70th ANNIVERSARY GP – Max Verstappen undercuts the Mercedes to secure first win of the season

Testing & Race Reports

Max Verstappen has taken his first win of the season after finishing eleven seconds ahead of the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton to win the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. The Dutchman managed to undercut Mercedes during the second pit stop to inherit the lead after stopping before the Mercedes.

Verstappen stopped ahead of the two Mercedes who had attempted to try and get through the race on a single stop, but learning the lesson’s from last week Hamilton and Bottas were forced into an extra pit stop later than the Dutchman.

Mercedes looked as if they were coming unstuck by the tyres in a hot day at Silverstone, after qualifying on the medium tyre yesterday that was possibly going to be a challenge as Red Bull had the harder tyre which allowed them to go longer into the race.

That could be problematic going to Barcelona next weekend where the weather is expected to be slightly hotter, but they were the fastest throughout pre-season testing back in February.

Verstappen said, “After the first stint it seemed like we were really good on tyres. Of course, there was a question mark how Mercedes were gonna go on the hard tyre. We had a lot of pace in the car and I didn’t really have a lot of tyre issues at all. We just kept pushing.”

Hamilton added, “Definitely unexpected to have the blistering as hardcore as we experienced. But I’m really grateful to progress and manage my way through until the end. I’m sure the team will be working as hard as they can because we’ve not had that [tyre issues] before.”

Bottas added, “Very frustrating. Obviously starting from pole and finishing third is not ideal As a team we were sleeping at some point when Max managed to get ahead of us and my strategy was far, far from ideal. Lots to learn from today, I think.”

Verstappen ran a long on his first stint to set himself up for victory, despite dropping back following the pit stop but managed to pass Bottas for the lead. The Finn was the first of the two Mercedes to make a second stop, as the Red Bull made his first.

Hamilton, however, would need to wait for another nine laps, with Red Bull briefly concerned he would try to go to the end despite the blisters down the middle of both of the world champion’s rear tyres. He rejoined fourth on lap 45, getting passed Charles Leclerc immediately to gain third.

Hamilton then set about chasing down Leclerc who was having to manage his tyres doing a one-stop, the Ferrari appeared not to put up much of a fight allowing Hamilton through. However, did manage to finish ten seconds ahead of the second Red Bull of Alex Albon.

The British-Thai driver who started ninth made brilliant moves throughout the race working his way through. He made several passes, including around the outside of Copse to pass Kimi Raikkonen and Lando Norris, to finish fifth following an early switch to hards.

Later in the race Albon also passed Lance Stroll, Nico Hulkenberg was the big loser in terms of strategy doing a three-stop race finishing behind the Canadian in seventh. The row continuing about the Racing Points illegal brake ducts, Renault again protesting because the team were allowed to run them this weekend.

Esteban Ocon was eighth the highest placed of the midfield one stoppers, he worked his way up from fourteen with a single stop on lap twenty-two. The Renault driver working his way up to finish ahead of the McLaren of Lando Norris, and the two Alpha Tauri’s. Daniil Kvyat taking tenth, while Pierre Gasly struggled on his second stint on hards dropping from seventh to eleventh.

It was another difficult Sebastian Vettel, he almost collided with Carlos Sainz who will replace him next season at Ferrari. That sent him into a spin after clouting a kerb and dropped to the back of the field, before rebuking his Ferrari team for a strategy call over the radio. Vettel finishing the race seven-tenths ahead of him.

Daniel Ricciardo was the first of the lapped cars in fourteenth ahead of the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen. The Renault driver suffering a spin midway through the race while battling Sainz but finished fourteenth after starting fifth.

Romain Grosjean was the only Haas to finish after Kevin Magnussen retired late in the race, George Russell was eighteenth ahead of teammate Nicholas Latifi.

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