Leclerc scores hat-trick of pole

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc achieved his third consecutive Formula 1 pole position after edging out Lewis Hamilton by 0.191 seconds.

With the Scuderia’s aerodynamic upgrades giving it a significant boost in performance around a street circuit that even the team expected would not suit it, Sebastian Vettel set the pace on the first runs in Q3.

But Vettel’s second attempt was messy, resulting in him aborting to the pits, leaving the way for Leclerc to claim pole.

After the lap, Leclerc claimed over the radio that he lost control three times on the lap in what was a superb attacking performance.

Vettel’s final-run struggles allowed Hamilton to secure second position on his final lap, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen ending up fourth and almost four tenths behind Vettel.

Valtteri Bottas was fifth for Mercedes ahead of Red Bull’s Alex Albon, with neither driver able to threaten their teammates.

McLaren led the way in the midfield battle, with Carlos Sainz taking seventh place ahead of the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo.

Nico Hulkenberg was ninth for Renault, 0.065 seconds quicker than the McLaren of Lando Norris.

Racing Point’s Sergio Perez jumped up to P11 at the end of Q2, but missed out on beating Hulkenberg to a Q3 spot by four hundredths of a second.

Perez has a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change thanks to damage sustained in a practice crash, meaning he is currently set to start P16.

Behind him, Antonio Giovinazzi and Pierre Gasly both failed to improve on their second runs and ended up P12 and P13 respectively but both well within a tenth of Perez’s time.

Gasly reported over the radio that he was struggling with the rear after completing his final lap, during which he grazed the wall.

Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen was P14 after setting his best time on his second Q2 run, having slapped the wall with both left-hand-side wheels on his first attempt.

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen was slowest of those in Q2, lapping eight tenths behind Raikkonen.

Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat was the quickest of those eliminated in Q1 in P16 having failed to improve on his time set during the first runs.

He was up after the first sector, but lost time thereafter meaning he was unable to recover from Perez bumping him into the drop-zone – although he was only 0.015 seconds slower than Magnussen, who did make it through Q1.

Lance Stroll was P17 after only finding 0.209 seconds on his second run in the Racing Point after several light brushes of the wall, which was enough to put him three-tenths clear of Haas driver Romain Grosjean.

George Russell had to abort his final attempt after running wide at the exit of Turn 7, although his first-run time was good enough to put him P19 ahead of Williams team-mate Robert Kubica by three tenths.

So congratulations to Charles Leclerc in achieving a hat-trick of pole positions. The Ferrari driver is on a winning form with this qualifying result and it will be fascinating if he can score another victory at Marina Bay.

Kudos to Ferrari in upstaging the Mercedes and Red Bull by going quickest in qualifying. The Scuderia admitted that this street circuit won’t suit the SF90 as it requires downforce but the red car of Leclerc surprised everyone with this pole position. Bring on the race!

Singapore Grand Prix, qualifying positions:
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:36.217
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:36.408
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:36.437
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:36.813
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:37.146
6 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 1:37.411
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1:37.818
8 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:38.095
9 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:38.264
10 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1:38.329
11 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1:38.620
12 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:38.697
13 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1:38.699
14 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:38.858
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1:39.650
16 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 1:39.957
17 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1:39.979
18 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1:40.277
19 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:40.867
20 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 1:41.186

Leclerc takes popular Monza victory

Charles Leclerc soaked up the big pressure from the Mercedes pair to win at Monza, sending the passionate Tifosi into party mode at the Italian Grand Prix.

This is Leclerc’s second victory in Formula 1 and follows on from his maiden at Spa.

Leclerc fought single-handedly for victory at Ferrari’s home race after teammate Sebastian Vettel had a spin early on while running fourth.

Hamilton gave chase for more than 20 laps in the middle of the Italian 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 victory.

Leclerc kept Hamilton at 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, Hamilton used a minor delay as Leclerc passed Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault at Parabolica to force the Ferrari driver to defend into the first chicane.

Leclerc defended again into the chicane 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 moved to the left to block his path – leaving Hamilton annoyed.

Over the next few laps Hamilton remained in close range 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 he 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, but made a small mistake at the second chicane and 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 Grand Prix as a Ferrari driver, Vettel had a miserable race and finished outside of the points in P13.

