2019 British Grand Prix Review

Having emerged victorious at Silverstone with Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes are going for a home team win at Hockenheim. (Image Credit: LAT Images)

After the excitement of Austria, Formula One returned home to its birthplace of Silverstone for the 2019 British Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton looked for a sixth home victory.

With four British drivers on the grid (counting Albon seeing as he’s British born but races under a Thai driving license) and the season reaching the half-way point, this was a crucial weekend for every team as battles continue to form throughout the grid.

Now without further ado, here is how each team fared across the weekend as Silverstone celebrated extending their deal to keep this race around until 2024.

 

Mercedes

Race Results: Lewis Hamilton – 1st, Valtteri Bottas – 2nd

What a weekend it has been for Mercedes because they really have had to work for their front row lockout then one-two finish. 

Like many throughout practice, both drivers struggled to find their rhythm on the newly laid track surface although Bottas did top FP2 by virtue of nailing a clean lap unlike Hamilton, who ultimately was unlucky to miss out on pole by 0.006s to Bottas through another error.

Raceday however was brilliantly executed with both drivers fighting cleanly throughout the early stages, especially on lap four when Hamilton cleverly snatched the lead at Brooklands only for Bottas to strike back on the run to Copse without any collisions. 

That is a lesson which some teams can learn from but the race was ultimately settled by a brilliant Hammer time as Hamilton managed to stretch his first stint out, ultimately benefitting from a safety car after Antonio Giovinazzi spun off on Lap 20 to make his one stop. 

He then raced off to a record sixth British GP victory whilst Bottas finished 24.928s behind, which is surely a concern for the Finn in that he couldn’t mount a race long challenge against Hamilton because it’s situations like these that could cost him the title come December. 

Focusing on the present though and this wasn’t Mercedes’ typical dominant weekend but Germany will tell us whether their scrappy overall performance was down to the track surface or if we are in for a three way fight throughout rest of season. 

 

Ferrari

Race Results: Charles Leclerc – 3rd, Sebastian Vettel – 16th

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Questions surely will be asked at Ferrari about Sebastian Vettel after another sub par performance from the German. 

Throughout the weekend, Vettel seemed to just struggle to hook the car up over a single lap but we must remember that the track had just been recently resurfaced, so his driving style possibly just didn’t suit the new surface and he wasn’t the only one who struggled on single lap pace this weekend. 

His race however wasn’t much better with an early battle with Gasly over P5 before benefitting from the safety car during the pit window to take third, only to eventually lose that position to Verstappen on lap 37 on exit of Stowe then rear-end the Dutchman at Vale and ultimately destroy his race.

That incident however is the latest in a serious errors over the last 10 months and perhaps Ferrari should get a sport psychologist in to help reset Vettel’s focus and ability to handle pressure. 

Leclerc on the other hand seems to be relishing his car’s potential because although Silverstone doesn’t play to Ferrari’s strengths with it’s challenging variety of corners, he just kept fighting throughout the race and deserves his third place. 

Ferrari therefore has plenty of data to ponder ahead of Germany because this race highlighted that Red Bull have caught up in terms of performance and will only continue to improve.

 

Red Bull

Race Results: Pierre Gasly – 4th, Max Verstappen – 5th

This weekend has easily been Red Bull’s best so far this season with Gasly in particularly looking comfortable, even if Verstappen didn’t have the strongest of weekends by his standards. 

Starting with Gasly, he seemed comfortable from FP1 which he topped and carried that momentum forward throughout the weekend even if Ferrari expectedly got the better of him with Leclerc after a thrilling duel mid race. 

The Frenchman however acknowledged that there is still work to do, saying; “I still need to work on the little details to improve and make the last step onto the podium, but overall we are not too far away and we will keep pushing.”

If he can use this weekend as a launchpad then I can see that podium coming before the summer break, dispelling any fears of a summer switchback to Toro Rosso. 

Verstappen meanwhile struggled with his car balance throughout the weekend but was as feisty as ever in the race, which would of made third place a great result if he hadn’t been rear-ended by Vettel but mounted a great recovery to finish just under five seconds behind Gasly. 

Red Bull however were super close to both Ferrari and Mercedes this weekend which is promising signs that the rest of season will be super competitive in every session at the front. 

 

McLaren

Race Results: Carlos Sainz – 6th, Lando Norris – 11th

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In my race preview, I mentioned that this weekend would be a proper test of McLaren’s upgrade and I can say that their upgrade definitely is working regardless of track temperatures.

Norris in particular seems to be enjoying the improved car because for the third race weekend running, he has been close to some of the front runners on single lap pace despite McLaren’s obvious deflict and even challenged Gasly at the start.

Sadly tyre strategies proved the difference because Sainz benefitted from a nicely timed safety car unlike Norris, who made the costly mistake of pitting early for a two stopper because both drivers could of finished ahead of Ricciardo if went for a one stop but alas Norris could sadly only finish 11th which will be a disappointing result. 

Either way this has been a great weekend for McLaren in terms of asserting their authority in the race for fourth in the constructors’ championship and things can only get better going forward. 

