Formula 1

The winners and losers from the British Grand Prix

Aug 2 2020

The British GP will be rightly remembered for the late-race drama that put a sheen on what was before that a fairly unremarkable hour and a bit of track action.

But much of the list below – in which we pick our winners and losers of the first race of the Silverstone double-header – will have stayed the same even without the punctures that eventually livened up the show.

The winners

Lewis Hamilton

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship British Grand Prix Race Day Silverstone, England
Yes, obviously, because he was the literal winner. But there are wins and there are wins. This was the latter.

Another win on home soil for a driver for whom that sort of thing means a lot. Keeping your only realistic title rival under control pace-wise in qualifying and the race. Benefiting double when the same problem hits you and your title rival but costs him everything and costs you nothing in the end.

Seven British GP wins, including six from the last seven editions. A 30-point championship lead with perhaps a quarter of the season done. Back at the same circuit next week as the absolute favourite for victory.

Yes, this was a win. – Matt Beer

Charles Leclerc

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship British Grand Prix Race Day Silverstone, EnglandEven in light of this past race weekend, it would be a pretty bold claim to state that Charles Leclerc has comprehensively taken up the mantle of the number-one driver at Ferrari – what with Vettel outqualifying him in the two previous weekends, being the much less guilty party in their Styrian GP clash and outscoring Leclerc in Hungary.

And yet as it stands after four races Leclerc has more than three times the points of his four-time world champion team-mate and is responsible for both of Ferrari’s podiums.

Leclerc has had more luck than Vettel in 2020, but he definitely earned his luck across the British GP weekend. Ferrari looked every bit a ‘Class B’ car at Silverstone, but Leclerc got within touching distance of Max Verstappen on Saturday and then dominated the midfield battle on Sunday, despite previous concerns about Ferrari’s race pace.

Pace-wise it’s not where he or the team wants to be, but as far as maximising opportunities go, this was a prime example. – Valentin Khorounzhiy

Renault

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship British Grand Prix Race Day Silverstone, England Renault didn’t actually move up from sixth in the constructors’ championship with its double top-six finish at Silverstone, but it went from being cut adrift in increasingly embarrassing fashion to being back in the big fight for third place.

This is a team that’s had a habit of treading on its tail. If you were putting money on someone in Class B losing a car in Q2 a bit unnecessarily, having some bad luck late in a race, or retiring from a good position; Renault is often a good bet.

This week it was pretty quick and most crucially it executed its weekend well. Both Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon pulled off sharp moves that positioned them perfectly for when the race went mad in the final moments.

In previous incarnations, ‘Team Enstone’ often excelled at making things happen and pouncing into gaps left by others getting it wrong, but that knack was rather battered out of it in its turbulent recent years. It was good to see it back again today. – Matt Beer

Williams’ race pace

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship British Grand Prix Race Day Silverstone, EnglandWhile Williams has regularly been a qualifying star this season, its race pace has been woeful.

That changed at Silverstone as it shifted the bias of its set-up compromise more towards ensuring Sundays go well. The Q2 pace remained, but this time it was possible for George Russell and Nicholas Latifi at least to fight with the Alfa Romeos and also beat the off-sync Romain Grosjean.

An encouraging step, even if the points tally remains at zero. – Edd Straw

Pierre Gasly

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship British Grand Prix Race Day Silverstone, England

Gasly’s one-lap advantage over Kvyat again seemed to evaporate in race trim, to where the pair were just a few car lengths apart when Kvyat went off. During the resulting safety car and round of pitstops, Gasly slipped behind Giovinazzi, and his and AlphaTauri’s afternoon looked as good as done.

But he knuckled down, keeping the tyres in good shape during the ‘DRS train’ phase of the race and then launching a series of daring attacks on the cars ahead.

Giovinazzi, Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll fell by the wayside, and the late-race drama completed the transformation of what once looked to be a pointless race into a properly good day.

And yes, AlphaTauri’s nearest rival Renault scored more, but Gasly’s efforts in 2020 so far virtually already ensure his team is at least going to finish no lower than seventh in this year’s standings. – Valentin Khorounzhiy

The losers

Racing Point

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship British Grand Prix Race Day Silverstone, EnglandThis was a really poor return for a team that threatened to have podium-challenging pace in Friday practice.

Maybe there was nothing that could be done about the technical problem that ended Nico Hulkenberg’s F1 race return before it even started.

But an apparent compromise in one-lap pace, which may have played a part in Lance Stroll ‘only’ qualifying sixth, did not pay off at all in the grand prix.

Stroll made life difficult by giving up more track position early on and falling to eighth but he was disappointingly uncombative in the midfield, and while the DRS train that formed was an obvious roadblock in his recovery there never seemed any real threat he’d make progress.

Given the late punctures for Carlos Sainz Jr and Valtteri Bottas, Stroll should still have left a poor grand prix with sixth or seventh place.

Instead, he was ninth. Two measly points and another weekend of promise ultimately unfulfilled. – Scott Mitchell

Alex Albon

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship British Grand Prix Race Day Silverstone, England

A clash with Kevin Magnussen conspired to ruin Alex Albon’s prospects of charging to a good points finish, then late-race chaos allowed him to end the British Grand Prix with an unexpected eighth place.

But the pace in between was not good in a car that Max Verstappen used to keep the Mercedes drivers in sight for most of the race, and comfortably claim a podium finish.

And it was ultimately Albon’s fault he was in the midfield and able to have that Magnussen incident, because he underdelivered in qualifying.

This has been a sobering weekend for Albon. He’s good at picking himself up after setbacks and this is definitely a time for that quality to come to the fore. – Scott Mitchell

Sebastian Vettel

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship British Grand Prix Qualifying Day Silverstone, England

Wow. Where to start?

Ferrari effectively set him up to fail from the beginning (unintentionally, I’m sure) with a disastrous Friday that included an intercooler problem and pedal assembly issue.

With minimal track time – he lost running in final practice too with another pedal problem – Vettel went into qualifying underprepared and was visibly less happy with Ferrari’s trimmed out car than Charles Leclerc, so only ended up 10th on the grid and had to start on softs after lacking pace to get through Q2 on mediums like Leclerc did.

That condemned Vettel to a miserable, anonymous race in the midfield. Getting mugged by Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri added insult to injury. He was lucky to walk away with a point and must be baffled as to why it was so bad – and very, very keen for an answer. – Scott Mitchell

The stewards

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship British Grand Prix Race Day Silverstone, EnglandThe officials didn’t cover themselves in glory in this race, with the Magnussen/Albon verdict – explored in more detail elsewhere – not the only questionable judgement.

We saw the return of the black-and-white warning flag for Romain Grosjean’s questionable defence. Where’s that been since it won the Italian Grand Prix for Leclerc at Monza last year?

If that’s a serious option for race director Michael Masi to be using, it’s surprising it hasn’t been used more. There have been plenty of opportunities, but this just feeds into the growing bank of evidence that if an incident results in race-changing contact then it’s a penalty to somebody.

Grosjean’s defence itself was handled oddly. He was on his last chance but then another controversial move, which Ricciardo was seriously unhappy about, got shuffled to being investigated after the race.

Overall, this was not a day on which incidents in battle were judged quickly or soundly. – Scott Mitchell

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship British Grand Prix Race Day Silverstone, England

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