The fourth race of the 2020 Formula One season took place at Silverstone today, the first of two races to take place at the Northamptonshire circuit this season.
At 5.891km, it’s the third-longest F1 circuit on the current calendar, with 18 corners and three DRS zones.
After a rare lapse during qualifying on Saturday, Lewis Hamilton quickly regained his composure and took pole position for the seventh time in his career at the British Grand Prix, fighting for his seventh home-race win.
Second on the grid was Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in P3 and P4 respectively.
It was another good weekend in qualifying for the McLaren duo with Lando Norris starting in P5 and Carlos Sainz in P7, while Racing Point’s Lance Stroll was between the McLaren’s in P6.
Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon had a solid weekend of qualifying, which saw the pair claim P8 and P9, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel closing out the top ten on the starting grid today.
Sergio Perez was absent this weekend as he tested positive for the coronavirus.
In his place, Racing Point called in ex-driver Nico Hulkenberg to fill his seat.
After a power unit issue in the pits, the German driver didn’t make it out onto the grid, leaving all potential for points in the hands of Lance Stroll.
At lights out, the battle between the two Mercedes drivers immediately ignited, with Hamilton taking the lead ahead of his teammate, Valtteri Bottas, while Verstappen and Leclerc battled it out for third and fourth positions, with the Dutch driver coming out on top to settle into third place.
Kevin Magnussen in the Haas VF20 became the first retirement of the day, after a minor collision with Alex Albon sent the Haas driver into the gravel and out of the race, a first lap the Haas team certainly were not hoping for.
The safety car period ended on Lap 6 and Hamilton swiftly separated from the rest of the pack consolidating his lead in an all dominant Mercedes, while the battle of the midfield saw Esteban Ocon and Lance Stroll race neck and neck as Ocon tried to make his move into 8th, but Racing Point’s Stroll managed to hold off the Renault driver.
The Mercedes duo remained well ahead of the pack, moving steadily clear of Verstappen in third, who was five seconds off the pace by lap 10 but held a clear advantage over Leclerc’s Ferrari which was a further five seconds behind.
An incident involving Alpha Tauri driver, Daniel Kvyat, saw him crash heavily into the barriers at Maggots, triggering the second safety car of today’s race and making the Russian driver the second retirement of the day.
Haas driver, Romain Grosjean, took advantage of the safety car session, remaining on track while other drivers headed to the pits for a tyre change, all opting for the hard compound.
Grosjean found himself running 5th when the race resumed but was eventually overtaken on Lap 23 by Carlos Sainz in the McLaren.
He would eventually find himself slipping down the order to finish in 16th position, which is more representative of the team’s place in the current pecking order.
Meanwhile, Red Bull’s Alex Albon continued to struggle to keep pace today after receiving a five-second penalty for his run-in with Magnussen on Lap 1.
Albon dropped back to last place when he finally took his penalty in the pits. The Thai driver spent most of today at the wrong end of the field, which is unfamiliar territory for the red bull team.
It was a very lonely race for Albon’s Red Bull teammate, Max Verstappen, who remained comfortably ahead of Leclerc throughout but couldn’t seem to make inroads on the Mercedes pair.
Verstappen drove another incredible race, from start to finish and his perseverance paid dividends when disaster struck Mercedes.
Tyre degradation had become a concern for the silver arrows as the race wore on and when Bottas’ left front punctured just as he sped past the pits, with just two laps to go, Verstappen took second.
Then with his own Pirellis looking distinctly worn the team erred on the side of caution and called Verstappen in to make a final tyre change, with second place looking assured.
What red bull hadn’t considered was the condition of Hamilton’s tyres, with the left front blistered badly, it finally gave out on the final lap.
Had Verstappen not taken that late stop, the victory, most likely would have been his.
But the time lost allowed Hamilton to nurse his injured Mercedes to the chequered flag and claim his third win of the season.
Ferrari came away with the best result they could have expected, having been struggling throughout the 2020 season, but today Leclerc managed to claim his second podium of the year taking third position.
Bottas, who spent the majority of today’s race holding down second position comfortably, finished today’s race outside of the points in 11th position.
It’s turning out to be a record-breaking season already for Lewis Hamilton, whose win today sets a new record for the most home-race wins, beating Alain Prost, who won six home-races in France, while also beating Ayrton Senna’s record of 19 races led from start to finish.
Today’s results also secure Hamilton’s top spot in the driver’s championship with 88 points, followed by Bottas who remains at 58, while Verstappen is now just 6 off the second place with 52 points.
Racing will return next weekend at the Silverstone circuit for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on August 9.