Max Verstappen made the history books once again, taking victory at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. Temperatures were through the rough for the entirety of the race, for both the track and the tires. Thanks to Pirelli allocating the softer compound tires today, the strategy gambles were even fiercer. The 70th Anniversary Grand Prix was a banger of a celebration, and here at F1ntastic, we’re going to review it.
Hamilton and Verstappen make the History Books Once again
In the 2020 British Grand Prix Race Review, the Facts and Stats debuted in Race Reviews. This will now continue for every race review. This means that we will always take a look at the facts and stats before moving on to the events of the race. There are plenty of facts and stats to take away from this race, so let’s get into it!
Stats from 70 years of Formula 1
- There have been 775 drivers and 170 constructors in Formula 1.
- There are 39 different nationalities for drivers in Formula 1 history.
- 108 drivers have taken the top step of the podium, the first one to do so being Giuseppe Farina.
- There are 33 Formula 1 Driver’s World Champions, and there are 15 Formula 1 Constructors’ World Champions.
70th Anniversary Grand Prix Facts & Stats
- For 7 Grands Prix in a row before the Anniversary GP, the polesitter of the race became the winner. Max Verstappen is the one who broke the streak, which started with Lewis Hamilton’s victory in Mexico in 2019.
- Red Bull emerged victorious in the form of Mark Webber’s British GP victory in 2012. For the first time since then, Red Bull has won in Silverstone, with Verstappen leading the way.
- For the first time in 31 years, Red Bull’s engine suppliers, Honda, have won at Silverstone. Alain Prost’s win with McLaren at Silverstone in 1989 was Honda’s last British win before 2020.
- Max Verstappen now holds the record for the most F1 starts by a Dutch driver, beating his own father Jos’s record of 106. Jos Verstappen is a Dutch Formula 1 driver who used to race in Formula 1 from 1994 – 2003.
- Max’s teammate Alex Albon has done 14 races with Red Bull, his first being 2019 Belgian GP. The Anniversary GP saw his 8th Top-5 finish since then.
- Lewis Hamilton has never been beaten by his teammate at Silverstone in the turbo-hybrid engine era, which started in 2014. Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valterri Bottas had a chance of changing that this race, but it didn’t happen.
- However, Nico Rosberg did beat Hamilton in 2013 when he won the British Grand Prix. That was a year before the hybrid era.
Do you want me to write a post about all the Formula 1 engine eras? Let me know in the comments below!
- After this race, Hamilton has finished either 1st or 2nd at Silverstone for 8 races in a row.
- Michael Schumacher held the record for the most podium finishes Formula 1 with 155. Hamilton’s 2nd place finish allowed him to equal that record.
- Nick Heidfeld holds the record for consecutive classified finishes. Hamilton now has 38, meaning he needs just 3 more to equal Heidfeld’s record.
- Racing Point’s Lance Stroll is on a roll, with the 70th Anniversary GP being a 4th consecutive points finish for him. The Canadian is on a career-best run, and he is hoping to make it longer.
- Stroll scored a total of 21 points last season. This year, in just 5 races, he has already scored 28 points.
- Sunday the 9th of August was the date when the 70th Anniversary GP took place. This was 252 days after the last time Nico Hulkenberg started an F1 race, which was on Sunday the 1st December 2019, for the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
- The Hulk finished this race in P7. This allowed him to keep his 100% finishing record at Silverstone. Of course, this is only for the races he actually started, which doesn’t include the 2020 British Grand Prix.
- In Hulkenberg’s last 6 proper actual starts at Silverstone, the German has always finished in the top 8.
- The Renault of Esteban Ocon finished in P8. In 4 of the 5 races that have happened in 2020 so far, the lead Renault has finished 8th.
- Sebastian Vettel had another dismal race at Silverstone, finishing in P12 after a spin on Lap 1. He has now failed to finish above P10 in his last 3 starts at Silverstone. He finished in 16th in 2019, He finished in 10th at the British GP this year, and 12th at the 70th Anniversary GP.
- Lando Norris had a much better race with McLaren, finishing in P9, and allowing McLaren to have scored in every race of 2020 so far.
- Daniil Kvyat finished in P10, which is his 2nd point of 2020. He had a bad qualifying, starting the race in P15 after the stewards deleted his fastest time because he exceeded track limits. That also means the stewards knocked him out of Q1.
