After a dramatic conclusion to the British GP, Formula 1's stars were back at Silverstone for the second leg of its double-header this weekend. It was the first time the famous circuit had ever hosted back-to-back F1 races and this weekend's event was taking a different title, the 70th Anniversary GP - commemorating the first round of the official F1 world championship that took place at Silverstone in May 1950. The 70th Anniversary Grand Prix saw Max Verstappen end fears of Mercedes winning every race of the season in what felt like a classic two-stop contest of old
Here's a look at why the race unfolded the way it did. Just 5-10 minutes before the race I said to myself, can anyone challenge the silver arrows?? Will Bottas hold off Lewis?? Can Hulkenberg claim his first podium finish??? Well, all the questions would be answered after 52 laps. Lights out!!! And here we gooooooooooooo at the 70th Anniversary grand prix Silverstone.
It was a good race-start for Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas who kept his teammate (Lewis) at arm’s length and Max passing Nico Hulkenberg from the start who could push Mercedes using his hard tires. This move by Max made things little interesting as it seemed it will be a 3-horse race from now. Vettel's final year at Ferrari is turning into a horror show clearly. On the very first lap Vettle’s Ferrari spun on its own and was last now. A very long way now to go and the chances of finishing on podium seemed unrealistic for him. On lap 6 Bottas had some problems with the tire temperature; this came as a shock as it was just 6 laps and Mercedes were little concerned that Max was lapping at same pace as both Mercedes drivers, and the Red Bull was likely to go on longer on the hard tires. This was something to keep an eye on as Max was the only driver in top 10 to begin the race with hard compound tires.
There was a message from Max team over the radio, too look after his tires, Max did not like the massage as he was really pushing the silver arrows hard. (Was that a cheeky message or the truth over the radio? Well only time will tell) There were times where, Max was nearly two seconds faster than the Mercedes in a straight fight, and aside from pushing at the start and end of stints, Mercedes had no answer for that. With no spectators, F1 brought the stands to the fans by using the Silverstone big screens as ways to show supporters watching around the world. One Lando Norris fan on lap 28 ensured his screen time would not go to waste, as with the words 'Go Norris' on the screen he proceeded to pour jugs of milk over his face in a bizarre, yet amusing, show of support.
Besides Ferrari, Mercedes, and Red bull there was some interesting battle going on between, Gasley and Albon between lap 15 to 21. Both were challenging each other and were neck to neck for many laps. On lap 24 there was another drama for Mercedes duos as Hamilton front tyre and Bottas rear tyre started to blister, it was again a big concern for Mercedes team as they had just pitted 7-8 laps before. Max decided to dive into pit on lap 27 for a quick change of tires, if everything goes perfect in pits, Max will still stay on top. Red bull mechanics did everything they could do to get Max ahead of Bottas, but in the end it was Bottas who briefly took the lead. But the Red Bull driver took back the lead quickly from Bottas, owing to fresher tires and DRS. Once the lead was taken, then, there was no looking behind for Max
Bottas led away from pole position and controlled the early spell of the race, but Verstappen was on an alternate strategy and jumped ahead in the first pit-stop window. Bottas would lose second position to Mercedes teammate and championship leader Lewis Hamilton in the closing laps. The Finn was not happy with how Mercedes had handled his strategy on Sunday. After the race Bottas said "Very frustrating, obviously, starting from pole and finishing third, it's not ideal. As a team we were sleeping at some point, when Max got ahead of us and my strategy was far, far from ideal, so we have a lot to learn from today." Max and Bottas pitted on lap 33, Red Bull pulled Max after just 6-7 laps on medium tires and fitted him with and compound tires which can take him till the chequered flag. Meanwhile Hamilton wasn’t happy with the tyre setup.
When Bottas & Max had pitted, Hamilton was leading the race till lap 43 and till then Max was closing in on Hamilton every lap, that’s when Mercedes decided to pit Hamilton and give him fresh hard compound tires to go on full attack mode. With fresh tires on, He Hamilton went on to set the fastest lap of the race and was chasing down Leclerc, which was a piece of cake for him. 8 laps to go and Hamilton had finally past Leclerc to 3rd position, and was chasing his teammate Bottas this was fascinating end to this race Just about 4 laps to go and Mercedes team radio conveyed the message to Lewis and Bottas that they are free to race but should be careful as the team wanted to bring both the car back home. However, Mercedes knew Lewis will overtake/pass Bottas and can challenge Max for the chequered flag.
There was nothing Bottas could do to keep Hamilton behind him and the world champion was into P2 and he had eight seconds to close on Verstappen, although with only three laps to go that will be a tall order. The Dutchman was on course for his first race victory of the season. It looks like Red Bull's decision to go with the hard compound tyre for the start of the race had paid off and Verstappen also deserved credit for the way he pushed to close the gap on the Mercedes when he was told to manage his tires. While Verstappen took home the victory, there was perhaps no more impressive performance than Charles Leclerc, battling up from starting eighth to finish fourth for team Ferrari, clearly outperforming his car. A clearly frustrated Sebastian Vettel finished outside of the points, in 12th.
While tires were at the forefront of today's race much like last week's British GP, no tire failures played into the result, even though Bottas and Hamilton both finished on terrible tires. It was also a clean race, with the safety car staying parked for the GP, and just two yellow flags which were quickly waved off. It’s a Redbull victory for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone! Verstappen got that spot on as he was faster over the course of 52 laps than Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. But in the context of a season that has been dominated by Mercedes, and on a circuit where Mercedes looked unbeatable. Hamilton crosses the line in second and Bottas finishes third. There's also a very respectable fourth place finish for Leclerc given the state of that Ferrari car.
Well stay tuned with us for the next race at the Aramco Gran Premio De Espana (Catalunya)