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 flash 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 10-second stop-go penalty for his unsafe return to the track, the harshest possible penalty short of disqualification, while Stroll’s was deemed slightly less severe and he was hit with a drive-through.

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 scored Renault’s best result of the season in fourth.

Ricciardo had fallen behind teammate Hulkenberg in the early laps but quickly repassed his teammate and assumed fourth when Vettel spun.

He held a commanding advantage over Hulkenberg until the end of the race, while Hulkenberg held onto fifth ahead of Red Bull’s Alex Albon to give Renault a massive haul of points.

Behind Albon, Sergio Perez benefitted from a well-timed virtual safety car around his pitstop window to finish seventh, despite starting P18.

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 ten having started P16.

Three drivers retired from the Italian Grand Prix, two shortly after making their pitstops.

Carlos Sainz lost a likely strong points finish when his McLaren’s front right wheel was not attached properly at his pitstop.

Daniil Kvyat, also running well inside the top ten, pulled his smokey Toro Rosso to a halt exiting the first chicane after his own stop.

Kevin 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.

So congratulations to Charles Leclerc in achieving this fantastic result at Monza. To win for Ferrari in front of the passionate Tifosi crowd is just epic. The last Scuderia driver to be victorious was Fernando Alonso back in 2010, so for Leclerc to win in his first appearance at Ferrari is truly special.

Italian Grand Prix, race results:
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:15:26.665
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.835
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 35.199
4 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 45.515
5 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 58.165
6 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda Red Bull 59.315
7 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1:13.802
8 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:14.492
9 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1 lap
10 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1 lap
11 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1 lap
12 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1 lap
13 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1 lap
14 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1 lap
15 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1 lap
16 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1 lap
17 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 2 laps
– Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari
– Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda
– Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault

Leclerc take Monza pole in farce end to qualifying

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc achieved his fourth career pole position at Monza, scene of the Italian Grand Prix though the ending scenes was a complete farce.

Leclerc put his Ferrari on pole with a lap of one minute, 20.126 seconds on his first run in Q3, giving him an advantage of 0.039 seconds over Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.

But with the tow crucial at Monza, ahead of the second runs the ten Q3 drivers engaged in a ‘slow race’ for the ideal position to start their flying laps, with most failing to make to the end of the lap before the chequered flag.

This meant no driver was able to improve their lap time on the second run, with Hamilton complaining that the Ferrari drivers had held everyone up and “just timed everyone out”.

The stewards are investigating “the last lap of qualifying”, with drivers having previously been warned about slow out-laps.

To witness this makes the sport a laughing joke. With just two minutes to the end of Q3, the teams/drivers left until the final moment and with all that slipstream tactics coming into play, it was not a surprise to see all the drivers unable to complete a lap.

Valtteri Bottas, who just completed his first lap before the red flags flew in Q3 for Kimi Raikkonen spinning into the wall at Parabolica, was third fastest, just 0.0004 seconds slower than his teammate.

Sebastian Vettel was fourth quickest for Ferrari, a tenth off Bottas and ahead of the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo.

Nico Hulkenberg was sixth fastest ahead of Carlos Sainz, who was the slowest of the seven drivers to set a time in Q3.

Alex Albon, Lance Stroll and Raikkonen were classified eighth, ninth and tenth respectively with none of them having posted a time.

While Raikkonen’s was thanks to his first-run crash, the other two were unable to complete a lap thanks to the late-session chaos.

Antonio Giovinazzi showed how big a difference a tiny gap can make and ended up as the fastest of the five drivers eliminated in Q2 despite lapping just two thousandths slower than teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

The Alfa Romeo driver jumped Haas driver Kevin Magnussen with his final lap, with K-Mag ending up a tenth slower in P12 after failing to improve on his first Q2 run time.

Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat was P13, with the rear stepping out at the exit of the second chicane on his final attempt and leading to him taking a bite of the gravel.

That lap was his fastest and was enough to put him ahead of two drivers who didn’t mount serious Q2 attempts thanks to having back-of-the-grid penalties for power unit changes – McLaren’s Lando Norris and Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly.

