How Alfa Romeo F1 rules error added to Raikkonen’s "sh**" Italian GP
The Alfa Romeo team’s tyre mistake that compounded Kimi Raikkonen’s "sh**" Italian Grand Prix weekend was a misinterpretation of the Formula 1 pitlane start rules.
After crashing at Parabolica in first practice at Monza on Friday, Raikkonen made the top 10 in Q2 only to have a second accident at the same corner in the final part of qualifying.
The team was forced to change the gearbox, earning him a five-place grid penalty, and also took the opportunity to upgrade him to the latest Ferrari Spec 3 engine.
Because that decision entailed a change of specification from the Spec 2 he had used in qualifying, Raikkonen was relegated to a pitlane start.
Alfa Romeo mistakenly thought that a pitlane start forfeits the obligation for drivers who make Q3 to start with their Q2 fastest lap tyres, and switched him from his set of used softs to a new set of mediums with the intent of gaining a strategic advantage.
But the Q2 tyre rule still applies to a pitlane start unless the chassis has been changed, which was not the case on this occasion.
The offence was reported to the stewards, who were obliged to give the mandatory stop/go penalty.
Raikkonen eventually finished 15th.
"Well that was a shit weekend," he said. "First my mistake in qualifying which unfortunately meant that we had to change gearbox.
"Then we decided to also change engine and start from the pitlane, but we had the wrong tyres on and with the penalty my race was more or less over.
"Looking forward to Singapore, as it can’t get worse."
Alfa Romeo boss Fred Vasseur said on Sunday night that he did not yet know how the rules misinterpretation had occurred and would "need to investigate a little bit".
He backed Raikkonen over the qualifying crash, saying the tight margins in the upper midfield meant his driver had to give it everything in Q3.
The red flag for Raikkonen’s accident prompted the late-session rush that ended in huge controversy as drivers backed off trying to avoid giving a slipstream to rivals and mostly missed their final flying laps.
"Sometimes a small mistake at the beginning can create a huge mess," Vasseur told Autosport.
"We have to stay calm on this. He did a great job from the beginning of the season.
"We know perfectly if we want to do a P6 or P7 in quali we have to take a lot of risks, and we have to accept doing some risks that you can do some mistakes."
Italian Grand Prix: Leclerc resists Mercedes for Monza victory
Charles Leclerc resisted an intense attack from Lewis Hamilton and a late charge from Valtteri Bottas to win the Italian Grand Prix and earn back-to-back Formula 1 wins.
Leclerc fought single-handedly for victory at Ferrari’s home race after team-mate Sebastian Vettel had a spin early on while running fourth.
Hamilton gave chase for more than 20 laps in the middle of the grand prix before Bottas took over Mercedes’ attack at the end, but Leclerc kept both at bay to win again just seven days after claiming his maiden grand prix victory.
Leclerc had kept Hamilton at arm’s length through the first stint but came under attack after stopping one lap later than his pursuer – and taking hard tyres to the Mercedes driver’s mediums.
Hamilton’s earlier stop brought him out within striking distance of Leclerc straight away and two engaged in an ultra-intense cat-and-mouse chase for more than 20 laps.
During that time, Hamilton got close enough to launch two serious attacks.
First, on lap 23 of the 53, Hamilton used a minor delay as Leclerc passed Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault at Parabolica to force the youngster to defend into the first chicane – where Leclerc took to the run-off.
Leclerc defended again into the second chicane but moved back across to the right, made light contact with Hamilton and forced his rival onto the run-off.
Leclerc was given a black-and-white flag warning for that move, and was perhaps fortunate to get away with what Hamilton described as "dangerous" driving on lap 36.
A small lock-up from Leclerc sent him over the run-off at the first chicane and gave Hamilton a run out of the corner.
As Hamilton looked to the outside through Curva Grande, Leclerc jinked to the left to block his path – leaving Hamilton vexed.
Over the next few laps Hamilton remained in close proximity but failed to launch another attack before locking his front left into the first chicane at the start of lap 42.