- The Haas of Kevin Magnussen was the first driver to retire this race. This has now happened for 3 consecutive races at Silverstone. In 2019, Magnussen made contact with his teammate Romain Grosjean. Magnussen got the puncture first and retired first. In 2020, he had a lap 1 crash with Alex Albon. And at the 70th Anniversary GP, he retired on Lap 45, with just 7 laps to go in the race. Magnussen retired because he had no usable tires left to put on the car, and the vibrations from the rubber of his worn tires were very bad and could’ve badly damaged the suspension of the car.
- This retirement was the only retirement of this race, the least retirements in a Grand Prix at Silverstone in F1 history.
- Kimi Raikkonen also broke an F1 record today. The Finn broke Michael Schumacher’s record of most laps raced in F1 history, with Schumacher having raced 16,825 laps and Kimi having raced 16,845 for now.
What Made The 70th Anniversary Grand Prix So Exciting
This Race Had No Safety Cars, Punctures, Or Crashes
The last 8 races at Silverstone, so the last 8 British Grands Prix, have all had at least one Safety Car period. This means that for the first time in 8 years, the Safety Car hasn’t come out at Silverstone. There were no massive crashes this race. There were no last-lap punctures and the race leader didn’t limp to the line. But that’s the greatest thing about the Anniversary GP; it was exciting in its own way. There were multiple major factors that were in play throughout the race, that affected the results of the race. I say that this race was the perfect celebration for 70 years of Formula 1. The first factor of this race we will look at is the track temperature. The track temperature was basically the main factor of this race.
As mentioned above, the track temperatures were pretty much the main factor of the race. It was like the trunk of a tree, which created different branches of what shaped up the race. That’s how I have structured this Race Review; we are going to go through the trunk, and then out into the branches of the tree.
The track temps weren’t looking good. I mean, can you imagine the track hitting temperatures of 43°C? That is incredibly hot! That was the Silverstone track temperature on the 9th of August when the 70th Anniversary GP took place. Track temperature is the temperature of the asphalt, the temperature of the road itself. A Grand Prix circuit is made of asphalt that absorbs heat from the sun and makes the track warmer than the air temperature. The track temps are often around 10°C more than the air temps. So if the temperature at Silverstone was around 32°C or 33°C, then the temperature of the track itself would be 43°C. The tires just couldn’t bear this, and we will now head to the first branch of the tree.
The Tires Were MELTING
Track temperatures were very high, so the tires were screaming for help. This weekend’s tires were softer than last weekend’s tires, so they were even more susceptible to wear, and they could heat up easier. People were pondering in the middle of the race whether Pirelli made the right decision to give teams the C2, C3, and C4 tires rather than the C1, C2, and C3 allocation. Many tires were badly blistered within a few laps of those tires being used. I’m talking about Hard tires, which were the most durable tires available. Nobody used the Soft tires, because the fastest compound would end up making you the slowest, either by extreme tire wear or blistering or by a puncture.
A blister is what happens in an F1 tire when it overheats. Because the tire is so hot, the rubber starts to soften, it starts to melt. This usually happens to a few parts of the tire. Chunks of rubber melt off the tire, making gaps in the tire. As you can see in the image below, Hamilton’s hard tires, which he put on a few laps before the end of the race, are badly blistered. It is also very dirty because drivers use the rubber the tires shed to increase the weight of the car because those pieces of rubber start to stick to the tires.
Back to blistering, most of the blistering happen down the middle of the tire. When it comes to the front tires, the blistering may be more towards the outer edge of the tire, but in the rear tires, where most drivers were facing problems this race, the blistering is normally down the middle.
Nico Hulkenberg actually went onto the Soft tires just a few laps before the end of the race. He came into the pits because the vibrations from the rubber of his hard tires were really bad. He put on the softs because there were very few laps left in the race, and because he wouldn’t have the option to put on other tires anyway. The Hulk finished in P7. He could’ve finished higher if it wasn’t for the pitstop, but P7 is a worldly result for a driver who hasn’t actually been in an F1 race for so long anyway, so Hulkenberg and all his fans, and the majority of F1 fans, would be happy with that.
Mercedes’ Weak Point
Any F1 fan who has known about Mercedes for at least one season of F1 would know their weakness. The heat. In the hottest races, like the Austrian Grand Prix, Mercedes would be weaker than their normal form. Take the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix as an example.
In the 2020 season opener itself, Mercedes were having problems. Both the drivers got radio messages multiple times to stay off the kerbs due to gearbox sensory issues. This is proof that Mercedes are weaker in the heat. The Safety Cars and these car issues let the rest of the field catch up to the Mercs. And then the race stewards penalised Hamilton for his collision with Albon, and then he finished in P4, rather than the P2 he would’ve got. Many weren’t surprised by this, because the Austrian Grand Prix did see pretty high temperatures.
