Race 10 of 21 was another 1-2 win for Mercedes
Hamilton and Bottas recovered fast from the setback they suffered in Austria. In the British Grand Prix on July 14, 2019, they won over Ferrari and Red Bull in their signature 1-2 finish, which has become their mark in this season’s Formula One World Championship.
Officially known as Formula 1 Rolex British Grand Prix, this year’s race was conducted at the Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Northamptonshire, United Kingdom in its 74th running since 1926 and the 70th time that it has been included as one of the races in the FIA Formula One World Championship event.
The Home of British motor racing
For the 54th time, the “Home of British motor racing,” again became the venue for the F1 World Championship race. This 3660-mile track has 18 turns and will be run for 52 laps in this race. What could be more fitting than for a Briton to record the fastest race lap, and that’s what Hamilton did this year. At 1:27.369 on lap 52, he has set the fastest race lap ever recorded for the Silverstone Circuit.
Bottas grabbed pole for the 4th time this season
The Finn led from the pole, edging Hamilton in his own home race. Bottas’ sensational qualifying time of 1:25.093 was the fastest actual lap ever made for the Silverstone Circuit. Both Silver Arrows occupied the first row as Hamilton clocked the second best qualifying time. Charles Leclerc was the lone Ferrari on the front grid, flanked behind by the two Red Bulls—Max Verstappen on P4 and Pierre Gasly on P5.
Sebastian Vettel, who was last year’s World Championship runner-up, placed 6th. Behind him were Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren-Renault’s Lando Norris, Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon, and Renault’s Nico Hülkenberg. Magnussen, Kvyat, Stroll, Russell, and Kubica were eliminated in Q1, while Giovinazzi, Raikkonen, Sainz, Grosjean and Perez were eliminated in Q2.
The turn of events at Silverstone
Most drivers predicted Turns 3 and 4 to be Silverstone’s most exacting sections, which are laid out with high-speed and severe corners. While Bottas started with the pole sitter advantage, Hamilton held the record for the most number of wins in the British GP drivers’ category and has championed this circuit more than any driver has (2008, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017). Let’s see how Silverstone was won and lost this year.
- Vettel, who was last year’s winner of this round, was not particularly impressive during the qualifiers. Leclerc started with all the motivation he needed, what with two Silver Arrows firing in the lead and two Red Bulls hot on his heels.
- The pressure was on Verstappen, who just won an overwhelming victory in Austria. It proved that Hamilton could be challenged from his overall lead in the World Championship standing. The qualifying rounds, however, were tough on the Dutchman due to some lag issues, sending him to P4 at the start. On the grid and a few seconds to the race, mechanics were still busy changing his car’s rear wing, which added to the pressure.
- Aside from Hamilton, this race had two other home drivers—McLaren’s Lando Norris (P8) and Williams’ George Russel (P19). Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, who was 7th on the grid, said that gaining on the Mclarens, especially Norris, was his top priority. Racing in this circuit since 2011 had been quite successful for the Aussie driver, securing top 5 finishes and one podium in the past.
- From the scorching heat in Austria, the racers faced a 28-degree Celsius temperature in the fog-blanketed Silverstone tracks. Pirelli has made three tyre options available for this circuit, and both Ferrari cars started with the soft C3 rubber, while the Mercedes and Red Bull teams chose the medium C2 tyres. Pirelli thought that a one-stop strategy like what was possible in Austria might be a tough act to do for this round, but those who opted for mediums at the start hoped for luck on their side.
- It’s lights out and go—Bottas charging in the lead. As early as Lap 1, Hamilton was seen trying to gain speed on his teammate. Other drivers were making moves, too, like Vettel driving past Gasly for 5th, Norris overtaking the Aussie’s position as 7th, and Hülkenberg getting to 9th in front of Albon.
- The heat was evidently up in the cold Silverstone tracks as even teammates figured in a contact incident. The two Haas cars had a collision incident in Lap 2, which forced Romain Grosjean to pit due to tyre punctures. Teammate Kevin Magnussen also had to pit for the same reason. It was no doubt a bad start for their team.
- From Lap 1 to 9, the Mercedes men alternately set the fastest laps from one to next, like it was a Mercedes race between the Finn and the Briton. On the other hand, the Haas team had a double disaster, with Magnussen retiring in Lap 8 and Grosjean in Lap 10.
- While the Silver Arrows raced wheel to wheel through Laps 10-12, heated duels between Ferrari and Red Bull were also taking place behind—Leclerc versus Verstappen and Vettel versus Gasly.