Hamilton took to the escape road, allowing Bottas through into second after the Finn had crept up to the lead two with his long first stint giving him an eight-lap offset on fresh tyres.
Bottas picked up the chase, three seconds adrift of Leclerc, and almost got within DRS range with six laps to go before losing a bit of time in the final sector.
His best chance came three laps from the end when he got to just half a second behind Leclerc, but Bottas ran deep into the first corner and dropped back.
Bottas got within DRS range again on the final lap, then made a small mistake at the second chicane that ensured Leclerc won by 0.8 seconds.
Hamilton finished a distant third after pitting for fresh tyres to set the fastest lap and score a bonus point, meaning his championship advantage over Bottas stands at 63 points.
While Leclerc held on to win his first Italian GP as a Ferrari driver, Vettel had a miserable race and finished outside the points in 13th.
He ran fourth early on but spun after striking the kerb on the entrance to the Ascari chicane on lap six.
Vettel then rejoined the track while cars were flashing past and clipped the Racing Point of Lance Stroll, who was seventh, into a spin.
Stroll got going again but rejoined as Pierre Gasly was exiting Ascari – which forced the Toro Rosso driver through the gravel.
Vettel received a 10s stop-go penalty for his unsafe return to the track, the harshest possible penalty short of disqualification, while Stroll’s actions were deemed slightly less severe and he was hit with a drivethrough.
In the absence of Vettel – and also Max Verstappen, who started at the back following an engine change and had his race compromised by a first lap clash – Daniel Ricciardo clinched Renault’s best result of the season in fourth.
Ricciardo had fallen behind team-mate Hulkenberg in the early laps but quickly repassed the sister car and assumed fourth when Vettel spun.
He held a commanding advantage over Hulkenberg until the end of the race, while Hulkenberg – who had briefly passed Vettel on lap one – held onto fifth ahead of Red Bull’s Alex Albon to give Renault a massive haul of points.
Albon had to regain ground after banging wheels with Carlos Sainz Jr and going through the Lesmo gravel, and receiving a 5s time penalty for cutting a corner when battling with Kevin Magnussen.
Behind Albon, Sergio Perez benefited from a well-timed virtual safety car around his pitstop window to finish seventh, despite starting 18th.
Verstappen made it back to eighth after stopping on lap one for a new front wing, having broken his when the field bunched up at the first corner.
Antonio Giovinazzi scored points in his home race in ninth, while Lando Norris completed the top 10 having started 16th.
Three drivers retired from the grand prix, two shortly after making their pitstops.
Carlos Sainz Jr lost a likely strong points finish when his McLaren’s front right wheel was not attached properly at his stop.
Daniil Kvyat, also running well inside the top 10, pulled his smokey Toro Rosso to a halt exiting the first chicane after his own stop.
Magnussen was the final retiree. He had already dropped out of the points when he locked up at Turn 1 and took to the run-off and eventually stopped with a hydraulic problem.
|6||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||53||59.315s|
|7||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||53||1m13.802s|
|8||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||53||1m14.492s|
|9||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||52||1 Lap|
|10||Lando Norris||McLaren/Renault||52||1 Lap|
|11||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||52||1 Lap|
|12||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||52||1 Lap|
|13||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||52||1 Lap|
|14||George Russell||Williams/Mercedes||52||1 Lap|
|15||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||52||1 Lap|
|16||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||52||1 Lap|
|17||Robert Kubica||Williams/Mercedes||51||2 Laps|
|–||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||29||Oil leak|
|–||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||27||Wheel|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr.||58|
Alfa boss calls Verstappen’s Belgian GP Raikkonen move "stupid"
Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team boss Fred Vasseur has blamed Max Verstappen for the Belgian Grand Prix first corner collision with Kimi Raikkonen, calling the Red Bull driver’s move "stupid".
Verstappen made a poor start from fifth on the grid and both Raikkonen and Sergio Perez pulled ahead of him on the run to La Source.
