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Wesley Branton | July 14, 2019 @ 10:42 am
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The FORMULA 1 ROLEX BRITISH GRAND PRIX 2019 had to follow an exciting Austrian Grand Prix and it didn’t disappoint. In the end, Lewis Hamilton took victory after some assistance from the safety car. Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc provided some entertainment for the fans throughout a large portion of the race.
Off the grid, Sebastian Vettel had a strong start, as did Lando Norris. Norris was attacking Pierre Gasly into the first corner and made minor contact with his side pod. They were lucky to escape unscathed. At the front, it was rather orderly off of the grid.
The two Haas teammates collided in turn five. Kevin Magnussen was forced wide by his teammate and Romain Grosjean collided with him. Both had to pit for new tyres due to a puncture. Both eventually retired from the race.
Daniel Ricciardo put pressure on Norris on the opening lap of the race. The two were side-by-side into Copse and the Maggots and Becketts section. Ricciardo was not able to take the position.
Early in the race, fans were treated to a battle between the two Mercedes teammates. Lewis Hamilton was all over the back of Valtteri Bottas. On the third lap, Bottas ran wide into the penultimate corner, allowing Hamilton to take the switchback and take Bottas around the outside of the last corner. Bottas fought back into the first corner, retaking the lead on the inside of Hamilton.
By lap 11, an interesting battle between Verstappen and Charles Leclerc. Verstappen attacked Leclerc but had to back out. This dropped him into the clutches of Vettel behind. Gasly was quick to join the action, challenging Vettel. He took the position from Vettel in the third corner. Vettel fought back but couldn’t regain the position. Gasly pitted at the end of the lap for the undercut.
Leclerc and Verstappen pitted the following lap for medium tyres. Red Bull was committing to the two-stop strategy. Red Bull’s pit stop was marginally quicker, putting Verstappen out slightly ahead of Leclerc. The two were wheel-to-wheel down the pit lane, but Leclerc had to yield the position.
On the out lap, Verstappen ran wide on the cold tyres into turn four undoing all of the hard work of his mechanics. Leclerc retook the position. The two continued to battle fiercely. Verstappen, although he appeared faster, just could not find a way by the Ferrari. There were many close calls between the two drivers, providing a lot of entertainment for the British fans.
Bottas gave the lead to Hamilton on lap 17, pitting for medium tyres. But a safety car a few laps later for Antonio Giovinazzi threw a wrench in his pit strategy. Giovinazzi lost traction under braking for the final section, spinning into the gravel.
The safety car allowed Hamilton to take a cheap pit stop for hard tyres, allowing him to retain his race lead. Vettel also pitted for hard tyres, as did Verstappen to complete his pit strategy. Leclerc lost out, being called into the pits after the cars had already bunched up. He lost out to his teammate and both Red Bulls.
On the restart, there was a battle in the middle of the field between the Renaults and Alexander Albon. Sergio Perez wanted to join in on the action, attacking Nico Hulkenberg. He locked up on the inside, ripping off his front wing on Hulkenberg’s car.
But all eyes were again on the Verstappen-Leclerc battle. Verstappen had lost the position to Leclerc on the restart, but he was able to retake the position once the tyres came up to temperature. Leclerc attacked Verstappen on the outside of turn 16. The Ferrari was on the inside for turn 17 and the two drivers touched. Verstappen ran wide as a result of the contact, holding his position around the outside of the corner.
Verstappen escaped in front of his teammate. With Gasly now between the pair, the battle slowed. Leclerc was hunting for a way around the second Red Bull but was struggling to do so, losing ever more time to Verstappen. He finally got by around the outside of turn three on lap 36, being unleashed to chase down Verstappen.
By this point, Verstappen found himself within range of Vettel. He attacked Vettel around the outside of Stowe, taking P3. But heading into turn 16, Vettel made a crucial error. In the braking zone for the corner, Vettel misjudged him much Verstappen had to brake to make the corner. The Ferrari ran into the rear of the Red Bull. Both ran off the track and Verstappen ramped the sausage kerb on the inside of the corner, getting some air.
Both were able to resume the race. Verstappen continued with a lot of rear floor damage. Vettel had to pit for a new front wing. The stewards investigated the incident and placed the blame squarely on Vettel. He walked away with a 10 second time penalty, although it meant little since he was in the last position.
With less than ten laps remaining, Mercedes called Hamilton for a security pit stop but he stayed out. The team was worried about a vibration that Bottas reported on his own car. He pitted for tyres instead, retaining P2.
Hamilton cruised to victory with a huge lead over his teammate, also claiming the fastest lap on the final lap of the race. Bottas and Leclerc complete the podium with Gasly finishing in P4 and a frustrated Verstappen rounding up the top five.
Up next, the teams will be heading to Germany for the penultimate race before the F1 summer break. The action around the Hockenheimring will be on the weekend of July 28.
Above results table does not include any post-race penalties