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70th Anniversary Grand Prix: Five key talking points

70th Anniversary Grand Prix: Five key talking points

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70th Anniversary Grand Prix: Five key talking points

70th Anniversary Grand Prix: Five key talking points

Max Verstappen took a sublime victory in the Formula 1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix to end Mercedes' dominant start to the 2020 season.

In the wake of the result, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has declared Red Bull to be genuine title contenders, a comment that would have raised more than a few eyebrows just one week ago.

For this list, the ongoing Racing Point brake duct saga has been omitted, as that is worthy of a list all of its own.

With that in mind, let's dive in and see how Red Bull pulled the victory off, plus the other big talking points from the second week at Silverstone.

Red Bull - Heat kings

After a one-two yet again in qualifying on Saturday, you could have been forgiven for believing we were in for another Mercedes masterclass on race day, but Red Bull and Verstappen had other ideas. though and managed to get through to Q3 on the hard tyre.

Having escaped Q2 on the hard tyre, the only driver to do so, Verstappen was an unknown quantity in the early stages of the grand prix, and it was this Saturday call that arguably won the race.

Verstappen was able to stick to the back of a medium-shod Hamilton through the first stint of the race, something which caused concern on the pit wall - Red Bull concerned about damaging the tyres in turbulent air while Mercedes worried about the strong pace of its rival.

Asked to back off slightly, Verstappen said he 'wasn't interested in driving like a grandma' and kept on pushing, after all, he could actually see a Mercedes on track for the first time all season.

Such was the effectiveness of the 33 car in the searing Silverstone heat, he was able to set what looked like qualifying laps once the front two had peeled into the pits.

When Verstappen eventually pitted himself, he rejoined directly behind Bottas, and with the Mercedes chewing through tyres at an alarming rate, the Dutchman wasted no time getting past.

The pass allowed Red Bull to then copy Bottas' strategy to the end of the race.

With warm weather expected at Spain next week and the three Italian races coming up, no wonder Wolff is preparing for a less-than-comfortable title run-in.

Ferrari - Vettel going through a tumultuous break-up

What on earth is happening to Sebastian Vettel? Following yet another spin on lap one, the German limped to P12 as team-mate Charles Leclerc again arguably outperformed the car with fourth place.

At turn one, Vettel hopped over the kerb and lost control of his Ferrari SF1000. Across the past few years, this is unfortunately just another individual error to add to a long list not befitting of a four time champion.

The car is clearly not the easiest to drive, but Leclerc has scored two podium finishes from the opening five race of the season and sits fourth in the standings on 45 points. In contrast, Vettel has less than a quarter of this points haul, with only ten to show for his efforts, as he sits 13th in the standings.

Whilst the Monegasque managed to haul his one-stopping Ferrari to fourth, Vettel became more and more irate on the radio, flabbergasted at how his strategy had ruined his race.

You can't help but feel the strategists would have been helped by Seb not pirouetting at Abbey.

Nico Hülkenberg - Will he return in 2021?

If you were running a team and sorting out contracts for 2021, Hülkenberg would surely be among the top contenders for a seat.

Robbed of his comeback one week ago at the British Grand Prix, the German made the most of his second opportunity at the 70th Anniversary race.

Stunning team-mate Lance Stroll in qualifying by taking third behind only the two Mercedes, a late stop in the race changed things.

Running fourth with Stroll fifth, Hülkenberg was suffering with increasing vibrations through his front left tyre and, was forced to stop in the closing stages to prevent of a repeat of the tyre failures seen at the British Grand Prix.

The stop Hülkenberg dropped him to seventh but, with the German expected to step aside for the returning Sergio Perez at next weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, he has done his future career no harm.

McLaren - Start of season pace not all what it seems?

McLaren has had a much-improved start to the season, finally fighting for, and claiming, podiums and the higher points scoring positions.

But at the second Silverstone weekend the team appeared to be struggling with Lando Norris qualifying 10th and Carlos Sainz 13th. The team itself admitted this was where they expected to be, saying their form a week earlier was down to the poor performances of others.

Allowing for this, Sainz was having a strong race running a carbon copy of Verstappen's race-winning strategy. The Spaniard was able to use his tyre life at the end of the first stint to go longer and effectively overcut his midfield rivals. Then it all went wrong.

A wheel gun issue delayed Sainz and fed him back into traffic, ruining his chance of points. Norris finished ninth, but the weekend was a hefty bump back down to terra firma for the team.

Pirelli - Tyre provider must take credit for intriguing race

Pirelli came under yet more heavy criticism following the three late tyre delaminations at the British Grand Prix, with many concerned about the prospect of using softer tyres at the Anniversary Grand Prix.

The concern would have heightened with the sight of Christian Lundgaard's front-left tyre letting go in Sunday morning's Formula 2 race. However, Pirelli absolutely got everything right.

Tyre pressures were adjusted. Teams were again reminded the tyres do have a shelf life and if those recommended stints were ignored, consequences would follow.

What we did get was a fantastically intriguing race, with strategy being brought into the equation. Leclerc was rewarded for nursing his car through a one-stop race, Red Bull also rewarded for excellent tyre conservation. Mercedes experienced horrible blistering, as did others, but importantly the cars were safe.

Fingers crossed, the exciting racing continues.

Before you go...

Impressive Albon answers "unfair" criticism

Verstappen victory a "monumental team effort" says Horner

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