The Dutchman took the inside line and made contact with Raikkonen’s right rear wheel, pitching the Alfa onto the air in an incident that was similar to one involving the same drivers in 2016 when Raikkonen was at Ferrari.
The contact led to Verstappen’s retirement immediately afterwards when suspension damage led to him going straight on at Eau Rouge.
Raikkonen was forced to make two stops under the safety car, and while he was able to rejoin the pack his race was compromised by bodywork damage and he eventually finished 16th.
"I don’t know what happened with Verstappen," Vasseur told Autosport.
"But he came from nowhere, he was even behind Perez before the braking.
"He tried to get two cars in the first corner, and it’s stupid because in Spa you can overtake and you have room to do something. We are not in Budapest or in Monaco.
"The car was completely damaged, we were missing half of the floor."
The FIA stewards deemed that it was a racing incident, taking no action.
"It was looked at," said race director Michael Masi. "Obviously we had the safety car immediately but once that got cleared, we looked at it and it was determined that it literally was Turn 1, lap one, racing incident. No further action."
Verstappen was adamant that he was not at fault, although he did not blame Raikkonen either.
"Well, first of all a bad start," he said. "I don’t know why, but we had a little wheelspin.
"And after that I just tried to keep to the inside and I think Kimi just expected that he was completely in front of me.
"Of course I braked a little later than the other two, but it was still very early. He went on to do his normal line and I couldn’t go anywhere."
Asked if he saw it as a racing incident he said: "Yes, I think so, in the end. He didn’t do it on purpose, of course."
Red Bull boss Christian Horner defended his driver, pointing to his finishing record over the past year.
"Max remarkably has had a run since Hungary last year where he’s finished top five in every grand prix," he said.
"It was almost an action replay of the incident here in 2016 with Kimi again. Maybe it’s a blind spot for Kimi!
"It’s a racing incident. He’s gone in low, I don’t think Kimi knew he was there.
"The problem is we’d had a poor start. At that point you’re in the pack and unfortunately it’s bitten us today."
Speaking to the media before viewing a replay, Raikkonen said he had not seen Verstappen on his inside.
"I was suddenly on two wheels," said the Finn. "Obviously I haven’t seen it, so it’s a bit hard to say.
"I was concentrating on slowing down because the Mercedes took a tight line so I had to slow down a lot. Honestly I didn’t see him.
"It’s a shame because we would have had a lot of speed. There was too much damage. We still tried and finished the laps off."
Alfa’s day was made even more frustrating when Antonio Giovinazzi crashed out of ninth place – which would have become eighth after Lando Norris retired – on the penultimate lap.
"He would have been easily P8 so it was a huge shame," said Vasseur.
"It would have been much better to arrive in Monza with more confidence and more points.
"It’s really a shame because we could have had the two cars into the points."
Belgian Grand Prix: Leclerc fends off Hamilton to take first F1 win
Charles Leclerc fended off a charging Lewis Hamilton to end his wait for a maiden Formula 1 win and secure Ferrari’s first victory of 2019 in the Belgian Grand Prix.
Leclerc had missed on victory in Bahrain because of an engine problem and Austria after a late fight with Max Verstappen, but suffered no repeat in Belgium as he finally converted position into victory at the third attempt.
Mercedes duo Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas completed the podium after Leclerc’s Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel slipped back from second following tyre struggles and an extra pitstop.
Hamilton rapidly closed on Leclerc in the final laps but crossed the line 0.9 seconds adrift.
The race was almost immediately placed under the safety car after Max Verstappen’s race ended in the barrier at Eau Rouge on the first lap.
Verstappen had a slow start and was passed by Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez on the run to La Source, but dived inside both under braking.
He passed Perez cleanly but hit Raikkonen as the Finn swept across to the apex of the corner, pitching the Alfa Romeo into the air – and the two made contact again on the exit of the corner.
The front left of Verstappen’s Red Bull was damaged in the accident and broke completely as he entered Eau Rouge, which caused him to slide helplessly into the barriers on the outside.
