F1 – British GP – Race
Hello, MiniFans! The atmosphere at Silverstone started the race day with a bang, as the fans were celebrating their three drivers among the seven fastest, plus a front row for Norris. However, it still remains to see whether they’ll be able to put up a fight to Verstappen, who is once again starting from pole.
The choice of a one-stop strategy was clearly in the minds of many, as most were sporting medium tyres on the grid, but the threatening clouds and rain on the horizon didn’t allow them to set the plans in stone. A very slow start from Verstappen made the grandstands roar as Norris overtook the Red Bull and Piastri kept attacking him, holding on for the whole lap. Further back, Russell made good use of his soft tyres, while his teammate did the opposite, dropping a couple places.
Once DRS was enabled, a good chunk of the grid had access to it, as most of the gaps were under a second, including the one between Norris and Verstappen. The device helped the Red Bull to get past, but the local driver wasn’t about to give up, who was also closely followed by his on teammate. Meanwhile, Russell, on softs and stuck in a Ferrari sandwich, was having all the problems trying to overtake that his teammate wasn’t, as Hamilton got past Alonso quite easily.
For the umpteenth time this season, a team instructed their drivers to hold positions and work together. In this case, the message was relayed to Norris, due to McLaren not having seen themselves in podium positions for a long time. They managed to keep close to Verstappen for almost ten laps, but a point came in which Norris couldn’t stay in the DRS zone, yet he still didn’t drop too far back, taking into account what we’re used to this season.
As it has been the norm, and the usual thing for the UK, some drops started to be reported, but the radar showed the clouds responsible for them were avoiding the track. Strategies started to be talked about on the radio, and Leclerc was the first from the top guys to pit for hards, in a bet to try and go to the end of the race. Verstappen was confused by this early stop, so he confirmed his own strategy, while Norris was also happy to stay out. Even the odd one out, Russell, still sporting his starting softs, was mostly keeping up the pace.
A second good stop for Ferrari, this time with Sainz as the main character, singled them out, as no one else from the top dogs was even hinting at pitting, with the exception of Russell, who got mediums in a not so good stop. However, he made up for the small mishap from his team and closed in on Leclerc very easily, overtaking him on the outside to the delirium of the grandstands. In a wide shot, Magnussen’s Haas could be seen smoking up, prompting a virtual safety car and being the catalyst needed for a wave of the cars at the front started to drizzle into the pitlane.
The top four hadn’t been able to pit under the VSC, as they had already gone past the pitlane entry, but a transition to a full safety car helped them to take advantage of the situation. Verstappen and Norris kept their places, but Piastri lost his provisional podium to Hamilton. A mix of tyres set an interesting pace ahead, as McLaren had chosen hards, while Verstappen, Hamilton and Alonso had opted for softs, and Russell was sporting the mediums he had fitted a while ago.
Verstappen’s tyre advantage made him do the restart very slow before his push, trying to cool down Norris’ tyre. However, the young Brit gritted his teeth and defended his position from Hamilton like a lion, down to making him back down in Copse. Further behind them, the three native Spanish speakers were in a line, with Alonso at the front and Pérez at the back. Their little meeting was soon interrupted, though, as Sainz lost a handful of positions in a very short time, dropping down to tenth.
Black and white flags due to track limits started to make an appearance in the last laps of the race, forcing drivers to be extremely careful about them, and making others push harder to try and force a mistake by their rivals, which did not come, leaving the same race winner as always but a new podium visitor for the delight of the British fans in the grandstands of Silverstone.
Seeing the start and the end, it may have seemed like yet another race where Verstappen led from beginning to end, with only the rookie not keeping up and losing his podium position. However, a better start by the McLarens momentarily slingshot Norris into first, to the delight of the fans at the track. Adding the different tyre strategies and a safety car in the pit stop window that shook things up even further, the race ended as one of the closest of the year, with McLaren handing its candidacy in to be taken into account as a contestant for the second best team of the season.