The Silverstone track never fails to deliver nail biting action, and boy were we treated to some edge of the seat stuff for this year's British Grand Prix, albeit there were no fans at the track.
There was already big news on Thursday night that Checo Perez was out with Covid-19 and a Certain Hulk would be making a comeback to his former team, now Racing Point (or more commonly called the Pink Mercedes). But a fairy tale return and the dreams of a podium were dashed even before Lights out as his car failed to fire up.
The race started with 19 cars on the grid, and both the Mercs led the field with Hamilton firmly in command. But there two safety car periods within the first 13 laps, first one caused by Magnussen and Albon at the final chicane, sending the Dane into the Barriers and earning Albon a 5 second penalty.
The second, when Danny Kvyat's right rear gave way at the end of the high-speed maggots-Becketts and Chapel complex, sending the Russian into the wall on lap 11.
Pic credits: Andrew Boyers/Pool via Getty Images)
Only 5 full racing laps were completed in the first 13 official laps, and the whole field with the exception of Grosjean had taken this opportunity to change on to the hard tyres, which were the much preferred race trims, with Pirelli having predicted a 40 lap life for the White side walled tyres.
Much of the race from then on was a three way Split, the Mercs at the head of the field trading fastest laps, and Verstappen in 3rd running a lonely race with over a pitstop ahead of 4th placed Ferrari of Leclerc, but still keeping the all-conquering Mercedes in check and honest.
But the real action was taking place in the mid field, with the two McLaren's, two Renault’s, and the sole remaining Racing point fighting it out for the best of the rest positions, and behind them Vettel and Gasly exchanging some great moves on each other.
McLaren initially seemed to have the upper hand over the Renault’s, but the wily old Honey Badger got the better of them at the closing stages to finish 4th amid some carnage at front, and Ocon getting ahead of Stroll to finish 6 th.And the Charging Red Bull of Albon, coming back from last place after making late Second stop to switch to the much faster Medium Tyres, he put in some spicy over takes to come back into the points and eventually finishing 8th.
But the real drama unfolded in the last 5 laps, with 3 of the top 5 cars suffering front left delamination. It originally started with Kimi losing his front wing at Chapel, that could have left debry on the track.
Bottas, who had been complaining about excessive vibrations and Vision problems in the penultimate 10 laps, and finally with 3 laps left, his left front gave up the ghost, and at the worst possible place for Valtteri, as he just crossed the pit entry and entered the Club corner, meaning he had to drive an entire lap on deflated tyre, eventually forcing him out of a points finish.Red Bull took this opportunity to pit Max, and put him out on softs in a bid to get the extra point for the fastest lap, only to be left wondering, what would have been if they hadn’t pitted. The next one to suffer the tyre blow out was Sainz, but fortunately this happened much closer to the pits, although he lost out on solid points, meaning his teammate with that Stunning new helmet, kept up his 100% record of last lap place gains.
Finally, Lewis comfortably leading the race, with over 35 seconds to 2nd placed Verstappen, had his Heart in the mouth situation, as his Left front gave up entering Laffield, leaving the 6 time world Champion having to drive 3/4th of the lap with 3 wheels on his wagon, and thanks to that huge buffer, was able to bring his stricken Mercedes just under 6 seconds ahead of the charging Verstappen, to cross the line and take a record 7th Home grand prix win.
Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
Never before in the 70 year history, had we seen a Tyre and a car in this situation winning a Grand prix, the racing gods certainly smiling on Lewis, who now opens up a 30 point gap to his teammate, which could go a long way in this shortened season.
And with temperatures predicted to be hotter than this week and a step softer tyre choice for the next week’s 70th anniversary grand prix, Silverstone is ready to host another thriller, where it all began.
Srikanth N is an MBA graduate from IIM Visakhapatnam .He is a die hard fan of Formula 1, and other motor sports.Big Lewis fan, and waiting to see him surpass Schumacher’s records.He also likes to analyse and critique F1 and F2 race weekends.