British GP: Lewis Hamilton winner on three wheels

News: - 03-08-20

(Silverstone) The Mercedes team dominated the British Grand Prix again on Sunday at Silverstone, but tire problems at the end of the race almost cost them the victory, Lewis Hamilton only narrowly winning in front of Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), while teammate Valtteri Bottas was pushed back to 11 th  place after emergency supplies. Disappointment for Lance Stroll, who only saved ninth place thanks to the troubles of the other competitors.



The Mercedes team had its first big troubles of the season on Sunday at the Silverstone circuit, but that did not prevent Briton Lewis Hamilton from securing his third victory of the season, his seventh at home in Great Britain ( a record), and take off in the Drivers' Championship standings. However, Hamilton came close to finishing the race, a puncture forcing him to finish the last lap on three wheels.

“This last lap was one of the most demanding I've had to do. When I heard on the radio that one of Valtteri's tires had failed, I took a good look at mine and slowed down a bit. That's when I saw my tire deflate down the straight, and I had one of those heart-pumping moments in your mouth. I tried to go as fast as possible without damaging the car. Bono [Peter Bonnington, his race engineer] was giving me the gap [with Verstappen], it was going down quickly and I was wondering if I would make it to the finish line… But I did! "

Hamilton, who has a habit of "surfing" the crowd of his supporters after his victories at Silverstone, obviously regretted the absence of spectators in what is considered one of the temples of motorsport. “It was difficult to get to the podium without the crowd, but I hope I made everyone who supported me at home proud. "


Less fortunate than his teammate Valtteri Bottas has been punctured with three laps to go and he could return at 11 th  place, out of the points after his tire change. The Finn, who had remained within reach of the leader until then, far ahead of their pursuers, slips 30 points behind Hamilton in the drivers' championship and is no longer ahead of Verstappen by six points (58-52).

"I have often said that having the fastest car is not enough to get double in every race," said Mercedes director Toto Wolff. This race reminded us of that; Valtteri lost a nice second place and the team lost precious points in the constructors' championship. We will therefore remain skeptical. We know we have a fast car, a powerful engine, but we won't take anything for granted until we cross the finish line of every Grand Prix. "


Max Verstappen said he was happy with his second place after the race, but he certainly regretted missing out on his first victory of the season. The Dutchman was third with three laps to go, still a long way from the Mercedes, when his team decided to send him into the pits to put on his Red Bull soft tires and try to get the fastest lap. Verstappen did get the point for this feat, but he lost the chance to overtake Hamilton on the last lap, when the Briton suffered a puncture.


Max Verstappen

“We were both lucky and unlucky,” Verstappen said after the race. Our tires weren't very good anymore with ten laps to go and I talked about it with the engineers on the radio. Valtteri had his flat tire and I told them I was going to slow down a bit. They then let me in to go for the fastest lap, and that's when Lewis also had a puncture… I'm still very happy with this second place, a very good result for the team. "

Red Bull second rider Alex Albon had another eventful race with a collision on the first lap that caused Kevin Magnussen to retire, an unscheduled stop, a five second penalty and a nice comeback.

“You could say we were a little unlucky to miss the win today, but Mercedes had the best car and it would have been a lucky win instead,” said Red Bull manager Christian Horner, who also confessed. that Verstappen also had concerns about his tires. “Our two drivers took advantage of Bottas' troubles and we are very satisfied with the result. I believe that we have improved since the start of the season and we saw today that we had to keep the pressure on those ahead of us, because you never know what can happen in the race. "


The fight is particularly fierce this season in the middle of the pack, especially as Ferrari's troubles have brought the Italian team back to the level of McLaren, Renault and Racing Point. The Monegasque Charles Leclerc however showed again on Sunday that he was an exceptional driver by snatching his second podium of the season with a third place certainly lucky, but well deserved. His team-mate Sebastian Vettel was never in the game and was content with 10 th  place.

For its part, the Renault team signed its best result of the season with the fourth and sixth places of Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon. The latter was stuck behind his friend Lance Stroll for a long time, but he was finally able to overtake the Canadian and take advantage of the troubles of his competitors at the end of the race.


Lance Stroll (left) and Esteban Ocon (right)

"This is one of our best results since our return to F1," said team director Cyril Abiteboul. We were a bit lucky at the end, but that didn't take away from our performance. After a more difficult start to the season, we knew we would be more competitive at Silverstone and we will continue to work to close the gap that still separates us from our direct competitors. "

Abiteboul also confirmed that Renault had again filed a complaint against the Racing Point team, suspected of using illegal parts on its car.

At McLaren, Spaniard Carlos Sainz also suffered a puncture in his front left tire, the most used at Silverstone, and he lost the benefit of a good race on the last lap. His teammate Lando Norris took advantage, however, and his fifth place allows the team to occupy third place in the constructors' championship with 51 points, behind Mercedes (146) and Red Bull (78), but ahead of Ferrari (43), Racing Point (42) and Renault (32).


The weekend had started badly for the Racing Point team with the package of Mexican Sergio Perez, affected by COVID-19. Lance Stroll was deluded on Friday by setting the fastest time in the second free practice session, but the Canadian was unable to keep up his pace thereafter.

Starting from sixth place, Stroll was content with ninth in the race and he could well have been excluded from the points, had it not been for the numerous punctures which occurred to his competitors at the end of the race. “We still scored points, but I'm disappointed that I couldn't have done better than this ninth place,” agreed the Canadian after the race. We will have to take a step back and try to understand the reasons for this result. "


Lance Stroll finished 9 th  rank.

“The car's balance was better today [than Saturday] and I expected we would be more competitive, but we fell back the whole race. We will have to focus on next weekend in order to come back stronger and show what this car is really capable of. "

To make matters worse, the German Nico Hulkenberg, replacing Perez, did not start after we discovered a clutch problem on his car, a few minutes before the formation of the starting grid. "A difficult afternoon," admitted Racing Point director Otmar Szafnauer. It started with Nico's troubles, whose car we never got to start. It's a shame after all the efforts to get him to replace Sergio [Perez].

“With Lance, we weren't lucky with the timing of the safety car exits, which prevented us from taking advantage of the advantage of starting on medium tires. We were then caught in the train of cars and we could not find the same pace as during practice on Friday. We're going to have to study the data and understand what happened in order to do better next week. "

We have been saying since the start of the season how the Racing Point RP20 has great potential. Unfortunately, the team has not yet shown that it has the means to exploit it well.


Canadian Nicholas Latifi doesn't have a car as competitive as Lance Stroll, but he continues to learn F1 with great dedication and slowly benefits from his team's progress. Williams is well back at the Alfa Romeo and Latifi took the opportunity Sunday to deliver some battles ahead and some competitors at the finish with a 15 th  spot.

“I think of the four races so far this has been the one in which the car has been the most competitive. I made a mistake in the first lap, but recovered well afterwards and was confident enough to attack and fight with other competitors. A very satisfying race, then! "

>>> Consult the classification of the Grand Prix of Great Britain: html / 2020 / races /1048/great-britain.html

Next race: Grand Prix of the 70 th  anniversary of the F1 at Silverstone on August 9