2019 British Grand Prix Blog
It’s not called the ‘home of motorsport’ for nothing. Silverstone served up a cracker this weekend. Easily the best race of the season so far and exactly what the fans want to see.
This year the British Grand Prix faced some stiff competition with both the Cricket World Cup and Wimbledon Men’s Tennis Finals taking place on the same day. That didn’t stop 140,000+ people turning up on Sunday to watch the race. Most were Lewis supporters and he did them proud claiming his sixth race win at Silverstone, the most of any F1 driver in history.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for Hamilton though. On Saturday teammate, Valterri Bottas, pipped him to pole by 0.006 of a second. Bottas knows he needs to get his season back on track and this was a perfect opportunity to close the gap.
Come ‘Lights Out’ and the two Mercedes scooted clear, however it was refreshing to see them be allowed to just race each other. Hamilton briefly passed only for Bottas to retake the lead, and the Finn stayed in front until an untimely safety car (for Bottas) put Hamilton in first place. Once in the lead he wasn’t going to slip up and steered his car to victory.
There was plenty of drama behind as well. Ferrari and Red Bull found themselves in a ding-dong battle, all 4 cars within a whisker of each other at times. It was entertaining to watch until the safety car, after which Vettel found himself in third place with Gasly fourth, Verstappen fifth and the perpetually unlucky Charles Leclerc in sixth.
Max took this as a cue to start his charge and quickly passed his teammate before bearing down on the Ferrari. The Dutchman made his move on lap 37, passing Vettel around the outside of Stowe corner. He ran a little wide allowing the German to come back at him but unfortunately when Verstappen braked, Vettel could not, ramming into the back of the Red Bull. Both cars spun off into the gravel. Given the force of the shunt it was amazing either could continue the race, but they did.
Afterwards Vettel took responsibility for the collision saying: “Well it was my mistake so obviously he passed me and then ran a bit wide which gave me the chance to come back then I looked for a second that he was going to the right and there would be a gap of the left which didn’t open and by that time it was too late and I crashed.” The stewards agreed, handing him a 10-second time penalty and 2 points on his licence.
We can remember a year ago when Sebastian Vettel was celebrating the race victory at Silverstone. At the time he held an 8-point lead in the title race. It’s fair to say the last 12 months have not been his finest.
Let’s take nothing aware from Lewis Hamilton though, he deserved to win on Sunday, and it meant a lot. Hamilton said afterwards: “I can’t tell you how proud I am to be here today in front of my home crowd. There’s so many British flags out there and every year I see it and you think you get used to it but it feels like the first time.”
It would be amiss of us not to mention Carlos Sainz (sixth), Daniel Ricciardo (seventh), Kimi Raikkonen (eighth) and Daniil Kvyat (ninth). All drove excellent races, finishing in close to each other and scoring valuable points. The same cannot be said for Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean. Gunther Steiner was less than impressed with the pair saying: “It was a very disappointing race for us… The best that our drivers could bring to the battle was a shovel – to dig the hole we’re in even deeper. We need to go back, regroup, and see what we do in future.”
Haas won’t have long to regroup as Hockenheim is next up. That track should play to Ferrari’s strengths but given the form they are in you can’t bet against Mercedes notching up another victory in two weeks’ time.
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