- Lap 13 was pit time for Gasly, who changed for hards and rejoined in the 10th position. Leclerc and Verstappen pitted together in Lap 14, both putting on mediums. They seemed to be so much in sync with each other that they even rejoined the race together!
- Vettel has not pitted yet. It’s Lap 14, and he’s 3rd from the lead. Both Mercedes cars, too, have yet to pit. In Lap 17, Bottas finally pitted and changed to fresh mediums. He rejoined behind Vettel.
- Hamilton and Vettel pitted in Lap 20 for hard tyres. Surprisingly, Verstappen also made for the pit after only 6 laps earlier for what could be his last pit stop. He lost his place to his teammate Gasly.
- In Lap 24, Verstappen and Leclerc were at each other again, but this time, the Dutchman got ahead of the Monegasque. However, they were now fighting for 5th instead of the 3rd position, with Vettel and Gasly in front of them.
- Hamilton was at the lead in Lap 27, with Bottas all over his back and Vettel taking 3rd. Suddenly, Verstappen has overtaken Gasly and charging on Vettel. Things were also heating up in the lower midfield as McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. winged his way from the 13th position, besting his teammate Norris and Renault’s Ricciardo to take the 7th position in Lap 28.
- It was a tough fight between Verstappen and Leclerc for the 3rd podium position from Laps 29 to 34. The strategists of the Red Bull team were on edge, too, with the Dutchman on P4 and the Monegasque on P5. A battle was also brewing between Albon, Räikkönen, and Hülkenberg for the 10th position.
- In Lap 36, Leclerc found his opportunity in Turn 3 and cleared past Gasly and on to the other Red Bull. Verstappen, though, had his eyes on the other Ferrari, stepping his game on the Hangar Straight to overcome Vettel at Stowe, which he did successfully. Reaching Vale, however, his back was hit by Vettel. This left the German with a damaged front wing that required another pit stop. Verstappen took 5th, while Vettel tailed behind in 17th.
- From Lap 40 onwards, it was alternating fastest laps between Hamilton and Bottas, with the Finn behind his teammate. What changed was Leclerc and Gasly who were now positioned in P3 and P4 respectively. Things could still change though with Bottas still needing one final pit stop (to change to another compound).
- Six laps more to go before Bottas pulled down for his final pit stop and changed to soft. From Lap 48 to 50, the battle was still on between the two Silver Arrows fighting for the lead. Trailing them were Leclerc, Verstappen, and Gasly. At this point, P6 was opened due to the crash between Vettel and Verstappen, with midfielders Sainz and Ricciardo fighting for it.
- The last two final laps went almost unchallenged, with Hamilton bagging the win but not before managing to sneak in the fastest lap and bonus point in Lap 52. The chequered flag was waved as he sped by, to the cheering home race crowd. Bottas secured the runner-up position, while Leclerc took the final spot in the podium. Gasly, grabbed P4 and was ahead of his teammate this time, who secured P5. Sainz finished P6, while Ricciardo settled with P7.
Hamilton won, while Leclerc was Driver of the Day
Hamilton’s victory made it his 80th career win, 7th win for this season, and 6th British GP win. For Mercedes, this marked its 51st 1-2 finish, 9th win for this season, and 7th British GP win. Leclerc maintained his place in the podium from start to finish but was strongly challenged by Verstappen, who pushed him to fight to the limit. The Driver of the Day called this race the one that he enjoyed most in his whole Formula One career.
Final result of the British GP, top 5
The podium winners did not change much, but there’s a new name for the top 5. Here’s what it looks like.
Team and Number
Red Bull, #10
Red Bull, #33
Championship standings before and after the 2019 British Grand Prix
Leclerc closed the gap between him and teammate Vettel in the overall standings after the 2019 British GP. Will the German Ferrari driver recover in the second half of the World Championship?
Team and Number
Points before the 2019 F1 Bristish GP
Points after the 2019 F1 British GP
Red Bull, #33
Challengers made Formula One exciting once again
Bottas was very disappointed and still couldn’t believe how the timing of a safety car stole an imminent win from him. Overall, however, it has been a day filled with surprises, not only for him but for other drivers as well. While Mercedes retained the top 1-2 podium spots, both for this race and overall, it has opened opportunities for other teams to sneak through the tight competition.
Refreshing highlights included Gasly overtaking his teammate who was fresh from an amazing Grand Prix win in Austria. Another was Sainz who showed up strong from the back to the top midfield, proving that the McLarens are up in the game and that they’re not leaving F1 to the top three teams.
Which teams will join the fray next in the succeeding grands prix? Watch out for the 2019 German Grand Prix—coming up next!