F1 Today – 04/08/2020

F1 Today

Hamilton still managed 143 mph despite tyre failure

Mercedes say that Lewis Hamilton still clocked a mighty 230 km/h – 143mph, down Silverstone’s long Hangar Straight despite the left-front tyre being almost destroyed.

As the six-time champion began his final lap with a thirty-second lead his tyre failed as he approached the entry to the pit lane. Hamilton then faced a difficult challenge of managing the tyre failure as Max Verstappen tried to close in.

Pirelli, F1’s tyre suppliers, has launched an investigation into the cause of the three punctures late in the race after Hamilton’s team-mate, Valtteri Bottas, and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz suffered the same fates.

It is believed that the manufacturer’s investigation will centre on tyre wear at the end of long stints on the hard compound and the possibility of track debris also playing a role after several incidents during the race.

But there will be concerns going into this weekends race about the softer tyres to mix up the action. F1 managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn, Hamilton’s first-team boss at Mercedes, on Monday described the Englishman’s driving on the final lap as “mind-blowing”.

Brawn in his post-race column said “No front left tyre on the car and he still took Copse and Stowe corners at more than 130km/h. He reached 230km/h on the straight with only three wheels, and a front left tyre flailing around – absolutely mind-blowing.”

“He judged it to perfection to win the race by a few seconds and a brilliant example of the amazing talents and bravery of Lewis” Arguably the race could be one of the best and most memorable wins of his career despite the dramatic final lap.

Hamilton told Sky Sports, “I nearly didn’t make it through the next two corners – particularly Turn Seven – and, rather than panicking, I was ‘okay, how do I get this thing home?’”

“I only have half a lap or whatever it is to get back. How can to get back? Am I going to lose this race? All these questions starting going and you’re like ‘no, keep going, keep up the power and keep up the speed’.” He then said that he tried to accelerate as the tyres deflated and hold onto the lead of the race.

He did manage to and take his seventh win at his home Grand Prix


‘biggest forces ever’ caused tyre failures

Pirelli says it investigation into the race changing tyre punchers at the end of the British Grand Prix were caused by long stints, and the 2020 cars producing the ‘biggest forces ever’.

But they are still going to press ahead with plans to bring softer tyres to this weekend’s second Silverstone race, the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

There was a dramatic conclusion to the race when Valtteri Bottas in second and Carlos Sainz in fifth both suffered tyre failures dropping them out of the points, before race winner Lewis Hamilton’s tyre failed with half a lap to go. But the six-times champion still managed to win the race for the seventh time.

Pirelli’s inquiry concluded that the failures were because of heavy wear from “extremely long use” on a high-speed track. Also noting that the 2020 F1 cars are around a second-per-lap faster than last year’s, leading to “the biggest forces ever seen on tyres”.

A statement said, “The key reason is down to a set of individual race circumstances that led to an extremely long use of the second set of tyres. The second safety car period prompted nearly all the teams to anticipate their planned pit stop and so carry out a particularly long final stint:

“Which is more than three-quarters the total race length on one of the most demanding tracks of the calendar.”

“Overall result was the most challenging operating conditions for tyres. These led to the front-left tyre (which is well-known for working hardest at Silverstone) being placed under maximum stress after a very high number of laps, with the resulting high wear meaning that it was less protected from the extreme forces in play.”

For this weekend’s second race at Silverstone, they have decided to stick with one step softer tyres.


Vettel struggling to explain lack of confidence

Sebastian Vettel was at a loss to explain his “very difficult” British Grand Prix struggles and admits he is currently lacking confidence in the Ferrari. Ferrari’s race was a bit mixed as teammate Charles Leclerc says he “extracted the maximum” and secured a surprise podium.

While the four-time champion was overtaken by many midfield cars during the race and he only managed tenth. His weekend certainly wasn’t helped with both of Friday’s practice sessions being interrupted, but still, he was nowhere near the pace of his team-mate.

Vettel told Sky Sport, “The result was very poor, but the car was very difficult to drive. I struggled to find confidence, and I don’t know why, so we need to have a good look.”

“But certainly if I struggled for so many laps in the race and it was the beginning to the end, there’s something that probably doesn’t stack up.” Vettel has had a difficult year, knowing he is leaving Ferrari and the end of the season.

The only highlight so far was his strong race in Hungary, however, he had two incidents one which wasn’t his fault in Austria, while Sunday’s lack of pace was alarming.

He explained, “I didn’t have the required pace and so my confidence level is quite low at the moment, because I’m struggling to get a feel for the car and every time I try and push, I lose the car.”

Vettel also reviled that there should have been no big difference in performance between his and Leclerc’s cars.


Ferrari restructuring allows Binotto to step back

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says the recent restructuring of the team has allowed him to step back from his involvement in the technical department.

