Formula One: Red Bull’s Max Verstappen wins 70th Anniversary GP
Dutch driver Max Verstappen showed great car management to take home his 9th overall career win, finishing ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas at Silverstone
Any thoughts that this would be another comfortable race for the two Mercedes cars were dashed after Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen showed determination and smart tyre management to win the F1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone, England on Sunday. This was the 22-year-old Dutch driver’s 9th overall career win and a first for Red Bull at the circuit since 2012.
Lewis Hamilton finished second, equalling Michael Schumacher’s record of 155 podium finishes, with his teammate Valtteri Bottas taking third spot on the podium—both the Mercedes experienced tyre blistering issues throughout the race. It was an overall satisfying day for Red Bull as Verstappen’s teammate Alex Albon put in another impressive shift to finish 5th, having started 9th, after pulling some mighty impressive overtakes during the race.
In what was otherwise a clean race—there were no safety cars and Kevin Magnussen of Haas Racing was the only retirement—all the attention was on tyre performances, as track temperatures at Silverstone went above 40 degrees Celsius. During the latter stages of the British Grand Prix last week, McLaren and Mercedes faced issues with their tyres, which saw Hamilton finishing the race on just three tyres.
For the 70th Anniversary GP on Sunday, Red Bull decided to start Verstappen on the harder compound tyres, a gamble that paid off well. Mercedes’ tyre performance in such hot conditions, meanwhile, wasn’t that great. Both Bottas and Verstappen started on medium tyres, which started to wear off, especially at the seams, not too long into the race.
Scuderia Ferrari had a mixed race—Charles Leclerc finished an impressive 4th, after starting the race at 8th. He pitted just once. But it was another disappointing outing for Sebastian Vettel, who spun around right at the first corner after the start and struggled later on. He finished 12th, outside the points tally. Vettel’s recent form has been patchy, riddled with driving mistakes, and his farewell season with Ferrari is approaching quite a bitter end.
One person who didn’t have a bitter performance was Racing Point’s Nico Hulkenberg, who was P3 on the starting grid—253 days since his last Formula One Grand Prix start. He finished 7th, behind his team-mate Lance Stroll who took P6. This was an impressive performance by the 32-year-old German who was drafted in as a replacement for Mexican Sergio Perez, after Perez tested positive for covid-19, before last week’s race.
In the end, the 70th anniversary GP, which commemorated the first round of the F1 world championship that took place at Silverstone in 1950, lived up to its billing. Hamilton still leads the drivers championship this season by 30 points, but he will now be looking over his shoulder as Verstappen’s victory took him beyond Bottas into second on the table.
Ahead of next week’s race in Barcelona, Verstappen and Red Bull have shown that they can be the competitor to Mercedes that the neutrals have been waiting for in this year’s championship. In a post-race interview with commentator and former F1 driver Martin Brundle, even Verstappen agreed that this was an unexpected result. “I didn’t see it coming."
FIRST PUBLISHED10.08.2020 | 09:00 AM IST