Coming into the 70th Anniversary GP, as mentioned earlier, the track temps were incredibly high, something which was definitely worrying for Mercedes. Hamilton and Bottas finished in P2 and P3, considerably far behind Max Verstappen. Both the Mercs weren’t looking like they could challenge for a win at all, and it just wasn’t their day. Polesitter Valterri Bottas only managed P3, while his teammate Lewis Hamilton finished in P2, in the same place as he started. While their result wasn’t the best, it is vital to look at what actually brought them down during the race.
Both the Mercs started the race on the Medium tires, unlike Verstappen, who started on the Hards. Verstappen got a lightning start, passing Nico Hulkenberg right off the line, grabbing 3rd place, and destroying the Hulk’s dreams of his first F1 podium. Hamilton and Bottas started battling already on the first lap, so it may seem that their battling was stopping them and that they weren’t doing enough tire saving. But even after a few laps of the race was done, Verstappen was still at the same pace as the Mercedes cars. Mercedes were obviously having problems in the heat.
This shows not just to us, but to Mercedes’ rivals, that Mercedes need to work on durability in the heat. Some could say their black livery is bringing them down because of the colour black converts things like light to heat and warms things up much more than the colour white, or Mercedes’ previous car colour, silver. But that isn’t valid, because, in years like 2018 when the Silver Arrows were there instead of the Black Arrows, Mercedes had the same weakness. Let’s see how they cope in the rest of the races in the summer; the track at Spain is even hotter, but the tires are harder.
The Drivers Played An Even Bigger Role In This Race
Another reason that the Mercs were losing was that Verstappen was doing a worldly job and was doing some fabulous driving while saving his tires. We need to how the drivers’ performance was affecting the race. Drivers need to know how to keep their tires cool while getting a good result and racing at a good pace. Tire saving is something that Bottas wasn’t doing at the British GP, which led him to a puncture, and then an 11th place finish. This race, Bottas had no choice but to focus entirely on the tires, because within a few laps of pitting for new tires they were already blistered. The Mercedes drivers pretty much got stuck managing their biggest weakness.
Some other drivers were also facing big problems in the race. Pierre Gasly had absolutely no grip by around Lap 20, in the race, even though he only put on that set of hard tires 12 laps earlier. That really showed when he was having difficulty holding of Albon on Lap 22. People thought Gasly could prove himself and maybe be promoted from Alpha Tauri by finishing ahead of Albon, but it turns out he couldn’t.
Another driver who was having trouble was Daniel Ricciardo. On Lap 31, he was defending from the McLaren of Carlos Sainz coming into Village corner. Sainz went around the outside, and Ricciardo was defending. Despite squeezing Sainz quite a bit, but not off track, Sainz kept his car alongside the Aussie. Ricciardo was just too ambitious; he tried to keep the position, and so he got on the throttle too early and then spun. Ricciardo didn’t crash, but some grass stuck onto his tires, and he definitely heated his rear tires up more than he wanted to. He then said on the radio “It’s driveable. I’ll stay out.” However, on Lap 35, he came into the pits, and in the end, he finished in P14, which is not where he wants to be.
On the other hand, some drivers did very well. Charles Leclerc put his name up there with the greats, with a fabulous drive, putting an underperforming car up in P4 after qualifying in just P8. I’m sure anyone would agree that he is worthy of much more success than he is getting right now. He managed to score podiums in both the Austrian and British Grands Prix. Ferrari went with a very aggressive strategy for him; pulling off a one-stop when the tires wear out so easily is incredibly difficult, but Leclerc managed it, and still finished in an astonishing P4. The 70th Anniversary Grand Prix marked another race where Ferrari fans can breathe a sigh of relief.
We now move on to the final, most obvious example of good driving. The young superstar, the race winner, Max Verstappen. Max knows that Mercedes is weak in the heat, and he knows that he has the capability of defeating them. He did just the right thing by refusing to slow down because he knew that he could manage the tires while catching the Black Arrows. Verstappen finished 11 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton, despite spending most of the time on tires that were harder and supposedly slower than the Mercs. Speaking of tires, no matter how good the driver is, a driver cannot win without a good team behind him. Let’s take a look at the final branch of this race review; strategy, because this is the are where Red Bull really came out on top.