Raikkonen continued after a trip to the pits, as did Daniel Ricciardo, whose Renault picked up some floor damage in a separate incident behind.
The safety car was due to return to the pitlane on lap three but was re-deployed before making it back to the pits because Carlos Sainz Jr stopped on track after a loss of power in his Renault-engined McLaren.
When the race did resume on lap five, Leclerc was gifted an immediate advantage as Vettel locked up at La Source.
Leclerc remained in control through his first stint, surviving a minor scare when he locked up at Les Combes and took to the run-off.
That incident was noted by officials, after a pre-event instruction to drivers to obey specific instructions if they went wide there, but Leclerc ended up escaping investigation.
Vettel kept Hamilton at bay despite coming under pressure through the first half of the race, and the Ferrari driver was first to stop on lap 15 of 44.
Leclerc, Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas stayed out for many more laps, and by the time the race leader pitted on lap 21 he had lost too much time to Vettel to maintain the position.
Vettel’s efforts on new tyres handed him a five-second margin when Leclerc emerged from the pits, but Leclerc swiftly ate into that with fresh rubber.
Leclerc was within DRS range with 18 laps still to go and Ferrari instructed Vettel to let his team-mate by, which he did after a short delay in order to give Leclerc a tow on the Kemmel Straight and minimise the time loss.
Ferrari’s strategy call banked Leclerc the win but it left Vettel vulnerable to the Mercedes drivers, and he soon slipped to fourth as his medium tyres fell away.
Leclerc seemed safe until Hamilton closed rapidly in the closing laps, but the championship leader was unable to mount an attack – and in any case, second place extended his lead over Bottas in the championship to 65 points.
After being passed by Hamilton, Vettel was told to stay out if he could keep Bottas behind but reported "negative" almost immediately and dived in for fresh tyres in order to set the fastest lap and gain a bonus point.
New Red Bull recruit Alex Albon banked a surprise fifth place on his debut with the team after a fine charge from the back of the grid.
He was promoted to the best result of his F1 career after last-lap drama, as Lando Norris retired to hand Albon sixth and the London-born Thai then nabbed fifth from Racing Point driver Sergio Perez.
Norris was on course to be rewarded with his own career-best finish, after leaping up the order on the dramatic first lap.
The McLaren rookie then blitzed his midfield rivals but reported a sudden loss of power as he was starting his final lap, and pulled over on the start-finish straight.
That promoted Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat to seventh late on, before further drama occurred when Antonio Giovinazzi crashed out of what would have been eighth place.
Nico Hulkenberg therefore finished eighth after passing team-mate Ricciardo during a late charge, while Pierre Gasly battled to ninth in his first start since being demoted from Red Bull to Toro Rosso.
Lance Stroll completed the top 10 as Ricciardo’s badly-worn tyres meant he slipped to 14th behind the two Haas drivers, who ran sixth and seventh early on but faded badly as the race progressed
|5||Alexander Albon||Red Bull/Honda||44||1m21.325s|
|6||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||44||1m24.448s|
|7||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||44||1m29.657s|
|9||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Honda||44||1m49.168s|
|10||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||44||1m49.838s|
|11||Lando Norris||McLaren/Renault||43||Not running|
|12||Kevin Magnussen||Haas/Ferrari||43||1 Lap|
|13||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||43||1 Lap|
|14||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||43||1 Lap|
|15||George Russell||Williams/Mercedes||43||1 Lap|
|16||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||43||1 Lap|
|17||Robert Kubica||Williams/Mercedes||43||1 Lap|
|18||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||42||Spun off|
|–||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1||Power Unit|
|–||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||0||Collision|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr.||58|
Mercedes strategy helps Hamilton overhaul Verstappen for Hungary win
Lewis Hamilton stole victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix with four laps left after a strategy switch from his Mercedes Formula 1 team defeated long-time race leader Max Verstappen.
Hamilton swapped to a two-stop strategy in a bid to use fresh tyres to mount a late attack on Red Bull driver Verstappen.
