70th Anniversary GP Race Report - Verstappen takes win as Mercedes struggle with tyres 

Max Verstappen crossed the line to take victory in the 70th Anniversary race at Silverstone, following a long first stint on the hard tyres that took him ahead of the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, as the two squabbled for the final two positions on the podium.

Early Stages 

The opening lap had all eyes on Sebastian Vettel. Vettel's race got off to a poor start, following a snap of oversteer going into the first corner. The German caught too much of the inside curb and ended up almost collecting the McLaren of Carlos Sainz. The Ferrari was stone dead last by the end of the first lap.

The early portion of the race was dominated by strategy. The first shock was Alex Albon pitting extremely early in the race, catching many other teams out. The domino effect slowly kicked off from here, with Alpha Tauri and Alfa Romeo bringing in Pierre Gasly and Antonio Giovinazzi respectively. 

Mercedes vs Verstappen 

Around the 30 lap mark the real story started to unfold. Verstappen was setting strong lap times and catching the the Mercedes of Hamilton and Bottas. The iconic radio message of "Im not going to sit behind like a grandma" sparked a charge by Verstappen that saw him take the lead of the race and spelled the start of many tyre issues for the 'Silver Arrows'.

The story of the Mercedes vs Verstappen was paused after Daniel Ricciardo managed to lose control of the car whilst battling for position with the  Sainz. The Australian found himself on the run off area at turn 4, having dropped to 13th on the grid, with the safety car not making an appearance.

The Mercedes' issues with both the hard and medium sets of tyres really highlighted the high degradation of both compounds, as it seemed that both had a very poor lifetime. Cars up and down the grid seemed to have damaged tyres, with many having large chunks of rubber removed from the middle and edges of the wheels, forcing many drivers onto a two stop strategy.

Despite having these issues with his tyres, Mercedes kept Hamilton out on track, with predictions suggesting that if he were to pit, the Brit would return to track just behind  Charles Leclerc, who was out doing the Ferrari that he was driving.

Yet on lap 42 Hamilton was bought in to fit the hard tyres, setting him a task of passing four cars in ten laps to secure the win, meanwhile Verstappen was still setting a good pace out at the front.

Up and down the track 

One man who was going to join the likes of Hamilton and Verstappen on setting some fast laps was the Racing Point of Nico Hulkenberg. With seven laps remaining, the German returned to the pits in order to fit the soft compound of tyre, the only driver to don the red tyres on Sunday. It was a much better weekend for the stand in driver, who spent a large portion of the race in the top five before the pitstop.

One man who didn't have such a lucky time of it was Kevin Magnussen in the Haas, who retired on lap 46 of the race, following a forgettable fortnight in Great Britain. The Dane had already been handed a five second penalty, following a dangerous return to the track, impeding the Williams of Nicholas Latifi

Final Results 

With Two laps remaining the two Mercedes began to battle, the eventual victor was Hamilton, with the fresher tyres, he swept around the outside of his Finnish teammate. However the Brit was still just under ten seconds away from the Red Bull of Verstappen, who was busy talking to his pitwall about staying hydrated and keeping their hands sanitized. 

Two drivers who went relatively under the radar today were Leclerc and Albon. Charles finished the race in an impressive fourth place, after completing a successful one stop race, being one of the only drivers on the grid to do so. Albon put in an incredible overtaking performance, following his early pit stop, finishing the race in fifth position.

The mechanical circus takes the season to Barcelona next weekend, as the teams return to Catalonia, for the first time since pre season testing back in March.

 

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