Mercedes’ dominant start to the 2020 Formula 1 season came to a surprising end at Silverstone in a race where tyre management was king. 

The 70th Anniversary Grand Prix proved to be an unexpectedly thrilling event, with Max Verstappen causing the first major upset of the delayed season by scoring a sensational first win of the year for Red Bull.

Here are our winners and losers from a landmark race at Silverstone…

The Winners 

Red Bull and Max Verstappen 

Verstappen’s excellent tyre management - coupled with refusing to drive like a grandma - proved crucial as he made the most of Red Bull’s strategic gamble and capitalised brilliantly on Mercedes’ tyre struggles to take a surprise win. 

The Dutchman continues a remarkably consistent run of form that has seen him bounce back from a DNF in Austria to record four straight podiums and leapfrog Bottas to second place in the championship standings, 30 points down on leader Hamilton. 

The 70th Anniversary Grand Prix was another perfect example of Verstappen’s abilities to maximise everything and more from his RB16 no matter what situation stands before him.

Lewis Hamilton 

Hamilton may not have made it back-to-back home wins at Silverstone but he once again got the better of teammate Bottas by overturning a qualifying deficit into a positive points swing on a day when Mercedes’ W11 was simply not fast enough to win. 

Despite at one stage looking set for third at best, the Briton pulled off an impressive long middle stint to claw himself back into contention when he finally pitted for fresh rubber on Lap 42.  

Hamilton subsequently reeled in Bottas and overtook him with three laps to go - claiming the fastest lap bonus point in the process - to pull another four points clear on his main title rival. 

Charles Leclerc

Leclerc described his fourth-place finish in the 70th Anniversary GP at Silverstone as feeling “like a victory” having made a one-stop strategy work. 

Along with Renault’s Esteban Ocon, who brilliantly charged to eight from 14th on the grid, Leclerc pulled off a feat that Pirelli did not expect anyone to try before the race given the failures seen during last weekend’s British Grand Prix. 

While Leclerc may not have been able to repeat his podium heroics for a second time at Silverstone, his latest display was arguably the more impressive as he once again out-performed his Ferrari car. 

Nico Hulkenberg

Hulkenberg was one of the stars of the weekend in what marked just his second F1 race since returning to the grid to stand in for Perez, who continues to be positive for COVID-19. 

The German secured a stunning third on the grid in qualifying as he outpaced Verstappen’s Red Bull, before completing a strong double points haul for Racing Point by finishing seventh behind teammate Lance Stroll.

Granted, P7 on paper may look slightly underwhelming given the potential of the RP20, but Hulkenberg was forced into an unscheduled third pit stop late on after encountering severe vibrations that might well have ended his race early had he not come in. 

Pirelli 

Pirelli was one of our ‘losers’ after the British Grand Prix, but what a difference a week can make in F1. 

Its decision to stick to its original tyre selections and going one step softer looked a dubious strategy given the trio of late failures last time out at Silverstone and with hotter temperatures this weekend, but it resulted in an exciting and fascinating race. 

There were a mix of strategies that kept the battle for the lead interesting right until the end, and opened the door for Red Bull to take the fight to Mercedes and snatch a victory it was unlikely to otherwise achieve. 

The Losers 

Valtteri Bottas 

Bottas looked a disgruntled figure after the race and you can’t exactly blame him. On Saturday he looked primed to begin a fightback against Hamilton by beating the Briton to pole position, but Hamilton still managed to turn the tables on his teammate in the race. 

Bottas was not happy with Mercedes strategy and accused his team of “sleeping” at times throughout Sunday’s race after being passed late on by Hamilton, who had run longer into his second stint than the Finn. 

As well as seeing the points gap to Hamilton increase yet further after the huge blow of his non-score at the British Grand Prix, Bottas has now slipped behind Verstappen in the championship table. 

Sebastian Vettel

Vettel will want to quickly erase the Silverstone double-header from his memory in what might have just been the most anonymous and frustrating fortnight of his entire career. 

Back-to-back difficult races left the German puzzled as he had no answer to the performance. Vettel said he felt like he was “going up against a wall” in trying to unlock more speed from his Ferrari in qualifying and things continued to go downhill in the race. 

Any hope of a decent result in the 70th Anniversary GP was undone by a spin at Turn 1 on the opening lap, while Vettel also questioned Ferrari’s strategy, saying it “didn’t make any sense”. 

Daniel Ricciardo 

Ricciardo enjoyed a great qualifying in his ever-improving Renault to grab an eye-catching fifth on the grid, but he was unable to convert that into an equally-strong result as his race fell apart. 

The Australian lost places early on and was languishing towards the lower-reaches of the top 10 before he spun at Abbey while battling Carlos Sainz’s McLaren. 

Ricciardo may have joked afterwards that he had a “Seb spin”, but it finished off any hope of scoring points as he went on to take a disappointing 14th at the flag. 

Kevin Magnussen 

A race to forget for Magnussen. The Haas driver reported a “really big blister” with 10 laps to go which ultimately resulted in his team retiring his car because they had no suitable tyres left to run. 

It was a troubled weekend around for the Dane, who was unable to match his teammate Grosjean’s pace in qualifying, before his race was compounded by picking up a five-second penalty and two points on his licence for rejoining the track in an aggressive manner when he unnecessarily chopped across Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

 

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