Verstappen held on until the start of lap 67 of 70, when Hamilton used DRS to attack on the outside into the first corner and Verstappen’s "dead" tyres left him powerless in defence on the inside.
A switch to soft tyres for the final three laps allowed Verstappen to at least score a bonus point for fastest lap, as Ferrari’s lead driver Sebastian Vettel completed the podium – more than a minute behind Hamilton.
Verstappen held onto the lead at the start as fellow front-row man Valtteri Bottas locked up attacking on the outside and he made light side-by-side contact with Mercedes team-mate Hamilton, who was further to the outside of the left-hander.
Bottas then had to defend from Hamilton into Turn 2 but locked up again, allowing Hamilton to cut back and sweep by around the outside into Turn 3 – compromising Bottas as they made slight contact and letting Charles Leclerc nip ahead in his Ferrari.
Leclerc also made contact with Bottas in the process and the Mercedes driver’s front wing was broken by this touch, which proved too problematic to continue with beyond lap five, triggering an early pitstop and wrecking Bottas’s race.
At the front, Verstapen quickly established a two-second advantage but Hamilton fought back and was almost inside DRS range when Verstappen – complaining about losing grip – pitted on lap 25.
Mercedes opted to extend Hamilton’s stint six laps beyond Verstappen’s, which dropped him 5.8s behind when he rejoined but Hamilton’s pace on fresh tyres rapidly eliminated the gap.
He had DRS to attack Verstappen within five laps of rejoining, causing Verstappen to defend slightly into Turn 1 just as the race ticked past mid-distance.
Hamilton then took to the outside at Turn 2 but ran wide, slightly onto the run-off, which allowed Verstappen breathing space.
A much more aggressive Hamilton attack followed as they ran side-by-side into Turn 1 lapping Daniel Ricciardo, with Hamilton moving to the again outside for Turn 2.
Hamilton attempted to pass Verstappen on the outside of the fast Turn 4 left-hander but had to abort the move and take to the run-off.
Verstappen requested more engine power in his bid to keep Hamilton out of DRS range but Hamilton was also suffering with brake wear, meaning another attack was not forthcoming.
But Mercedes then rolled the dice by stopping Hamilton again on lap 48, a move Red Bull opted not to cover – giving Hamilton 20 laps to attack a 20-second gap to Verstappen on fresh tyres.
With six laps to go, and Hamilton just 5.5s behind, Verstappen reported his tyres were "dead", and two laps later Hamilton was within DRS range.
He breezed by on the outside into the first corner with superior grip and braking performance, and with Verstappen unable to finish the race on his wrecked rubber the Red Bull dived into the pits for his own fresh tyres and he went on to comfortably set the fastest lap.
Leclerc looked set to complete the podium after an anonymous race from Ferrari, which swiftly faded from the lead battle in the early stages and never looked like recovering. But
Vettel switched to "Plan C", which meant a long final stint on softs and a tall task to make up the time he lost to Leclerc by extending his first stint.
With just under three laps left, Vettel caught Leclerc and dived inside at Turn 1 with an aggressive move to wrest the final podium place.
Carlos Sainz Jr took advantage of Bottas’s strife and a bad start for Pierre Gasly to steal fifth for McLaren, also jumping his team-mate Lando Norris on the opening lap.
Sainz ran in that position throughout the grand prix and then withstood pressure from Gasly in the other Red Bull to finish fifth for the second race in a row.
Norris could have completed a five-six result for McLaren but a problem with the left-rear meant a slow pitstop and that dropped him behind Gasly and the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen.
He was too far behind to catch or pressure Raikkonen, who matched his best result of the season with seventh.
Bottas’s recovery was limited to eighth place, passing Norris late on, despite Mercedes at one point predicting he could make it back to sixth.
Toro Rosso driver Alex Albon caught and passed team-mate Daniil Kvyat and the Racing Point of Sergio Perez in the final third of the grand prix to complete the top 10 and bag another point.
Romain Grosjean was the race’s only retirement.
