Hamilton storms to a record 6th British GP victory
Lewis Hamilton delighted the home crowd at the British GP by claiming his record 6th British Grand Prix in a thrilling contest between the British driver and his team mate Valtteri Bottas. With the Brit starting from 2nd on the grid the first few laps were ferocious in its action and showcased exactly why F1 is still the pinnacle of motorsport. Battling hard, Hamilton overtook Bottas coming out of Brooklands thanks to the Finn running wide, but the Mercedes driver would not yield taking the inside line in Luftfields and getting a tow coming into Copse dragging Hamilton into a defensive position and completing a stunning overtake on the inside of the fast right hander.
It was wonderful, hard, close yet fair racing between the two team mates and respect was shown from both, something arguably missing from the Brit's relationship with former team mate Nico Rosberg. Stunning the British crowd and us at home in the subsequent laps Hamilton retreated to save tyres and cool his Mercedes down before launching another attack. Yet Lady Luck was on Hamilton's side and a safety car caused by Giovinazzi's suspension giving way meant Hamilton was already on the Hard tyre and could conserve his tyres to the end.
The safety car ruined Bottas' strategy and ensured that the Finn had little to fight with as being on the medium tyres meant the Finn would have to pit again. It was a cruel stroke of luck for the Finn who fully deserved his pole and hustled Hamilton early on in the race. It left a deflated feeling for the race as the win was merely a procession for the Mercedes of Hamilton who once again highlighted their performance advantage across the rest of the field.
It was a fascinating battle and thankfully wasn't the last with Verstappen and Leclerc demonstrating why they are the future of F1 with stunning last minute dives, close combat and the Frenchman showing the world he isn't afraid to get his elbows out when he needs to. Flying out of Vale and into Club the Frenchman hustled his Ferrari past Verstappen, banging wheels yet safely passing through. It was another showcase of what F1 can provide and in the early stages of the race every fan was treated to something special.
For Ferrari it was a day of mixed fortunes. Whilst Charles Leclerc was cementing his place of the future of F1, his team mate and 4 time world champion Sebastian Vettel had a race to forget. Off the pace all weekend and struggling with the Ferrari's tendency for understeer, the German reached a nadir in his sequence of mistakes by crashing into the back of Max Verstappen, ruining his race and very fortunate not to retire the Dutchman.
The pressure has been growing on the German since the arrival of Leclerc and today everything wrong with the relationship between the team and the German surfaced. Vettel is struggling to maximise the performance of the Ferrari thanks to the design philosophy not suiting the 4 time world champion, and while Leclerc was dragging performance from the car around Silverstone Vettel struggled and seemed despondent and flat all weekend.
The crash added to another mistake to the growing catalogue of errors from the German, including Bahrain 2019, his infamous Canada penalty as well as Monza last year and of course his crash in Germany 2018 while leading. The incident ensures that further questions will be asked of the 4 time world champion and will only add fuel to the rumours he will retire after his contract expires with Ferrari at the end of 2020.
Further down the field it was arguably Pierre Gasly's best weekend with the Red Bull team so far, with the Frenchman achieving a well deserved 4th. Like Vettel, the pressure has been mounting for Gasly thanks to a string of sub par performances that reached it's low point in Austria after being lapped by team mate Verstappen. However, all weekend Gasly has been 0.2-0.3 seconds away from his established team mate and during the race he was in the fight between the Ferraris which is where Marko and the Red Bull team would have expected him to be. It was an impressive weekend considering the context of rumour and speculation of his exit and from here the Frenchman will need to continue the momentum for the rest of the season.
Another contender for Driver of the Day was Carlos Sainz who once again showed impressive consistency in race pace to recover from a disappointing 13th in qualifying to end up 6th. He was fortuitous in benefiting from the safety car, but after holding off the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo in 7th it was another great haul of points for the driver and the McLaren team.
Kimi Raikkonen again maximised his Alfa Romeo to bring home 4 points in 8th in front of the ever impressive Danil Kvyat in 9th, who after qualifying in 17th demonstrated his ever growing maturity by showing consistent race pace, guile in is craft and brought home another 2 points for the Toro Rosso team. Nico Hulkenberg took home 10th place and a solitary point.