Sunday, November 29, 2020

Verstappen shines as Mercedes blister in the heat

Max Verstappen won the F1 70th anniversary GP at Silverstone as the Red Bull proved much better on it’s tyres in the sweltering Northamptonshire heat. Starting from fourth on the grid took the lead after both Mercedes drivers pitted and never looked back.

Once again fears of back-to-back races at the same track being a carbon-copy were unfounded as Red Bull romped away from last weekends dominant Mercedes. While Hamilton and Bottas look to have no weaknesses on most tracks, the heat is a clear weakness for them. Both drivers suffering excessive blistering within 5 laps on their second stint.

Max Verstappen took full advantage of the Mercedes blistering
Max Verstappen took full advantage of the Mercedes blistering

There were no such problems for the Red Bull, with Verstappen able to stay out until the 26th lap, 12 laps longer than Hamilton, albeit on harder tyres. Verstappen came out just behind Bottas but made short work of the Fin before pulling clear.

Verstappen then put in a short burst of just six laps on the medium tyre before going back onto the hard tyre to complete a comfortable win.

Verstappen imperious at Silverstone

After the race Verstappen said, “I didn’t see it coming, but after the first stint we seemed really good on tyres and we didn’t have many tyres issues at all. It is a great result to win here and I am incredibly happy. We have not had an opportunity to push them so far this season. We need to use soft tyres – that seems to suit our car.”

Max Verstappen lifts the winners trophy at the F1 70th Anniversary GP
Max Verstappen lifts the winners trophy at the F1 70th Anniversary GP

A more downbeat Hamilton added, “It was a massive challenge today but congrats to Red Bull and Max, they didn’t have the problems we had. Unexpected to have blistering as hardcore as we experienced. I was managing the tyres like you couldn’t believe. In the middle stint, one half was bald and the other half was OK. I was afraid it was going to explode.”

Third-place man Bottas was dejected after turning pole into third, “It was very frustrating – starting on pole and finishing third. As a team we were sleeping at some points, Red Bull’s strategy was far better and we have to look at this. There was a chance to keep up with Max, but as soon as I pushed the tyres fall apart. When you have those blisters, you lose cornering grip.”

Bottas was likely disappointed to be so easily jumped by Hamilton in the third-phase of the race. Hamilton had a much longer second-stint after Bottas had to pit because of blistering, and this left him on much fresher faster tyres than his teammate at the end.

Bottas cut a dejected figure after claiming third spot
Bottas cut a dejected figure after claiming third spot

Red Bull pulled a masterstroke of strategy starting on the harder tyre, but it has to be said this race had a lot to do with the Mercedes being so much harder on it’s tyres. There was evidence of this last weekend when both drives suffered de-laminations, while the Red Bull seemed to have no such problems.

Onto Spain next week, where the forecast is for hot sunny weather. It could be another interesting weekend.

POSNODRIVERCARLAPSTIME/RETIREDPTS
133Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA521:19:41.99325
244Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES52+11.326s19
377Valtteri BottasMERCEDES52+19.231s15
416Charles LeclercFERRARI52+29.289s12
523Alexander AlbonRED BULL RACING HONDA52+39.146s10
618Lance StrollRACING POINT BWT MERCEDES52+42.538s8
727Nico HulkenbergRACING POINT BWT MERCEDES52+55.951s6
831Esteban OconRENAULT52+64.773s4
94Lando NorrisMCLAREN RENAULT52+65.544s2
1026Daniil KvyatALPHATAURI HONDA52+69.669s1
1110Pierre GaslyALPHATAURI HONDA52+70.642s0
125Sebastian VettelFERRARI52+73.370s0
1355Carlos SainzMCLAREN RENAULT52+74.070s0
143Daniel RicciardoRENAULT51+1 lap0
157Kimi RäikkönenALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI51+1 lap0
168Romain GrosjeanHAAS FERRARI51+1 lap0
1799Antonio GiovinazziALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI51+1 lap0
1863George RussellWILLIAMS MERCEDES51+1 lap0
196Nicholas LatifiWILLIAMS MERCEDES51+1 lap0
NC20Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI43DNF0

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