Max Verstappen second after thrilling final phase British GP: 'Very happy with P2'
Published on 02 August 2020 by Kees-Jan Koster
Max Verstappen finished second in the British Grand Prix. The Dutchman started the race from third position on the grid and drove a lonely race, until Valtteri Bottas had a puncture in the final phase of the race and had to give up second position. The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver even had a chance to win because Lewis Hamilton had the same issue, but the lead of the Brit was, also because of a pitstop for Verstappen, big enough to finish the race first. Charles Leclerc completed the podium on behalf of Ferrari.
“It is lucky and unlucky”, says Max after the race. “Mercedes were during the race to quick, but with ten laps to go their tyres did not look great. When Valtteri got a puncture, I backed off a bit, after which the team boxed me to go for the fastest lap. Unfortunately, Lewis also got a puncture, but I am very happy with second. It is a very good result for us.”
Event though victory was suddenly within reach, Verstappen had a fairly lonely race: “I told my engineer to drink and stay hydrated. It was pretty lonely and tried to manage my pace and look after the tyres.”
Even before the race starts it is announced that Nico Hülkenberg, substituting the for coronavirus positive tested Sergio Pérez, cannot start because of a problem with his Racing Point. Causing a comeback for the unfortunate German not to materialise. Williams driver George Russell started from behind, because of a five-place grid penalty because of ignoring yellow flags during qualifying.
When the lights go off the fourth race of the season gets underway, Max has a good start. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas go side by side into the first corner, but Hamilton come out on top and keeps the lead. For a moment it seems that Charles Leclerc overtakes the Red Bull of Verstappen, but the Dutchman can quickly retake third position from the Monegasque, who is in turn pressured by Carlos Sainz.
At the end of the first lap it is Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo who form the top six. Not much later we see Kevin Magnussen shoot into the gravel at Club, after contact with Alexander Albon. The Dane has a big hit but can climb out of the car unharmed. The stewards decide to send out the safety car and neutralise the race.
After five laps the race is restarted, after which both Mercedes quickly build up the gap to Verstappen. Two laps later we see Max’ teammate Alexander Albon make an early pitstop for a new set of tyres. The Thai-British driver comes back on track in last position.
In lap thirteen the safety car comes out again after Daniil Kvyat goes of the track very fast. The Russian loses control of his car after turning into Maggots and ends with high speed into the barriers. As Magnussen, Kvyat steps out of the car unharmed, but the twenty-six-year-old driver from Oefa is visibly frustrated. All drivers, except for Romain Grosjean and Alexander Albon who pitted already, go into the pits for a new set of hard tyres.
After the heavily damaged AlphaTauri is removed by the marshals the safety car leave the track. The race in is in lap 18. Hamilton leads and builds up a safe gap towards his teammate Valtteri Bottas.
Halfway the race the top six is formed by Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen, Leclerc, Sainz and Norris. The race leader has a two second lead to his teammate and seven seconds to the Red Bull of Max. It is a fairly lonely race for the Dutchman, as he does not form any threat to the black Mercedes, but there is also not pressure from the Ferrari in P4.
While the first half of the race with two safety cars was quite hectic, the second part of the race is a lot more clam, with only a couple of fights in the mid field. Mercedes are heading for a one-two, with Max Verstappen driving his laps in the proverbial “no-man’s-land”.
With ten more laps to go race leader Lewis Hamilton has a gap of almost three seconds to Valtteri Bottas, whose tyres have a hard time. Verstappen follows at more than ten seconds but closes in on the Finn in the final phase of the race. With only three laps to go Bottas suddenly goes off the track with a punctured left front tyre, so that Max can take P2. The team decides to bring the Dutchman in for a new set of the soft tyre to try and set the fastest lap.
As a bolt from the blue also Carlos Sainz and even race leader Lewis Hamilton have a puncture, but the Brit has also because of the pitstop of Verstappen enough of a lead to pass the line first. Max sets the fastest lap and finishes second six seconds behind Hamilton. Charles Leclerc completes the podium on behalf of Ferrari. The top six is formed by Ricciardo, Norris, Ocon, Gasly and Albon.
|2||Max Verstappen||VER||Red Bull Racing Honda||52||+5.856s||19|
|5||Lando Norris||NOR||McLaren Renault||52||+22.277s||10|
|7||Pierre Gasly||GAS||AlphaTauri Honda||52||+31.188s||6|
|8||Alexander Albon||ALB||Red Bull Racing Honda||52||+32.670s||4|
|9||Lance Stroll||STR||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||52||+37.311s||2|
|12||George Russell||RUS||Williams Mercedes||52||+52.004s||0|
|13||Carlos Sainz||SAI||McLaren Renault||52||+53.370s||0|
|14||Antonio Giovinazzi||GIO||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||52||+54.205s||0|
|15||Nicholas Latifi||LAT||Williams Mercedes||52||+54.549s||0|
|16||Romain Grosjean||GRO||Haas Ferrari||52||+55.050s||0|
|17||Kimi Räikkönen||RAI||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||51||+1 lap||0|
|0||Daniil Kvyat||KVY||AlphaTauri Honda||11||DNF||0|
|0||Kevin Magnussen||MAG||Haas Ferrari||1||DNF||0|
|0||Nico Hulkenberg||HUL||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||0||DNS||0|