Romain Grosjean was quickest of those eliminated in the first segment of qualifying in P16 despite lapping just 0.658 seconds off Q1 pacesetter Leclerc.

The Haas driver was in trouble after the first runs in Q1, which were separated by a four-minute red flag caused by Sergio Perez’s Racing Point stopping on track, but did improve on the second attempt.

This temporarily put him into the top 15, but improvements by Sainz and Stroll meant he missed out on advancing after lapping 0.061 seconds slower than Kvyat.

Perez, who ground to a halt at Curva Grande after suffering a loss of power at the end of his first run, ended up P17.

The red flag didn’t cause much disruption as it fell between the first and second runs of the drivers, although Vettel was on a lap that was set to improve on mediums that he had to abandon and subsequent did go out on softs as a precautionary measure and did not set a time.

George Russell won the intra-Williams battle for slowest driver in qualifying, 0.556 seconds faster than Robert Kubica.

That put them P18 and P19, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen not setting a time after reporting a lack of power on his run.

Verstappen was always set to start at the rear thanks to being one of three drivers with a back-of-the-grid penalty, along with Gasly and Norris.

So a bizarre end to qualifying with the drivers playing games on how to position themselves for slipstream. The final result was missing out as the Q3 session ended.

At least Charles Leclerc continues to impress with yet another pole position and looks the favourite in scoring a win at the Scuderia’s home track.

Italian Grand Prix, qualifying positions:
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:19.307
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:19.346
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:19.354
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:19.457
5 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:19.839
6 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:20.049
7 Carlos Sainz McLaren-Renault 1:20.989
8 Alexander Albon Red Bull-Honda 1:20.021
9 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:20.515
10 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1:20.498
11 Antonio Giovinazzo Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:20.517
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1:20.615
13 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 1:20.630
14 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1:21.068
15 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1:21.125
16 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1:20.784
17 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1:21.291
18 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:21.800
19 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 1:21.356
20 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda –

Leclerc scores maiden victory at Spa

Charles Leclerc held off a late challenge from Lewis Hamilton to score his maiden Formula 1 victory and secure Scuderia Ferrari’s first win of 2019 in the Belgian Grand Prix.

Leclerc missed out on victory in Bahrain because of an engine problem and Austria after a late fight with Max Verstappen, but suffered no such repeat as he finally did it on his third attempt.

The Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas completed the podium after Leclerc’s Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel slipped back from second position 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 Belgian Grand Prix was almost immediately placed under the safety car after 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.

The Red Bull driver passed Perez cleanly but hit Raikkonen as The Iceman 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 stayed out on track before making it back to the pits, because Carlos Sainz stopped at the exit of the Bus Stop chicance 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 race 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.

Leclerc, Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas stayed out for many more laps, and by the time the race leader pit 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 reduced that time difference with fresh rubber.

Leclerc was within DRS range with 18 laps still to go and Ferrari instructed Vettel to let his teammate 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 gives 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 recorded 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 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 passed his midfield rivals with ease 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 position.

Nico Hulkenberg thus finished eighth after passing teammate 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 ten as Ricciardo’s badly-worn tyres meant he slipped to P14 behind the two Haas drivers, who ran sixth and seventh early on but faded badly as the race progressed.

So congratulations to Ferrari and Charles Leclerc in winning their first race of the season. The straight-line speed helped on this Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Such a nice gesture from Charles to dedicate this victory to Anthoine Hubert, who lost his life in the Formula 2 race during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend. Respect to the motorsport community in putting on a good show with a popular winner.

Belgian Grand Prix, race results:
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:23:45.710
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.981
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 12.585
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 26.422
5 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 1:21.325
6 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1:24.448
7 Federation Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 1:29.657
8 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:46.639
9 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1:49.168
10 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1:49.838
11 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault –
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1 lap
13 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1 lap
14 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1 lap
15 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1 lap
16 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1 lap
17 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 1 lap
18 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari
19 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault –
20 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda –

Leclerc scores Spa pole and edges out Vettel by seven tenths

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc achieved his third career pole position with a strong performance advantage over teammate Sebastian Vettel by 0.748 seconds at Spa-Francorchamps.

Leclerc set the pace on the first Q3 runs with a lap time of one minute, 42.644 seconds, which would have been enough to be sure of P1.

