Rate the Race and Driver of the Weekend, Round 10, – Silverstone, British GP 2018
Mean Reader Score 8.14 Ranked 3/10 races so far.
Surprisingly, by the narrowest of margins, Silverstone was not voted best race of the season, with China scoring 8.18 and Bahrain on 8.17, the 8.14 for Silverstone ranks it third of this season so far.
However, the 8.14 is the best score out of the last three years (6.79 in 2016 and 6.67 in 2017).
Expectations (as well as temperature) were running high in sunny Silverstone this year, as having won five times, if Hamilton won this year he would not only set a new record for the greatest number of wins at this track (6) but he would also retake P1 in the WDC from his nearest rival, Vettel.
But it was not to be. Having taken pole by 0.044s from Vettel, Hamilton got off to a poor start, having fallen back to P3 Behind Vettel and Bottas by turn 1 of the first lap.
Then disaster struck like a red bolt from the clear blue sky as Raikonnen locked up into turn three and hit Hamilton sending him spinning off track and into P19 – dead last as the Toro Rosso of Hartley didn’t start the race and the two Williams’ had started from the pit lane.
One round of pit stops and two safety cars later, it was Bottas who was leading the race, but sadly it was not to be his day either, as he was not brought in for fresh tyres during either of the two closely spaced safety car periods and was left defending his position at the front of the field on old tyres.
It wasn’t Kimi’s day as he was given a 10s penalty for causing said crash. Verstappen retired due to brake failure, so it wasn’t his day either, so whose day was it? It was none other than the winner of our Driver of the Weekend, Sebastian Vettel.
Not seen on TV: Breathtaking Alonso V Gasly – McLaren better than we thought?
…it could be argued he had the 4th fastest car on track in the race in Silverstone. READ MORE
Driver of the Weekend: Sebastian Vettel, 36.76% of reader vote
At one point it was touch and go as to whether Vettel would make it to qualifying as he had injured his neck overnight. Setting the fasted lap time in FP2 and showing good pace in race simulation, it came as a shock when it looked as if he may not have made it to qualifying.
He did make it though but needed intense physiotherapy, a lot of neck tape and extra padding in the headrest to see him through.
None of the above saw him flounder at the start and he quickly took the lead, put lot of space between himself and Bottas and stayed at the front until the first pit stop, when Bottas moved into P1.
Leclerc’s day ended abruptly, causing the first of two safety cars being deployed. Vettel pitted onto a second set of new soft tyres, giving track position to Bottas. Two laps after the restart there was another safety car due to a collision between Grosjean and Sainz.
Bottas defended P1 heroically against a charging Vettel, notably a triple header around the outside of Brooklands, Luffield and Copse on L44 but, two laps later, Vettel made possibly the best overtake of the season, swooping in late up the inside of Brooklands to take not only the lead and the win for this GP but increasing his lead over Hamilton in WDC from 1 to 8 points and (with Kimi coming in 3rd) Ferrari’s lead over Mercedes in the WCC to 20 points. Well done Sebastian!
So, will it be WDC5 for Vettel or Hamilton this year? Comments below, please.
NOTE FROM THE ED: Entirely my fault here as I had some rare time off with family last week, including the latest smallest Judge, I was unable to publish last week’s readers poll results for Austria, so without further ado, the results are below.
Rate the Race and Driver of the Weekend – Spielberg, Austrian GP 2018
Mean Reader Score: 7.96 Ranked 3/9.
Scoring 7.96 this years race fared far better than 2017 (4.96) and was almost as good as the 8.15 of 2016. 2016’s score ranked the race second out of the 9 races ran at that point, whereas this year’s score ranked third out of nine (by the narrowest of margins- China 8.18, Bahrain 8.17).
In 2016 we had a battle raging between team mates for the WDC, with the battle for this race giving us the dramatic finishing lap of Rosberg and Hamilton coming together and Hamilton taking off Rosberg’s front wing on re-entry. Rosberg limped over the finish line, gathering a time penalty and a couple of points on his licence to boot.
Last year Bottas made a start so good that many thought he had jumped the gun- not so he was 0.001s too slow for that. This year we still have a battle for WDC but this time it’s Hamilton v Vettel with both of them having held the top slot twice.
At the beginning of this race Hamilton had a 14 point advantage over Vettel, and, having won at this track the past four years, it came as no surprise that the two Mercedes cars blocked out the front row. Vettel was way down the starting grid in P6, having taken a three place grid penalty and a point on his licence for impeding Sainz in Q2.
Sadly from pole Bottas could not replicate his amazing start of 2017, and initially lost three places before regaining P2 into T3 of the first lap. Hamilton took the lead and Vettel lost two places, so all seemed to be going Mercedes’ way.
But not for long- Bottas retired on L12, Mercedes dithered over bringing Hamilton in during the VSC period, eventually bringing him in several laps later and exchanging P1 for P4 in the process.
He came out of the pits ahead of Vettel, again not for long, as Vettel made a great pass and took P4 from him, allowing him just enough time to complain about throwing away the win before retiring on lap 64 due to ‘losing power’.
No points for Mercedes this week. Vettel finished on the podium in P3 and so for the third time this season is leading the WDC. For the first time this year, Ferrari have toppled Merc at the top of the leader board in the WCC.
Who, then, won the race and our much coveted Driver of the Weekend?
Driver of the Weekend: Max Verstappen, 54.72% of Reader Vote
It was non other than the wunderkid, Max Verstappen himself.
Has the reckless (misnomer) teenager matured into a sensible, level headed driver who may start to develop into his full potential? From the last three races it would appear so.
#Vercrashen has disappeared into the mists of time and the wunderkid has re-emerged, just in time to steal the limelight from the birthday boy and fellow Red Bull driver, Daniel Ricciardo.
Getting off to a great start (with only the slightest of nudges to Raikkonen) Max quickly progressed through the field to P2 before taking the lead, managing his tyres brilliantly and taking the chequered flag for the first time this year and the sixth time in his career.
Not only that, he provided Red Bull with their first ever win on their ‘home’ circuit. Max, with 93 points is in P5 in the WDC (a mere three points behind his team mate) and Red Bull have 189 points in WCC, (P3) only 48 points behind Mercedes who are now in P2.
Well done Max!!!