until the Safety Car was called into action, when Antonio Giovinazzi stuck his Alfa Romeo in the gravel, it was set to be one of the Finn’s finest wins, if not his finest. Bottas had absorbed the pressure from Hamilton all weekend, despite it being his team mate’s backyard. He took pole with a brilliant lap and then went wheel-to-wheel with Hamilton. When the Briton got back in front, Bottas bullishly fought his way back into the lead. His boss Toto Wolff said Bottas had driven a “splendid” race and that both of them deserved to win. Unfortunately for Bottas, he was on the losing end this time, taking his third second-place finish at the venue without ever having won. But it was a strong performance nonetheless.
Frankly, this has been a lacklustre season for Pierre Gasly, who was promoted from Toro Rosso to Red Bull for this season. He hasn’t been able to match team mate Max Verstappen in the first nine races, and even finished a lap down in sixth in Austria as the Dutchman won the race. But there was hope at Silverstone as the Frenchman appeared closer all weekend. He topped the first Friday practice, was the fastest Red Bull driver in FP2, and while beaten by Verstappen in qualifying, he was just one grid slot behind this time around. Come race day, he didn’t have the pace to match Verstappen. But after his team mate’s collision with Sebastian Vettel, Gasly’s improved pace meant he was in a position to capitalise, the Frenchman gaining two places to move into fourth, tying his best-ever F1 finish. He has work to do, though, having trailed Verstappen for 98% of the 2019 season until Silverstone.
A first non-top five finish in race 10 of a campaign doesn’t sound too bad. But when you consider that Sebastian Vettel finished down in 16th, the penultimate classified finisher, and that that came as a result of getting his braking all wrong and clattering into Max Verstappen, it soon starts to sound bad. A 10-second time penalty was justified. Sportingly, Vettel went over to Verstappen in Parc Ferme to shake his rival’s hand, admitting he was to blame. And as if the loss of points wasn’t bad enough for Vettel, having run third, his Ferrari team mate Leclerc starred and has now crossed the finish line ahead in each of the last three races. The pressure mounts.
Another mixed result for Ferrari, but as far as Leclerc is concerned, he won’t mind much as he was the one who came out on top. The Monegasque admitted his battle with Verstappen in Austria had been an eye-opener and he subsequently “adjusted his aggression” for Silverstone. His wheel-to-wheel battle with Verstappen was a joy to watch, and while he lost their duel, he ultimately won the war, taking third place – his fourth successive podium – to close to within three points. Had Ferrari not used team orders earlier in the season, he would almost certainly be clear of Vettel, rather than trailing, by now.
British Grand Prix Final Classification
1st Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 52 1:21.08.452
2nd Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 52 +24.928
3rd Charles Leclerc Scuderia Ferrari 52 +30.117
4th Pierre Gasly Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 52 +34.692
5th Max Verstappen Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 52 +39.458
6th Carlos Sainz McLaren F1 Team 52 +53.369
7th Daniel Ricciardo Renault F1 Team 52 +54.401
8th Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 52 +65.540
9th Daniil Kvyat Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda 52 +66.720
10th Nico Hulkenberg Renault F1 Team 52 +72.733
11th Lando Norris McLaren F1 Team 52 +74.281
12th Alexander Albon Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda 52 +75.617
13th Lance Stroll SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team 52 +81.086
14th George Russell ROKiT Williams Racing 51 +1 lap
15th Robert Kubica ROKiT Williams Racing 51 +1 lap
16th Sebastian Vettel* Scuderia Ferrari 51 +1 lap
17th Sergio Perez SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team 51 +1 lap
NC Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 18 DNF
NC Romain Grosjean Rich Energy Haas F1 Team 9
DNF NC Kevin Magnussen Rich Energy Haas F1 Team 6
DNF Fastest lap: Lewis Hamilton (1.27.369 on lap 52)
1 L. Hamilton 223
2 V. Bottas 184
3 M. Verstappen 136
4 S. Vettel 123
5 C. Leclerc 120
6 P. Gasly 55
7 C. Sainz 38
8 K. Raikkonen 25
9.L. Norris 22
10 D. Ricciardo 22
Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 407
Scuderia Ferrari 243
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 191
McLaren F1 Team 60
Renault F1 Team 39
Alfa Romeo Racing 26
SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team 19
Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda 19
Rich Energy Haas F1 Team 16
ROKiT Williams Racing 0