Monday, August 3, 2020

A Tireless Effort Nets Lewis Hamilton British Grand Prix Victory

Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG/LAT Images

The fourth race on the 2020 Formula 1 calendar, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit carries a lot of history and prestige for the series that is celebrating its 70th year of competition. In a time when a war is underway in containing a dangerous virus, it’s fitting Formula 1 is racing on a circuit that was once a military airfield used to successfully fight the great conflict of the second world war. However, as the global health crisis is a serious of mass importance and great contributions to prevail, the British Grand Prix was an event where the 20 cars managed by 10 teams would fight for 52 laps on a 5.891-kilometer race track for simpler athletic achievements.

Earning his 91st career pole on Saturday, Lewis Hamilton started his home country’s grand prix in prime position to contend for a seventh win in the event. Qualifying resulted in another commonly seen all Mercedes AMG F1 Team front row at Silverstone with Valtteri Bottas in the grid place beside Hamilton. 

Intended to be a 20-car race, the British Grand Prix started with only 19 cars. Substituting for Sergio Perez with the Racing Point team, Nico Hulkenberg was unable to take the grid due to a bizarre situation where his Mercedes-Benz engine didn’t ignite. In the Racing Point race report, Hulkenberg commented,  “It’s a real shame that I couldn’t start the race and I feel for the team because they did everything to get me onto the grid. I’m very thankful to everyone for their help.”. The issue is currently being investigated by the team as they started the British Grand Prix with a single car of Lance Stroll.   

While the start of the 2020 British Grand Prix was a clean affair, the first lap would be followed by one of two safety car periods that occurred in the early part of race. The first time the safety car was deployed on the second lap when the #20 Haas F1 Team car of Kevin Magnussen crashed after contact with Alexander Albon’s Red Bull Honda. Albon received a 5-second penalty from the race stewards for his fault in the collision in Silverstone’s turn 18 for what proved to be a challenging event for the Thai driver.  

Photo Credit: 2020 Pirelli & C. S.p.A. 

After the first safety car period ended at lap 5, the Mercedes-Benz safety car returned to the track 8 laps later for a single-car incident involving Daniil Kvyat. Travelling through turn 10, the AlphaTauri appeared to have snapped loose sending the Russian driver out of control through the gravel trap and into the track’s retaining barrier. Fortunately, Kvyat left is badly damaged AlphaTauri AT01 race car unhurt. Daniil Kvyat initially felt completely at fault for the incident but it’s widely suspected a failure on his race car may be the primary culprit. 

A second safety car that ran from lap 13 to the end of lap 18 set up the majority of competitors for pit stops including the two Mercedes AMG runners, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc. Every team that brought their vehicles to the pits elected to mount hard compound Pirelli tires planning to complete the remainder of the British Grand Prix on those sets of rubber. This strategy would greatly affect front-running drivers in late stages of the race. 

Photo Credit: 2020 Pirelli & C. S.p.A.

Through the mid portion of the British Grand Prix, the Hamilton and Bottas commanded the field in what appeared to be another strong effort from the Mercedes AMG team. Max Verstappen’s Red Bull Honda operated a sizable distance from the Mercedes AMG race cars but was far ahead of the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc. After an impressive group performance in qualifying, the McLaren team oversaw their drivers Carlos Sainz Jr. leading Brit Lando Norris. Following the second safety car period, the remaining Haas F1 Team car driven by Romain Grosjean stayed on track when most of the field pitted and restarted in fifth place. Grosjean fended off the McLarens for several laps but eventually fell prey to Sainz and Norris. The Ferrari-powered Haas race car would continue to circulate on the Silverstone Circuit until lap 36 and would finish outside the top-10. 

In the closing laps of the 2020 British Grand Prix, the long stint on Pirelli hard tires were beginning to generate concern with the major teams as more than 35 laps have been logged since the last pit stop. Defeating Mercedes AMG F1 Team’s desire for a solid one-two finish, second-place runner Valtteri Bottas suffered a massive failure to his left front tire with three laps remaining. Bottas was able to safely to his pit crew for a new set of tires to finish the event but missed the top-10. Shortly after Bottas’ car suffered tire issues, Carlos Sainz jr. running in fourth place in his McLaren leading into the final lap also incurred a tire failure. The concern with tire durability weighed heavily on the remaining racers with the Red Bull Racing team looking over their driver Max Verstappen. Red Bull Racing ultimately chose to call Verstappen to pit road as a cautious move. 

As Lewis Hamilton prepared for his final lap on route to a seventh British Grand Prix victory, his race car developed a front tire failure similar to the once his teammate suffered. Starting the lap roughly 33.3 seconds ahead of Max Verstappen, Hamilton drove his Mercedes AMG race car with the deformed left front tire through what must have felt like a long 5.891-kilometer run. Despite Verstappen making a last lap charge that concluded with setting the fastest lap of the race, Lewis Hamilton took the chequered flag with a 5.856 second lead over the Honda-powered Red Bull car. Hamilton’s 87th victory in Formula 1, the reigning champion has won three of the four events so far in 2020.  

Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG/LAT Images

Settling for second place after a hard charge in the final lap, Max Verstappen attempt to overcome Hamilton resulted in a 1-minute, 27.097-second time with soft compound Pirelli tires on his Honda-powered Red Bull Racing car. Quickly after the chequered flag, there was a lot of second guessing inside and around the Red Bull Racing organization regarding the decision to pit late in the grand prix. There was a possibility Verstappen may have won the event if he was instructed to remain on track with worn tires. Verstappen’s runner-up position in addition to Valtteri Bottas’ inability to score points in the British Grand Prix allowed the Dutch driver to make a substantial gain in the season’s championship points placing him just six points behind the Mercedes pilot. Lewis Hamilton maintains a sizable 30-point lead over Bottas in the 2020 points after four races. 

While the Scuderia Ferrari team has been struggling to make a competitive run at the Mercedes AMG F1 Team so far this season, Charles Leclerc and his crew enjoyed a productive British Grand Prix ending in a third-place finish. Leclerc’s second podium for the 2020 season came after the late race tire problems that also benefited most of the top-10 finishers. The second Ferrari driven by past two-time British Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel had a difficult race that resulted in collecting the tenth and final point-paying position thanks to Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz Jr. falling from the top-10 in the final laps at Silverstone. 

Photo Credit: Ferrari S.p.A.

Renault’s factory race team operated quietly throughout the 52-lap race concluding with fourth and sixth place finishes for their drivers. For what could be seen as the strongest collective team performance for the 2020 British Grand Prix, Renault F1's Daniel Ricciardo was first across the finish line followed by Esteban Ocon. Placed between the two yellow Renault race cars was Lando Norris’ McLaren.

In seventh place, Pierre Gasly equalled his season-best race effort with Scuderia AlphaTauri finishing ahead of the Red Bull of Alexander Albon. Driving the sole Racing Point machine, Lance Stroll took ninth place in what is regarded as an underwhelming outing after the team demonstrated speed that was comparable with the Mercedes AMG team earlier in the grand prix weekend. 

Formula 1 teams return to the Silverstone Circuit last weekend for a special event called the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. 

2020 Formula 1
British Grand Prix
Race Results

No comments:

Post a Comment