 

Renault

Race Results: Daniel Ricciardo – 7th, Nico Hulkenberg – 10th

After their Austrian woes, this has been a strong weekend for Renault despite Ricciardo’s race simulation in FP2 being curtailed by the failure of an old power unit with both cars eventually finishing in the top ten.

It is worth pointing out that both drivers did speak of “fundamental issues” regarding their car. but I definitely didn’t see any real issues here so perhaps this Renault car is susceptible to hot temperatures and the British weather just happened to suit their car.

Team Principal, Cyril Abiteboul however is slightly cautious about their performance and said; “But overall, at a power dominated track, in qualifying like in race, our competitiveness level has been stronger, even if the areas of weakness are still here and will be our focus for the coming weeks.”

Well we will see if further progress can be made at Hockenheim, which is also power dominant and a ideal test of whether this weekend was a fluke overperformance or signs of improvement. 

 

Alfa Romeo

Race Results: Kimi Raikkonen – 8th, Antonio Giovinazzi – Retired

There is little to say about Alfa Romeo because they have had a quiet weekend by their standards, although there will be disappointment at the failure to kick on from their double points finish in Austria. 

Raikkonen however did a great job in lucking in on mistakes by other drivers and teams to snatch four valuable points as he occupies eighth in the drivers’ standings, which is incredible given the midfield talent that he is up against in stronger cars.

Giovinazzi meanwhile was just unfortunate to drop the car where he did because if it had happened at Stowe or even Copse then we probably wouldn’t of had the safety car nor eventual race result. 

Alfa Romeo’s aim now surely has to be to come back stronger in Germany because they’re heading in the right direction but need to show more single lap pace. 

 

Racing Point

Race Results: Lance Stroll – 13th, Sergio Perez – 17th

For Racing Point, this is yet another disappointing weekend and only made worse by questions surely now ringing in their ears surrounding Stroll.

Qualifying saw the Canadian make his 13th straight Q1 exit which is shambolic form for a F1 driver, and especially given that ten of those exits have all come in the ten rounds so far this season which underlines how poor he has been.

Fair enough in that his race pace is better but these early Q1 exits don’t help his chances of scoring points like this weekend so I am seriously unconvinced about whether Stroll should stay beyond this season as there are better drivers out there who deserve a chance.

Perez meanwhile did a good a job as he always does despite the car’s issues and was “very unlucky” to not enjoy a better race because a brake balance issue meant that he struggled with his braking and was the cause of his collision with Hulkenberg.

In simple terms, this is a race to forget for Racing Point and especially with a big update coming in Germany which should get them back into the midfield fight hopefully.

 

Toro Rosso

Race Results: Daniil Kvyat – 9th, Alex Albon – 12th

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This weekend has been a solid one for Toro Rosso with Albon particularly doing a great job in fighting the Renaults and McLarens throughout this weekend, even if he was let down in the race through poor strategic communication from his engineer which cost him a point paying position once his tyres gave up. 

Kvyat meanwhile was unlucky to qualify in 17th which the Russian put down to not being “… in the right window and I wasn’t really happy with the balance.”

He definitely had the right idea there because track evolution on this newly resurfaced track was quite high, and did a grand job to recover to pick up two points in ninth place and place the team level on points with Racing Point in the Constructors’ Championship. 

Overall a positive weekend with room for improvement in Germany if can learn from their mistakes here.

 

Haas

Race Results: Romain Grosjean – Retired, Kevin Magnussen – Retired

A tale of mixed fortunes is the perfect summary for Haas’ weekend as off-track issues rumble on but on the tarmac, the team did a solid job with a split spec strategy as Grosjean reverting to Australian spec whilst Magnussen ran their latest spec with new updates.

Looking at the practice times, there doesn’t seem to be much difference between both specs although track conditions varied throughout every session so its hard to pin point whether Haas’ issues is spec related or possibly fundamentally to do with the car itself.

Add in the fact that both drivers managed to take each other out at the start, there is little to say about which direction the team needs to go in so Germany is definitely going to be a crucial weekend for Haas’ top five hopes. 

Grosjean however picks up this weekend’s face palm moment after bizarrely spinning at the pit exit during FP1, which only serves to compound a terrible weekend for the American team. 

 

Williams

Race Results: George Russell – 14th, Robert Kubica – 16th 

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There is little to say about Williams other than that this has been another disappointing home race as Sir Frank Williams celebrates 50 years in F1, although there is one positive in Russell who continues to show that he is destined for a top team in coming seasons.

Russell might already be beating Kubica consistently but around this track, he was in impressive form to beat his teammate by half a second on single lap pace, even if a gearbox issue masked his performance in FP2 and prevented a proper qualifying style run.

He then backed up that pace with a solid drive to finish 14th and ahead of Kubica by a huge margin, whilst fending off Vettel on the last lap as the German looked to salvage a decent result ahead of his 10s time penalty. 

In summary, there seems to be little progress at Williams as a team but they have a top future talent in Russell who continues to be unfazed by F1 and in particular his home race. 

 

If missed the previous nine rounds of this season, get up to date with our race reviews below.

 

 

 

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