The Haas driver ran inside the top 10 early on but slipped back after a long first stint did not pay off, and his car was wheeled into the garage with a water pressure problem with more than 20 laps remaining.
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||70||17.796s|
|5||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||69||1 Lap|
|6||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull/Honda||69||1 Lap|
|7||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||69||1 Lap|
|8||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||69||1 Lap|
|9||Lando Norris||McLaren/Renault||69||1 Lap|
|10||Alexander Albon||Toro Rosso/Honda||69||1 Lap|
|11||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||69||1 Lap|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||69||1 Lap|
|13||Kevin Magnussen||Haas/Ferrari||69||1 Lap|
|14||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||69||1 Lap|
|15||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||68||2 Laps|
|16||George Russell||Williams/Mercedes||68||2 Laps|
|17||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||68||2 Laps|
|18||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||68||2 Laps|
|19||Robert Kubica||Williams/Mercedes||67||3 Laps|
|–||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||49||Water leak|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr.||58|
Verstappen wins wild German GP from Vettel, disaster for Mercedes
Max Verstappen mastered both wet and dry conditions to win the 2019 Formula 1 German Grand Prix for Red Bull as Mercedes faltered badly at its home race.
Rain before the start and during the race made for an incident-packed event in which polesitter Lewis Hamilton spun twice on his way to an eventual 11th place finish, and his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas crashed out.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel raced from the back of the grid to finish second, but it was a mixed day for the team after Charles Leclerc hit the barriers and retired.
Daniil Kvyat was third thanks to astute tactical choices by Toro Rosso. Torrential rain throughout the morning ensured this would be the first test of F1’s new wet-weather starting procedures, with the safety car leading the pack for several formation laps.
Predictably, a number of the more combative-minded drivers began to lobby for the it to be withdrawn so the race could begin, and it eventually peeled off to enable a standing start.
Hamilton seamlessly converted pole into the race lead as Verstappen squandered his front-row start with too much wheelspin, conceding two places as both Bottas and Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen went by.
He almost lost a further place to the fast-starting Haas of Romain Grosjean, too, but reasserted himself into Turn 1 and recovered third place from Raikkonen next time around.
Spray and uncertain grip levels precipitated chaos in their wake as Carlos Sainz’s McLaren ran wide in Turn 2 and Nico Hulkenberg and Leclerc pounced, and the midfielders bumped and banged their way through the opening laps.
At the end of the second lap, Sergio Perez rotated his Racing Point into the barrier at the exit of Turn 11, bringing out the safety car.
Vettel – starting from the back of the grid after failing to run in qualifying – and Toro Rosso’s Alex Albon dived straight into the pits for intermediates while Hamilton and the rest of the frontrunners had to complete another lap before doing likewise.
A handful of teams gambled on leaving drivers out on the full wet tyres but that soon proved to have been the wrong option as a dry line began to form.
Kevin Magnussen was one such and, although he was running second behind Hamilton in the safety car queue, he was quickly swamped by Bottas and Verstappen when the race was green-flagged on lap 4 of 64.
Stopping a lap earlier elevated Vettel to 12th and he quickly cut through the midfielders ahead to run seventh.
But he was still over half a minute behind Hamilton, who remained serene in the rapidly changing conditions at this stage, stretching his advantage over Bottas beyond five seconds.
Leclerc and Hulkenberg stopped early for new intermediates during a brief virtual safety car period on lap 15 after Daniel Ricciardo pulled off with his Renault engine badly smoking, and Leclerc shot clear.
By lap 22, Leclerc had closed the gap to Verstappen to below four seconds, leaving Hulkenberg 20s down the road, though the threat to him from Raikkonen and Vettel was diminished by their worn intermediates.
On lap 23, Vettel was one of the first to pit for slicks, taking on the soft compound, and Red Bull brought Verstappen in from third place a lap later and fitted mediums.
Mercedes opted to fit mediums as well when it pitted Bottas on lap 26, while Ferrari went for softs on Leclerc’s car on the following lap.
Hamilton was next in, for mediums, but his arrival in the pits coincided with a fresh downpour unheralded on the weather radar.