But Charles improved to a one minute, 42.519 seconds on his second run to make certain of starting from the front.

Vettel had to work hard to get a place on the front row, setting the third fastest time on the first run behind Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton improved on his second run, but Vettel’s final attempt was just enough to jump ahead – by only 0.015 seconds.

Valtteri Bottas put his Mercedes fourth on the grid, 0.896 seconds off pole position and almost three-tenths ahead of Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.

Verstappen had a near-miss in Q1, with his first run ruined by a loss of engine power before completing a lap quick enough to reach Q2 just 13 seconds before a late red flag.

The leading drivers all struggled with their warm-up laps in Q3 as they struggled for track position, with both Silver Arrows drivers locking up on their first runs while on out-laps.

Vettel also had trouble, complaining “what a mess” over the radio on his slowdown lap.

Renault led the midfield with Daniel Ricciardo almost three-tenths clear of Nico Hulkenberg in sixth and seventh places respectively.

Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen almost split the Renaults but ended up eighth, 0.015 seconds slower than Hulkenberg.

That put him ahead of the Racing Point of Sergio Perez, who has reverted to a previously-used old-specification Mercedes power unit after a failure in practice.

Haas’s Kevin Magnussen rounded out the top ten but never looked to have the pace to do better than P10.

Haas driver Romain Grosjean was the quickest of those eliminated in Q2 after being outpaced by Magnussen by just 0.059 seconds.

McLaren driver Lando Norris was P12 ahead of the Racing Point of Lance Stroll, who only made one attempt in Q2 as he carries a back-of-the-grid penalty for taking the new Mercedes engine at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix weekend.

Newly-promoted Red Bull driver Alex Albon also has to serve a back-of-the-grid penalty for taking the latest Honda engine package, meaning he has focused on race preparation work.

Although Albon did set a time in Q2, it was on previously-used rubber and left him down in P14.

Antonio Giovinazzi was P15 but unable to set a time in Q2 after suffering a failure of his new, latest-specification Ferrari engine at the end of the first part of qualifying.

Giovinazzi’s failure, which resulted in a late red flag in Q1, ensured that first-run times dictated who was eliminated in the opening stage of qualifying.

Toro Rosso returnee Pierre Gasly was the quickest of those knocked out having lapped almost three-tenths off slowest Q2 qualifier Norris in Q1.

Surprisingly, McLaren driver Carlos Sainz Jr was also eliminated after having to complete his first flier on rubber that he’d used before the red flag.

Sainz must serve a five-place grid penalty after introduction the latest-specification Renault engine at the start of practice but returned to the previous version for Saturday’s running – although other penalties means he is currently set to start no lower than P17.

Daniil Kvyat, who carries a back-of-the-grid penalty thanks to taking the newly-upgraded Honda power unit package, was P18 and a second ahead of the Williams of George Russell.

Robert Kubica was P20 but was unable to set a time after he suffered a failure of his new and latest-specification Mercedes engine towards the end of the lap while on his first qualifying lap.

Kubica brought the Williams, which was billowing smoke, to a halt as a fire broke out at the rear – leading to the first red flag of the session.

So congratulations to Charles Leclerc in taking pole position for Ferrari. The Scuderia are looking very strong at Spa-Francorchamps thanks to the impressive straight-line speed. Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix is a must win after so many near misses this season compared to rival Mercedes.

Qualifying positions, Belgian Grand Prix:

1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:42.519
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:43.267
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:43.282
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:43.415
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:43.690
6 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:44.257
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:44.542
8 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:44.557
9 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1:44.706
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1:45.086
11 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1:44.797
12 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1:44.847
13 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1:45.047
14 Alexander Albon Red Bull-Honda 1:45.528 1:45.799
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:45.637
16 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1:46.435
17 Carlos Sainz McLaren-Renault 1:46.507
18 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 1:46.518
19 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:47.548
20 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes –

Hamilton chases down Verstappen and takes Hungarian Grand Prix victory

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton snatches victory from rival Max Verstappen with four laps to the flag following a strategy switch from the Mercedes Formula 1 racing team to defeat Red Bull.

Hamilton swapped to a two-stop tyre strategy in a bid to use fresh Pirelli to mount a late attack on Verstappen.

