Despite being fourth on the grid, Max Verstappen was able to hold off the Mercedes duo to take the win for Formula One’s 70th anniversary at Silverstone.
Due to the tyre drama last week, it was predicted it would be a two stop strategy between the mandatory compounds such as medium-hard-hard or medium-hard-medium
Lights out and away Sebastian Vettel went. One the very first corner, the German Ferrari driver followed up behind his teammate, Charles Leclerc. However, the Monegasque had a brief lock up and Vettel took on more of the right kerb, to avoid a rear-end collision. This resulted in wheelspin for the four-time world champion, which sent the Prancing Horse spinning off the track, which placed him at the back of the pack.
Alexander Albon, Red Bull, was the first driver in to make a pit stop, on lap seven, as he swapped his medium compound tyres for the hards. This decision put the young Thai driver in a race to catch up to the field of the pack as he left the pit lane.
Verstappen was ordered by his engineer to back off from the Mercedes duo as Dutch driver followed closely behind. However, the experienced Dutchman didn’t follow the instructions given to him as he closed into DRS range behind, second place, Lewis Hamilton, stating he wasn’t going to stay back ‘like a grandma.’
Nevertheless, as the race leader, Valtteri Bottas, pitted on lap 13, Hamilton was able to keep the young Dutch driver behind him as he trundled around Silverstone before the six-time world champion pitted a lap later. This allowed Verstappen to take the lead.
As the race arrived to it’s halfway mark, Verstappen was told to push as they looked to bring him in for his first pit stop on lap 26. However, there was an mechanical issue with the wheel-gun that caused the Dutchman to remain stationary in the box for longer, which allowed Bottas to regain the lead over the Red Bull driver. But, it wasn’t long before the Dutch driver retook the lead after he overtook the Fin’s Mercedes around Luffield (turn seven).
On lap 41, Verstappen was finally released to chase after Hamilton as it seemed as if the British race leader was to attempt a risky one-stop strategy. However, the Mercedes six-time world champion did pit on lap 42 as he looked for a podium position with his fresh hard tyres.
Hamilton was in a hurry flying around on his new tyres, setting the fastest lap with a 1:28.451 and took third place after he glided past Leclerc at Stowe corner (turn 15). However, a few laps later Nico Hulkenberg, a replacement for Sergio Perez at Racing Point – who tested positive for COVID-19, pitted and became the first, and only, driver to venture around Silverstone on the soft compound tyres.
With the fresher set of tyres, Hamilton managed to take second place from his teammate as we approached the final laps for F1’s 70th anniversary, as he passed the Finnish driver at the end of the Wellington Straight. However, it was impossible for the British world champion to cut down the significant gap to Verstappen as the Red Bull driver took the chequered flag to win F1’s 70th anniversary, with 11 seconds to spare.
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
- Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)