Leclerc immediately went off at the penultimate corner after making a small mistake and slid into the barriers at slow speed, beaching himself in the gravel and bringing out the safety car.
But then Hamilton speared off-track at the same point on the following lap.
He managed to gather his Mercedes into line and just glanced the barrier, breaking his front wing, but he was able to head straight into the pits.
There, chaotic scenes ensued as his unprepared crew fumbled for a new set of intermediate tyres and a replacement front wing, and to heap further misfortune on Hamilton’s plate he was hit with a five-second penalty for driving on the wrong side of the pit-entry bollard.
The rest of the field then pitted for intermediates as it became obvious that the slicks were unsuitable, leaving Verstappen in the lead ahead of Bottas, Hulkenberg, Albon, Hamilton, Sainz, Raikkonen and Vettel.
Hamilton made short work of Albon in green-flag conditions as Hulkenberg pressured Bottas, handing Verstappen the opportunity to break nearly 10s clear.
That enabled Verstappen to gain a free pitstop for fresh intermediates when the safety car came out again on lap 40, triggered when Hulkenberg went off at the last corner in a similar fashion to Leclerc shortly after being passed by Hamilton for third.
The track began to dry again as the field circulated behind the safety car for four laps, prompting Racing Point to gamble by pitting the previously anonymous Lance Stroll for slicks the lap before the green flag, and he was followed by Kvyat.
This dropped them to the tail of the field, but after the other runners also broke for the pits after the track had gone live, the duo benefitted massively to run second and third behind Verstappen.
Kvyat used DRS to pass Stroll on the run to the hairpin on lap 50, while Mercedes’ day went from bad to worse as Hamilton spun down to 15th place with a high-speed moment at Turn 1 and then Bottas had a near-identical moment a few laps later but hit the barriers hard at Turn 1, bringing out the safety car.
With five laps to run the track went green again with Verstappen leading from Kvyat and Stroll, while Vettel relieved Sainz of fourth immediately after the restart.
Two laps later, Vettel blasted by Stroll on the straight before the hairpin, and he nailed Kvyat next time round to annex second place in the final reckoning, crossing the lap 7.3s seconds behind the victorious Verstappen.
Stroll survived late attention from Sainz to retain fourth, while Albon made it to the flag ahead of Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi despite a tag from Gasly that sent the second Red Bull into retirement late-on.
Grosjean and Magnussen rounded out the top 10, though bonhomie was likely to be in short supply in the Haas camp since they contrived to collide once again in the closing laps, this time without eliminating each other.
Results – 64 laps
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1h44m31.275s|
|3||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||8.305s|
|4||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||8.966s|
|5||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||9.583s|
|6||Alexander Albon||Toro Rosso/Honda||10.052s|
|7||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||12.214s|
|8||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||13.849s|
|14||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull/Honda||Collision|
|–||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||Spun off|
|–||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||Spun off|
|–||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||Spun off|
|–||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||Power Unit|
|–||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||Spun off|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr.||48|
Lewis Hamilton takes record-breaking sixth British Grand Prix win
Lewis Hamilton won the British Grand Prix after jumping Formula 1 title rival Valtteri Bottas with a safety car-assisted strategy, while Sebastian Vettel wiped Max Verstappen out of third.
Hamilton overhauled poleman and Mercedes team-mate Bottas by running a longer first stint that allowed him to only stop once, and proved crucial when a safety car emerged after Bottas pitted.
That gave Hamilton track advantage and he won comfortably after Bottas made a late second pitstop to use his mandatory second compound, having used mediums in his first two stints.
Charles Leclerc finished third after a dramatic fight for the final podium spot, in which Leclerc had an epic scrap with Verstappen – who was later fired into the gravel by Vettel.
Pierre Gasly scored the best result of his Red Bull career in fourth, while Verstappen managed to get his Red Bull out of the gravel and finish fifth, with Vettel down in 16th after needing a new nose and being hit with a 10-second time penalty.