Verstappen held on until the start of lap 67, when Hamilton used DRS to attack on the outside into Turn 1 and Verstappen’s “dead” tyres left him powerless in defence.

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 – though more than a minute behind race winner Hamilton.

Verstappen held onto the lead at the start as fellow front-row driver Valtteri Bottas locked up attacking on the outside and made light side-by-side contact with his Mercedes teammate Hamilton.

Bottas tried to defend from Hamilton into Turn 2 but locked up again, allowing Hamilton to cut back and went by around the outside into Turn 3 – compromising Bottas and letting Charles Leclerc to get ahead in his Ferrari.

Leclerc made contact with Bottas in the process and the Mercedes driver’s front wing was broken, which proved too problematic to continue with beyond lap five, triggering an early pitstop and destorying Bottas’s race.

At the front, Verstappen quickly established a two-second advantage but Hamilton fought back and was almost inside DRS range when Verstappen – complaining of losing grip – pit on lap 25.

Mercedes opted to extend Hamilton’s stint six laps beyond Verstappen’s, which dropped him 5.8 seconds 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 went past mid-distance.

Hamilton then took to the outside at Turn 4 but ran wide, slightly onto the run-off, which allowed Verstappen breathing space.

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.

Mercedes made the inspired strategy call 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 5.5 seconds behind, Verstappen reported his tyres were “dead”, and two laps later Hamilton was within DRS range.

The Mercedes driver 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.

Leclerc looked set to complete the podium after a difficult race from Ferrari, which faded from the lead battle swiftly and never looked like recovering.

However, Vettel switched to “Plan C”, which meant a long final stint on softs and a tall task up the time he lost to Leclerc by extending his first stint.

With just under three laps left Vettel caught and dived inside Leclerc at Turn 1 with an aggressive move to wrest the final podium position.

Carlos Sainz took advantage of Bottas’s nightmare race and a bad start for Pierre Gasly to steal fifth for McLaren, having also jumped his teammate Lando Norris on the opening lap.

Sainz ran in that position throughout the Hungarian 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 5-6 result for the Woking-based team but a problem with the left-rear meant a slow pitstop and 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 position, passing Norris late on, despite Mercedes predicting he could make it back to sixth.

Toro Rosso driver Alex Albon caught and passed teammate Daniil Kvyat and the Racing Point of Sergio Perez in the final third of the grand prix to complete the top ten and score another point.

Romain Grosjean was the race’s only retirement.

The Haas driver ran inside the top ten 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.

So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton in winning his seventh Hungarian Grand Prix and such a brilliant fightback in chasing down Max Verstappen. Kudos to Mercedes in making the inspired pit crew to pit Hamilton for fresh set of tyres, giving a great chance in grip and performance.

As for Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. This is racing. After the highs of Hockenheim a week earlier and that qualifying performance, second position is still a solid result.

Hungarian Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:35:03.796
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda +17.796s
3 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +61.433s
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +65.250s
5 Carlos Sainz McLaren-Renault +1 lap
6 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda +1 lap
7 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari +1 lap
8 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +1 lap
9 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault +1 lap
10 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso-Honda +1 lap
11 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes +1 lap
12 Nico Hulkenberg Renault +1 lap
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari +1 lap
14 Daniel Ricciardo Renault +1 lap
15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda +2 laps
16 George Russell Williams-Mercedes +2 laps
17 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes +2 laps
18 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo=Ferrari +2 laps
19 Robert Kubica Williams=Mercedes +3 laps
– Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari DNF

Verstappen achieves maiden pole position

A week on from that incredible Hockenheim race win, Max Verstappen claimed his first pole position at the Hungaroring for Red Bull Racing.

The Red Bull driver becomes the 100th different driver in Formula 1 to achieve pole. Verstappen looked in control in the very first runs in Q3 with a lap of one minute, 14.958 seconds, which put him 0.178 seconds ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

While Bottas was able to eclipse Verstappen’s time at the second attempt, Verstappen then went ever faster in a one minute, 14.572 seconds to take pole position by just 0.018 seconds thanks to his speed in the final sector.

Lewis Hamilton was two tenths off the pace in third position ahead of the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, who survived spinning backwards into the barrier at the last corner during Q1 to earn fourth position.