Since moving up from his technical director role to become team boss last year, Binotto has had to juggle responsibilities across the entire manufacturer, which has left him stretched at times. Following the team’s difficult start to the season last week Ferrari announced the creation of a new performance development division.

The changes will now allow Binotto to move away from being directly hands-on with technical aspects, so he can better focus on other aspects that will help Ferrari. Speaking about the changes, Binotto told Motorsport.com, “It took some time organise ourselves, to make sure the technical department was reorganised. It’s not something you do in one day.”

“I am able, now that we’ve got people in the right role, having responsibilities and able to do the right job, to not do any more of the technical director job. There are other people doing it.”

Last week Ferrari chairman John Elkann declared his full support for the job that Binotto was doing, as he made clear he was not expecting the team to get back to winning ways before 2022.

Asked about that backing, allied to the challenges of his job, Binotto told Channel 4: “It’s certainly difficult, but it is as well an honour, we should not forget that. I think if you look back, we have had competitive seasons. We are not competitive at all today, but I’m pretty sure we can reverse it in the future.”

Binotto says that they all share the same vision and objective, but there is no silver bullet to get there.


Extinction Rebellion protesters arrested

Four members of the climate change action group Extinction Rebellion have been arrested after they gained access to Silverstone for Sunday’s behind-closed-doors British Grand Prix.

It is believed that the four climate change protesters evaded security by wearing orange marshals uniforms. They unfurled an “Act Now” banner as the cars set off on the formation lap before they were stopped by track security.

A joint statement issued by Silverstone and Northamptonshire Police read: “During the race, Northamptonshire Police were made aware of four people who had been detained by Silverstone security inside the venue perimeter.

The incident will be a concern for F1 as it breached the closed doors bubble, which has been in place as part of measures to help stop the spread of Coronavirus.

The group says the aim of the protest was not to disrupt the race but to send a message that “the world is way off track to stop the climate and ecological emergency”.

“Today was an opportunity to remind the world that the climate and ecological crisis hasn’t gone away and is intensifying every day,” said Donald Bell from Extinction Rebellion Cambridge.

XR says that F1 has taken bold steps and pledging to go net-zero by 2030, which makes mockery of the UK government and EU’s 2050 target.


Magnussen criticises Albon’s “poorly judged” overtake

Kevin Magnussen has criticised Red Bull’s Alexander Albon for a “poorly judged” overtake attempt that ended the Haas driver’s British Grand Prix. Magnussen crashed out at the end of the opening lap after being hit by Albon at the final corner.

A mistake by Magnussen exiting the penultimate corner left him out of shape for Club, opening the door for Albon to try and overtake up the inside. Then Albon found out there was not enough room to pass the Haas car, resulting in contact despite a late attempt to back out of the move.

The Dane ended up in the gravel trap which brought his race to an early end, and Albon was left with car damage and landed a five-second time penalty for the incident. Magnussen says he doesn’t know while Albon was in a rush to get the move done, and believes he would have got through not long after had he been more patient.

Magnussen said, “By the time I saw him, it was way too late for me to really give him any room. I think it would have been very easy for him to wait. He had a way faster car, he would have easily gone past me anyway.”

“I don’t think he would have had a very difficult time if he had not taken that huge risk right there. He would have probably done it the next corner even.”

Albon described the penalty “50-50” when asked about the incident after the race, having fought back through the field to finish eighth.

Albon explained “Kevin went off the track, and the way he came on, there was a space there initially. I realised he doesn’t see me or the gap is closing very quickly, and I tried to get away from it. At that closing speed, it was just too much.”

One practice for Imola weekend

F1 has announced that there will only be one ninety-minute practice session for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Imola as part of the event’s condensed timetable.

Imola is returning to the F1 calendar after a 14-year absence as one of four circuits, as well as Mugello, the Nürburgring and the Algarve,– so far to get deals to host a race as part of F1’s push to reorganise its 2020 calendar following the coronavirus pandemic disruption.

When the revised calendar was announced F1 had decided to give the teams an extra day for travel to complete the approximate 1500-mile distance from the Algarve track, which will host the returning Portuguese Grand Prix the weekend before Imola’s race on 1 November.

The format for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix will be a single 90-minute practice session, starting at 10 am CEST, on Saturday 31 October, followed by the usual qualifying session two-and-a-half hours later at 2 pm.

The race will begin at 1.10 pm CET, which is two hours earlier than normal for continental European events, which in normal seasons F1 would not be visiting so late in the year. The race weekend also takes place on the weekend when the clock changes in Europe meaning it gets darker earlier.

It remains unclear what the rest of the Imola timetable will contain as the Formula 2 has only been confirmed as racing until the Russian Grand Prix in September and Formula 3’s rearranged calendar so far ends with the Mugello race on 11-13 September.


Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.