Max Verstappen claimed a brilliant win in Formula 1’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone, bringing an end to the dominance of Mercedes which had claimed victory in the opening four races of the 2020 season.
Verstappen started fourth and quickly overhauled Racing Point’s Nico Hulkenberg on the opening lap as polesitter Valtteri Bottas fended off an early challenge from team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
What quickly became apparent was that the race would be a game of tyre management as those around Verstappen who started on the mediums quickly found them blistering, forcing them to make early stops.
Bottas came in on Lap 14 to switch to the hard tyre, swiftly followed by Hamilton, whilst Verstappen was able to run a far longer stint having started on the hard. He would take the lead and only relinquish it briefly to Bottas when he stopped on Lap 33, but dived down the inside at Brooklands to reclaim the position, where he would remain until the checkered flag.
Hamilton’s Late Charge
Bottas looked as though he’d be the top Mercedes on Sunday as Hamilton complained of severe blistering, with his pace reflecting his comments.
But a longer second stint on the hard tyre compared to his team-mate – Bottas stopped again on Lap 33 whilst Hamilton went to Lap 42 – helped the Briton’s strategy come into play and the fresher tyres led to Hamilton charging down Bottas in the closing laps to steal second.
Verstappen though remained out of reach and finished 11 seconds down the road to claim his and Red Bull’s first win of the season.
Over to the Midfield
Charles Leclerc claimed ‘best of the rest’ yet again as he dragged his Ferrari SF1000 to fourth place in a race of one as he finished ten seconds behind Bottas and ten seconds ahead of Alexander Albon, in what was another mixed day for Ferrari again as Sebastian Vettel’s misery continued.
Vettel span on the opening lap as he simply lost the rear under acceleration and although he recovered some positions after falling to the back, he could only muster P12 in what was a poor showing for the four-time World Champion.
Albon enjoyed one of his strongest performances to finish fifth, beating both Racing Point cars, although a late stop for Nico Hulkenberg cost him a better position as he had been running a strong fourth for much of the race – Racing Point later confirmed a vibration forced the late stop and believed he would have retired without it.
Renault’s Esteban Ocon just pipped McLaren’s Lando Norris to eighth, with AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat completing the top ten.
|1||M. Verstappen||Red Bull|
|5||A. Albon||Red Bull||+39.146|
|6||L. Stroll||Racing Point||+42.538|
|7||N. Hulkenberg||Racing Point||+55.951|
|15||K. Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||1L|
|17||A. Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||1L|