Usually, the pecking order right at the front of the grid augurs the following words upon the completion of a race, “Get in there, Lewis!” Meanwhile, the words during the closing stages of any Grand Prix dictate, “Okay, it’s Hammertime, Lewis!” Though, it could be said, during the last lap of the first round of the 2020 British Grand Prix, the only emotion that might have stirred the hearts of his entire Mercedes team might have been- “Get the car past the checkered flag somehow, Lewis!”
Not that there was anything wrong in Hamilton’s race craft; it’s just that in the final lap race-leader, and eventual winner Hamilton encountered sudden tyre delamination, several corners from the checkered flag, a rare and entirely unexpected occurrence that had already consumed teammate Bottas’ race, with the Finn until such time, driving in a stable second, and looking ever so comfortable to bag that podium.
Though, that was not all; Hamilton had Verstappen in the mirrors, the presence of whom could be likened to a dangerous shark tailing a swimmer in the ocean.
But credit to Lewis Hamilton that he managed to endure a tricky tyre condition, his front left completely worn out but would do well to make it to the checkered flag, albeit with only three wheels functioning in what only be described as a spectacular feat. But the 2020 British Grand Prix had a lot more fascinating outcomes that made it not your average ‘edge-of-the-seat’ thriller.
Let’s visit the talking points from the British Grand Prix-
Hamilton limps to spectacular achievement; 87th career win
Lewis Hamilton, despite braving a last-lap tyre-wear limped to a sensational albeit dramatic win, which not only turned out to be his seventh at Silverstone but the 87th of his checkered career, one of the clear talking points from the British Grand Prix.
In so doing, he reminded us all, once again, just why he’s so highly rated; a driver that can score blazing lap times and also handle the car in ulterior conditions. No other driver has raced away to seven wins at his home Grand Prix event.
Hamilton, for all this and more, must be credited. Moreover, the outcome of the first round at Silverstone enabled Lewis to increase his lead on this year’s driver standings by 30 points over second-placed Valtteri Bottas.
All to play for at the final round of Silverstone, this being a double-header!
Racing gods smile on Charles Leclerc
Honestly speaking, one of the most underrated moments from the just-concluded Silverstone Grand Prix was the stellar drive accomplished by the young Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc. While he wasn’t always in a formidable position to gather a podium, Leclerc’s luck shone thanks to the tyre puncture endured by Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas with only a little over a lap to go in the race.
The first reaction, by Leclerc’s self-admission, was him being cautious. But it didn’t take him long to pass the disenchanted Finn at the mid-way stage of that dramatic lap in which the puncture occurred.
This resulted in Leclerc managing what had until then seemed an unlikely podium, and hence that fighting third in the end.
But then destiny aids the one who persists- isn’t it? Maybe that was also the case at the opening round of the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix as well, where the Ferrari driver struck with a brilliant albeit unexpected podium despite competing with the kind of car he’s fielding this year.
Brilliant drive from Daniel Ricciardo; the sentimental driver of the day!
While all of us were transfixed on the surprise outcome of the 52-lap contest, one of the most dramatic contests ever held in the recent history in the heart of Great Britain, truth is, there were several accomplishments that warranted greater attention than given.
Among them the fantastic drive to collect a fighting fourth by none other than the ‘Honeybadger’ Daniel Ricciardo of Renault.
Lest it is forgotten, Ricciardo was always primed for a strong finish, especially after he collected a strong eighth during qualifying in what were dry and sunny conditions, the exact unchanging conditions in which the dominant Aussie collected a fine driver.
But it’s not just about his race-finish, a lot about what Ricciardo managed for the French constructor could be tied to the fashion in which he began, passing both Stroll and Norris, in Racing Point and McLaren, respectively, inside the opening lap.
In the end, his persistence was rewarded by the best of the rest position, outside of top three. Moving on, it can be expected that Daniel would attack ever so strongly in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, which is poised to take place on August, 9.
Silverstone warrants discussion about the choice of tyre-compound
As the Formula 1 circus prepares the second round at Silverstone, in what is a one-of-a-kind double-header, among the big talking points from the British Grand Prix would be the right tyre compound choice that the teams would go for especially during the closing stages, in order to avoid the kind of skirmish one saw in this last race.
Having said that, should that also augur that one may opt for a classic two-stop and maybe get the drivers in during or around the halfway stage for fresh rubber so that the rubber doesn’t wear out during the tricky but climactic stages?
We don’t know yet.
What we also do not know is whether the tyre-wear was caused owing to some debris on some part of the track, which struck both the Mercedes cars and the McLaren MCL35 of Carlos Sainz Jr.
But one thing is certain; it wasn’t only the two Mercedes drivers who suffered, the race outcome also hurt the chances of the young Spanish driver who was holding well inside points finish although that would be cruelly taken away from him.
Heartbreak for Kimi
For someone who has against his name no fewer than seven podium finishes at Silverstone, it hurt to see Kimi Raikkonen– a former world champion- languishing at the rear-end of the grid, one of the key talking points from the British Grand Prix
But that’s how it’s been for Kimi this year, a season marked with an utterly underwhelming car that lacks it all- traction, race-pace and downforce.
Having said that, Raikkonen, who eventually finished seventeenth, which meant he was the backmarker, has never really suffered such a woeful blip at the very venue where he found himself on the podium in 2017 and 2018 races, which isn’t that long back in time.
Although, this unexciting race-finish wasn’t before Kimi had a few things to say over the team radio over a pit-fiasco which saw the ‘Iceman’ melt offering a few choicest words to his team.
But the important question is, can Raikkonen finally manage to end his woeful run, as seen thus far, and gather something memorable at the 70th anniversary Grand Prix?