Hours ago the British GP came to a close and ended what has been an eventful weekend to say the least.
Things started off on a sour note when McLaren revealed that their Chief Executive Zak Brown would miss out on the British GP due to testing positive for COVID-19. Though he did say he would work from home and seemed to be doing ok. Hopefully, he’ll recover soon and rejoin the team at the next race.
Then, there was the Sprint Race that F1 decided to experiment with during the race weekend. Without going too deep, the Sprint format uses a short race to determine starting order for the race rather than the timed qualifying format that fans are used to. Furthermore, the top 3 finishers of the Sprint race earn a few points. 3 for first place, 2 for second, and 1 point for third. Starting order for the Sprint race is determined by the usual “knock out” qualifying session on Friday rather than Saturday.
Hamilton pulled out a stellar performance on Friday to earn the pole for the 17 lap Sprint race on Saturday. Max Verstappen topped the first free practice session so it was looking like he would have carried that momentum into qualifying. Yet, Hamilton managed to come out on top.
British GP Saturday Sprint Race
Unfortunately for Hamilton his pole position didn’t mean much once the lights went out for the Sprint Race. Lewis had a poor start and Max Verstappen capitalized on it. Getting attacked by Verstappen in the front and pressured by his teammate Valtteri Bottas in the back Lewis lost the lead before the first corner.
Once Max earned the lead, he never gave it back. Lewis made a few attempts at a pass but could not execute as Max had better command of the corners due to running a higher downforce set up.
British GP Sunday
With the starting grid set, everyone was expecting a very hard battle to unfold between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. Max would definitely want to expand his points lead, while Hamilton desperately needed a good result to remain a threat with the added pressure of racing for his home crowd.
So, it shouldn’t be surprising that when the race started the battle between the two drivers kicked off immediately and unfortunately ended in a violent way.
Accident between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen
Lewis made a few attempts at Max but couldn’t complete the move. Then, as the pair came into Turn 9 also known as “Copse corner”, Lewis made a move for the inside line of the high speed turn.
At one point Hamilton was completely along side of Verstappen as they came into the corner but as Hamilton reduced speed and Verstappen turned in, the two made contact which sent Verstappen off the track and into the tire barrier.
It was a scary, 51G impact but luckily Verstappen was able to get out of the car on his own power and walked away. However, later on Max complained of dizziness and was taken to a hospital to get checked out. Eventually, doctors cleared the young driver.
The race was red flagged as course workers needed to make repairs to the tire barrier. Less than an hour later, the race resumed with a standing restart. Before the race was stopped, due to his impact with Verstappen, Hamilton had front wing damage which caused him to lose a spot to Charles Leclerc.
Having clear track ahead of him Leclerc took full advantage of the restart and managed to put some distance between himself and the rest of the pack. Towards the middle of the pack Sebastian Vettel spun and ended up on the old pit late but was able to recover.
It was then that the stewards announced that they were giving a 10 second penalty to Lewis Hamilton for the collision with Max Verstappen. Hamilton had to serve the penalty during a pit stop which would come later.
On Lap 15 Charles Leclerc started to have engine problems as he was losing power randomly and then it would come back. Despite the troubles he was able to stay ahead but it caused the gap between him and Hamilton to close quite a bit.
With Leclerc still in the lead, Hamilton made his pit stop on lap 28 and served his penalty. He was able to come out of the pits in 5th place which is not bad all things considered.
Lewis fought his way past fellow Brit Lando Norris at the very Copse corner in which he had his previous incident with Max. He then got past Bottas thanks to team orders so he was back to pressuring Leclerc in no time. By this time there were 12 laps left in the race. Leclerc had the lead and it was looking like his race to win.
With two laps left Lewis closed in on Charles, once again coming into Copse corner and one again Lewis took the inside line against Leclerc. However, this time Leclerc, perhaps out of an abundance of caution, went too wide and Hamilton got by with ease.
From there Hamilton took the win, with Leclerc taking second and Bottas nabbing third.
With Verstappen out of the race and Hamilton winning his home race, Lewis is now just 8 points behind Verstappen. Needless to say, Red Bull is not happy about the situation and it is almost guaranteed that Christian Horner will be pushing for a harsher punishment.
The gloves are officially off now and the rest this season is going to be chippy between Red Bull and Mercedes from here on out.
The next race in Hungary is going to be interesting to say the least…
What did you think about the British Grand Prix? What is your take on the Sprint Race? Who do you think is at fault for the crash between Hamilton and Verstappen? Let us know in the comments below or tweet to us at @MotorworldHype.