Sebastian Vettel was half-a-second off the pace in fifth position ahead of the Red Bull of Pierre Gasly, who was almost nine tenths off his teammate’s pace.

All of the top six will start Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix using medium Pirellis having used that tyre to set their time in Q2.

McLaren led the way in the battle for midfield supremacy, with Lando Norris shading Carlos Sainz by 0.052 seconds.

Romain Grosjean took eighth in the Australian Grand Prix-specification Haas, 0.028 seconds faster than the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen.

Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg was bumped to P11 and quickest of those eliminated in Q2 by Raikkonen’s late lap – missing out by less than half-a-tenth.

Although Hulkenberg failed to improve on his second run, that was still enough to keep him ahead of fellow non-improvers Toro Rosso pairing Alex Albon and Daniil Kvyat.

Antonio Giovinazzi was P14 for Alfa Romeo having also failed to find time at the second attempt, putting him ahead of Kevin Magnussen in the latest-specification Haas, who was unable to repeat his strong Q1 pace in Q2.

Giovinazzi also faces the threat of a grid penalty for impeding Lance Stroll’s Racing Point at Turn 5, with the race stewards investigating the incident after the qualifying session.

George Russell missed out on a first appearance in Q2 by just 0.053 seconds having been in the top 15 until the last moment in the first segment of qualifying.

Russell had made sure of clear track for his final run by making his attempt just before the rest started their laps, temporarily climbing as high as eighth.

But he was shuffled down the order as others completed their final laps, with Hulkenberg the final driver to get ahead and push him into the Q1 drop-zone.

Racing Point’s Sergio Perez did enough on his final run to jump ahead of the second Renault of Daniel Ricciardo, who had to back out of his final lap.

Ricciardo was caught in a gaggle of traffic at the last corner ahead of the start of his lap and attempted to find clear air by going around Perez before having to back out of it when the Racing Point driver was unwilling to let him go.

Stroll was P19 in the Racing Point, eight tenths faster than Williams driver Robert Kubica.

So an exciting and highly competitive qualifying session. Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen came out on top. Congratulations to Verstappen in finally claiming his first pole position. It’s been a long time coming, 93 attempts but the end result is just perfect. Bring on the race!

Hungarian Grand Prix, qualifying positions:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m14.572s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m14.590s
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m14.769s
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m15.043s
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m15.071s
6 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 1m15.450s
7 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1m15.800s
8 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1m15.852s
9 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m16.013s
10 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m16.041s
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m16.565s
12 Alex Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 1m16.687s
13 Federation Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 1m16.692s
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m16.804s
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m17.081s
16 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1m17.031s
17 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1m17.109s
18 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m17.257s
19 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1m17.542s
20 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 1m18.324s

Verstappen wins German Grand Prix thriller

What a race! Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen mastered the tricky conditions at Hockenheim to win a thrilling German Grand Prix as Mercedes faltered at their home event.

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 P11, and his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas crashed out.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel raced from the back of the grid to finish in an excellent second position, but it was a mixed day for the Scuderia after Charles Leclerc spun into retirement.

Daniil Kvyat was a brilliant third thanks to clever tactical strategy by Toro Rosso.

Torrential rain throughout the morning ensured this would be the first test of Formula 1’s new wet-weather starting procedures.

Predictably, a number of the more combative-minded drivers began to lobby for the safety car to be withdrawn so the race could begin, and it duly peeled off after several additional formation laps to enable a standing start.

Hamilton seamlessly converted pole into the race lead as Verstappen had too much wheelspin, losing out 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 Verstappen 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.

Stopping a lap earlier elevated Vettel to P12 and he quickly cut through the midfielders ahead to run seventh behind Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen, Leclerc, Nico Hulkenberg and Raikkonen. But he was still over half a minute behind Hamilton, who remained serene in the rapidly changing conditions, stretching his advantage over Bottas beyond five seconds.

Leclerc and Hulkenberg stopped early for new intermediates, on lap 15, and predictably the Ferrari left the Renault blowing in the wind as they rejoined.

By lap 22 Leclerc had closed the gap to Verstappen to below four seconds, leaving Hulkenberg twenty seconds down the road, though the threat to him from Raikkonen and Vettel was diminished by their worn intermediates.

