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British Grand Prix: Five key talking points

British Grand Prix: Five key talking points

F1 News

British Grand Prix: Five key talking points

British Grand Prix: Five key talking points

Formula 1 returned from its first mini-break with a dramatic British Grand Prix weekend, as Lewis Hamilton hauled his stricken Mercedes over the line to take a much less comfortable Silverstone victory than it first appeared he would enjoy.

With team-mate Valtteri Bottas dropping outside the points with his own tyre problems, Hamilton extended his championship lead to 30.

What better place to start then, than taking a look at Mercedes' dominant weekend that fell apart - literally - at the end.

Mercedes - Not even a tyre failure can stop Hamilton

For many reasons, last weekend was akin to the beginning of the turbo-hybrid era. Mercedes qualified one whole second faster than Max Verstappen in third, before stretching their legs after the race’s early safety car periods.

Hamilton always looked comfortable. Bottas was there with him all the way, putting pressure on the lead Mercedes, but never looked like battling his team-mate for position.

When Bottas started to drop back towards the end, it seemed to just be a matter of coasting to a simple one-two finish, with Verstappen in his own race some nine seconds behind.

But at the start of lap 50 of 52, Bottas’ front-left delaminated. The Finn managed to pit, but such was the time lost he would finish outside of the points in 11th.

As for Hamilton, while the team considered pitting him, he continued, only to suffer the same fate as Bottas halfway into the final lap.

A fast-approaching Verstappen, who had pitted himself knowing he was in a safe second and in a bid to get the extra point for fastest lap, closed to within six seconds of Hamilton by the flag.

The image of the Briton taking the chequered flag on only three wheels will live long in the memory.

Racing Point - Has the 'pink Mercedes' inherited Silver Arrows' inner diva?

Yes, we are talking about the good old 'Tracing Point' again, although not in the positive manner many thought it would be coming away from Silverstone. On paper, the track across the way from its factory should have suited the RP20.

The car again looked fast in Friday practice with Lance Stroll topping the charts in the afternoon. Nico Hülkenberg - standing in for Sergio Perez - looked pretty handy, too, given he had not driven an F1 car for nine months, and due to a lack of sleep after his last-minute call-up.

So why then was the car struggling in qualifying and slower than Leclerc's Ferrari, both Renaults, both McLarens and Pierre Gasly's Alpha Tauri?

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff once described the 2017 W08 as "a bit of a diva" due to its handling in changing conditions through a weekend.

Given the change in climate between the scorching Friday sessions and the cooler, cloudier race day, the Racing Point may also be something of a diva.

Red Bull - Is Alex Albon in trouble?

Alex Albon has had a difficult few races since his accident with Lewis Hamilton at the season-opener in Austria. After struggling for pace and confidence in Hungary, he desperately needed a strong weekend at Silverstone to lift himself up.

However, the likeable Thai-British driver had the worst start possible with a heavy smash at Stowe in FP2. Added to that was the time lost through an electrical issue on Saturday morning, which meant he headed into qualifying on the back foot. It showed.

Albon was knocked out of Q2, on merit, whilst team-mate Verstappen was in his own world in third. Cue the whisperings of Albon being in trouble at Red Bull, with Gasly being lined up for a return.

Sending Kevin Magnussen off track at the end of lap one and incurring a five-second time penalty did nothing to help his weekend. But through some stunning pace at the death, Albon managed to take eighth. Not bad after everything he went through...

Williams - First triple-header was no fluke

Williams continued its resurgence with another encouraging weekend. George Russell made it into Q2 for the third successive race, although he would pick up a five-place grid penalty for failing to slow for yellow flags, ironically caused by team-mate Nicholas Latifi.

The main criticism from both drivers so far has been how the team loses pace between Saturday and Sunday. However, it was much more competitive at Silverstone, with Russell finishing 12th, while even Latifi was in the mix - fighting with Antonio Giovinazzi over 14th.

If Latifi can continue to settle in with the team as the car improves, both drivers could be a threat to the lower midfield throughout the season.

Formula 1's Covid-19 regulations are working

As you would have seen so far this season, the Formula 1 paddock is a very different environment to the usual hustle and bustle of a race weekend.

Teams have been divided into bubbles, which in turn house sub-bubbles. Social distancing measures are strict, and from media interviews to podium ceremonies, everything has changed.

As surprising as the news of Sergio Perez's positive test on Thursday was, it does shine a positive light on how F1 is dealing with the difficulties posed by the pandemic.

That no-one else from Perez's bubble, let alone the rest of the paddock was affected - even one person out of the thousands of tests taken - proves the measures in place will keep the show on the road.

Hopefully, Perez is back in the car sooner rather than later.

Before you leave...

Unhappy Wolff feeling absolved by late Mercedes tyre drama

Sainz fumes at "scarily dangerous" Grosjean for "unacceptable" manoeuvre

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