Bottas led the first part of the race but kicked off the pitstops among the leaders while Hamilton extended his stint to lap 20.
That was vital for Hamilton, who was already considering switching to the hards and executing a one-stop strategy.
He and Vettel – who struggled in the opening stint down in sixth, but also extended his run – then had their persistence rewarded when the safety car emerged.
Antonio Giovinazzi locked the rear wheels on his Alfa Romeo entering the penultimate corner and slid sideways into the gravel.
With the race neutralised Hamilton and Vettel dived into the pitlane, rejoining in first and third respectively and with no further pitstops to make.
In the fight for the win, Bottas was hamstrung by the decision not to pit under the safety car and switch to hard tyres, which locked him into a two-stop strategy.
He was unable to attack Hamilton at the restart and ran a couple of seconds adrift of the Briton, before eventually pitting seven laps from the end having opened up a big enough gap to the best of the rest.
That meant he still finished second, and looked likely to claim the fastest lap bonus point as consolation for his lost victory – before Hamilton pumped in an even faster time on the final lap on old hards.
Hamilton’s last-gasp fastest lap meant he extended his points lead to 39.
Behind the two Mercedes drivers, Leclerc finished third after a frenzied grand prix.
Leclerc held the place early on but had to withstand enormous pressure from Verstappen, who then managed to just jump him in the pitlane as they stopped at the same time.
However, Leclerc quickly retook the place when Verstappen ran wide at The Loop immediately after exiting the pits, before falling back behind after Ferrari opted not to stop him again as soon as the safety car was deployed.
Red Bull reacted quicker and stopped Verstappen swiftly, and he rejoined fifth – behind Vettel and the sister Red Bull of Gasly, who pitted earlier and stuck to a one-stop.
Ferrari’s call to stop Leclerc a lap later dropped him to sixth, and when the race resumed he attacked Verstappen immediately.
Their wheel-to-wheel fight recommenced and peaked when Leclerc attacked on the outside into the final complex of corners just before mid-distance.
They bumped wheels slightly when Leclerc had the inside for the right-hand penultimate turn, and Verstappen took to the run-off on the outside, keeping the position as he rejoined through the final corner.
Leclerc’s challenge faded after that unpenalised incident, while Verstappen passed Gasly for fourth and then caught and attacked Vettel for third.
He nailed the Ferrari on the outside at Stowe on lap 37, but ran slightly wide and Vettel tucked into his slipstream on the short run down to Vale – but positioned his Ferrari on the inside, with nowhere to go, and tried to switch back to the outside too late.
Vettel locked up and slammed into the back of Verstappen’s car, pitching it airborne over a kerb and into the gravel as the Ferrari ended up facing the wrong way with its rear wheels in the gravel.
They both rejoined, but Verstappen was limited to fifth – fortunately not losing further positions – as Vettel dropped to the back.
Vettel’s elimination from the front allowed Carlos Sainz Jr to take sixth for McLaren, fighting off Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault in a fierce best-of-the-rest fight.
Kimi Raikkonen executed a one-stop strategy to finish eighth, while Daniil Kvyat’s well-timed safety car pitstop allowed him to charge to ninth.
Nico Hulkenberg completed the point scorers in 10th.
The two Haas drivers joined Giovinazzi in retirement – Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen colliding on the first lap and both retiring as a result shortly afterwards.
Result – 52 laps
|4||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull/Honda||52||34.692s|
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||52||39.458s|
|6||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||52||53.639s|
|8||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||52||1m05.540s|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||52||1m06.720s|
|12||Alexander Albon||Toro Rosso/Honda||52||1m15.617s|
|13||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||52||1m21.086s|
|14||George Russell||Williams/Mercedes||51||1 Lap|
|15||Robert Kubica||Williams/Mercedes||51||1 Lap|
|16||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||51||1 Lap|
|17||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||51||1 Lap|
|–||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||18||Spun off|
|–||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||9||Accident damage|
|–||Kevin Magnussen||Haas/Ferrari||6||Accident damage|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr.||38|