Strategy – Where Red Bull Shone
At the British Grand Prix, Verstappen could’ve easily won if he hadn’t come in for that extra pitstop; the Red Bull strategists were definitely in some hot water with the fans. But at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, they did more than just redeem themselves. Their strategy was more than just aggressive. Verstappen started on the hard tires, which was ideal because they were more durable. But on the other hand, Verstappen could’ve lost out badly, because the hard tires are the slowest tires available, meaning he would’ve had to do a massive recovery drive on the mediums in the second stint. But Verstappen wasn’t holding back on the hards but was making sure he was maintaining the tires, as written above.
Verstappen came into the pits on Lap 26; he was in the lead of the race since all his rivals had pitted earlier after starting the race on the medium tires. Most of the drivers started on mediums, and most of them really surprised everybody with the strategy. They were pitting super early! Verstappen’s teammate Alex Albon was the first driver to come into the pits. He came in on Lap 6, which is extremely early and put on the hards. That then started a chain of early pitstops from the rest of the field.
Albon came in this early because he didn’t have any medium tires that he hadn’t used before, including the hards he was starting the race on. Some drivers may have the same situation, but I feel it seems that the main reason for these early pitstops was because the tires were simply wearing out too fast.
Verstappen put on the medium tires, and came out extremely close behind Bottas; just as Verstappen came out of the pit lane, Bottas zoomed past him, and both the cars started braking for Village. When Verstappen came out on the mediums, many were wondering what Red Bull’s strategists were thinking of. Were they going to stretch the mediums and come onto the softs? Would they pit for another set of mediums after a few laps? Or would they pit again for hards? The last option was seeming like the one Red Bull would go for, but that could go against them. Verstappen could end up wasting the last few laps of the race on the slowest tire and losing out. But then, a radio message came.
WHAT!? Red Bull was telling Verstappen on Lap 31 to forget the tires and just go full speed ahead? That made no sense to most people. Verstappen’s tires were going to wear out super fast, and he would just be a sitting duck for the rest of the race. But then people realized what Red Bull was doing when Verstappen came into the pits for a set of hards just 1 lap after the radio message on Lap 32. The Red Bull strategists’ gamble had paid off, and along with Verstappen, they pulled off a masterclass. Verstappen was flying on the new set of hard tires he was on.
He had already come out ahead of Hamilton, as he was around 20 seconds ahead of the Brit when he came into the pits. Bottas pitted on the same lap, and he was already behind Verstappen, so Verstappen came out on a fresh set of hards with an easy lead, ready to take the race win. This is where Mercedes really messed up, with Bottas’s strategy. Bringing him in on Lap 32, at the same time as Verstappen was less than ideal. Mercedes’ weakness in the heat caused Bottas’s tires to be so bad that he had to come into the pits on Lap 32.
Mercedes then put Bottas in a situation where he had to manage the heat and get a good position, and Bottas couldn’t manage it because the heat weakens them even more. Hamilton’s strategy was better, as he could use those fresh tires to absolutely smash the lap times, and easily overtake Bottas. The only problem was that he came behind Bottas and Leclerc, which didn’t allow Hamilton to catch Verstappen.
Vet bad strategy.
Sebastian Vettel is having a very bad time with Ferrari. He is a driver that deserves to be given more than what Ferrari are giving him, and if he is in a team that actually supports him, I feel he can be a force to be reckoned with. Even his fellow drivers know that he is capable of doing more than what he is doing at Ferrari. At the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, Ferrari held him back from putting in a fantastic performance.
Despite his Lap 1 spin, Vettel was up into positions like P11 of P12, and he was ready to make his way into the points; he could’ve at least got P10, because he had some good momentum and was doing pretty well. On Lap 22, Vettel came into the pits, to pit for another set of hard tires (he started on the hards). Ferrari made a big mistake by bringing him in at that time, and we can tell from this radio message.
Vettel as a driver can achieve wonders, but when the team doesn’t back you up, there’s only so much you can do. When Vettel came out of the pits, he came out exactly where he didn’t want to: behind traffic. He was in a long train behind Sainz, Ricciardo, Ocon, and Kvyat, in around P11 or so. When Ricciardo spun, Vettel went up into P10. However, the Red Bull of Alex Albon was behind him in P11, and Albon’s strategy was pretty good as well. Along with his driving, of course, and that was visible when he finished in P5. In the end, Sebastian Vettel finished in P12. He was miles behind the position he wanted to be in, and you can only hope that he succeeds in a brighter future.
This is the end of the F1ntastic 70th Anniversary Grand Prix Race Review; I really enjoyed writing this review, because I really got to put in a lot of thoughts and analysis into it after an incredibly exciting race. I just wanted to note that it would be incredibly helpful to us if you filled in a form to rate the site and this post below, and let us know how much you are enjoying our posts. Stay safe, and stay on the lookout for new posts.