Rate the Race and Driver of the Weekend, Race 5, 70th Anniversary GP, Silverstone, 2020
Mean reader score 7.02, Rated 2/5 Races so far this season
This score of 7.02 knocked last week’s 5.92 into a cocked hat and was even higher than the 6.67 and 6.79 from 2017 and 2016. Didn’t quite reach the dizzy heights of 8.53 from 2019 or the 8.14 from 2018.
Still, as we (that is to say, I) said last week, ‘Hope springs eternal.’ I also said ‘same again next week?’ Thankfully not!
This week’s race was far better and didn’t have a single delamination, even though the tyre compounds were one step softer and some drivers (Leclerc) still managed a one stop to nab himself 12 points and take Ferrari up into P3 in the constructor’s championship table.
It was a FAR better race than last week, although the threat of delamination was still fresh in some drivers’ minds (Hamilton).
The start was clean (except for Vettel who spun himself from P11 to P20, and later openly criticised Ferrari over the radio). Bottas held pole position until his first pit stop on Lap 13, leaving team mate Hamilton to take the lead but only for one lap as he pitted on lap 14. A two stop race was expected and most drivers complied, except for Leclerc (see above), Raikkonen and Ocon who managed a one stopper and Latifi, Russel, Ricciardo and Hulkenberg who needed three stops.
Cynics said the only reason Hulkenberg was brought in for what appeared to be an unnecessary third pit stop was because he was ahead of team mate Stroll at the time, and this extra pit cost him about 20 seconds, placing him well behind at the chequered flag.
This turned out to be unfounded as Hulkenberg was reported as saying the extra pit stop was because he was experiencing a lot of vibrations. An honorable mention goes to Alex Albon who managed a few (4?) overtakes around the outside on various corners throughout the race.
For the first time this season, Mercedes did not take a win, due, exclusively to our Driver of the Weekend.
Driver of the Weekend: Max Verstappen, 52.16% of reader vote
Managing only P7 in FP3 and P4 in qualifying, it looked as if the Mercedes pair would take yet another 1,2 this race.
Nobody told Verstappen that, though.
Gaining one place from Hulkenberg at the start of the race, Verstappen had moved into P2 by Lap 12, having overtaken Bottas. This was after his engineer had told him to pull back the previous lap.
Max’s response was to say no chance, as this was his only opportunity to get close to the Mercedes, and he was NOT sitting behind like a grandmother. Well, he was hunting down Hamilton for the lead, when Mercedes pulled Hamilton into the pits for fresh tyres, pretty much committing them to a two stop strategy.
Verstappen was then in P1, lost the lead as he pitted a second time but immediately took it back from Bottas.
After Hamilton’s second pit stop the boot was on the other foot, as Verstappen was being chased down by Hamilton. Hamilton and Mercedes could not touch him. He beat them fair and square on pace and strategy, taking his ninth career win and his first win in F1 at Silverstone, and placing him second in WDC, as well as winning our coveted Driver of The weekend accolade! Well done Max!!