On lap 23 Vettel was the first to pit for slicks, taking on the soft compound, signalling that Ferrari at least believed track conditions had passed the crossover point, even though the start/finish straight was still covered in a film of water. 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 aquaplaned off at T17, beaching himself in the gravel and bringing out the safety car, and then Hamilton speared off-track at the same point on the following lap.

Hamilton 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 ten seconds 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 Turn 17 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 hitherto anonymous Lance Stroll for slicks the lap before the green flag, 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 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 and then Bottas gyrated into the barrier at Turn 1 on lap 56, signalling yet more work for Bernd Maylander in what was proving to be a busy day at the office for the safety car driver.

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 grab second position in the final reckoning, crossing the lap 7.3 seconds behind the victorious Verstappen.

Stroll survived late attention from Sainz to retain fourth, while Albon made it to the chequered flag ahead of Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi despite a tag from Gasly that sent the Red Bull into retirement.

Grosjean and Magnussen rounded out the top ten, though 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.

So a crazy race, full of incidents, action, crashes and drama. With an unusual podium result. Congratulations to the Red Bull sponsored teams with Max Verstappen winning and Daniil Kvyat scoring third. As for Sebastian Vettel, what a fightback from last to second in the Ferrari.

German Grand Prix, race results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1h44m31.275s
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 7.333s
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 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 16.838s
8 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 18.765s
9 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 19.667s
10 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 24.987s
11 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 26.404s
12 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 42.214s
13 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 43.849s
14 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda Collision
– Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Spun off
– Nico Hulkenberg Renault Spun off
– Charles Leclerc Ferrari Spun off
– Lando Norris McLaren-Renault Power Unit
– Daniel Ricciardo Renault Exhaust
– Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes Spun off

Drivers’ standings:
1 Lewis Hamilton 225
2 Valtteri Bottas 184
3 Max Verstappen 162
4 Sebastian Vettel 141
5 Charles Leclerc 120
6 Pierre Gasly 55
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. 48
8 Daniil Kvyat 27
9 Kimi Raikkonen 25
10 Lando Norris 22
11 Daniel Ricciardo 22
12 Lance Stroll 18
13 Kevin Magnussen 18
14 Nico Hulkenberg 17
15 Alexander Albon 15
16 Sergio Perez 13
17 Romain Grosjean 8
18 Antonio Giovinazzi 1
19 Robert Kubica 1
20 George Russell 0

Constructors’ standings:
1 Mercedes 409
2 Ferrari 261
3 Red Bull-Honda 217
4 McLaren-Renault 70
5 Toro Rosso-Honda 42
6 Renault 39
7 Racing Point-Mercedes 31
8 Haas-Ferrari 26
9 Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 26
10 Williams-Mercedes 1

Hamilton scores pole at Hockenheim as the Ferrari challenges went broke

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton scored pole position for the German Grand Prix after the Ferrari challenge went broke following technical issues for Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel.

With Vettel eliminated in Q1 having completed a single lap thanks to a problem with the airflow to the turbo, Leclerc was the favourite for pole in Q3 having looked quickest up to that point.

But Leclerc was unable to take to the track during Q3, climbing out of his Ferrari and commiserating with the Scuderia and leaving the way clear for Hamilton to set the pace.

Hamilton then dominated Q3, with the lap of one minute, 11.767 seconds he set on his first run which was enough for pole after he failed to improve on his second lap thanks to time lost in the middle sector.

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen split the two Mercedes drivers, lapping 0.346 seconds slower than Hamilton and just 0.016 seconds quicker than Valtteri Bottas.

Pierre Gasly was fourth, lapping four-tenths slower than his teammate.

With the two Ferraris out of the way, Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen took fifth position with an advantage of 0.316 seconds over an otherwise congested midfield.

Romain Grosjean, driving a Haas running to the same specification used in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, was sixth and just ahead of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr.

Racing Point’s significant upgrade paid off for Sergio Perez, who qualified eighth ahead of the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg.

That left Leclerc classified P10 despite not running, as he had at least run without problem during the previous two segments of qualifying.

The Mercedes drivers and Leclerc will both start on the medium-compound Pirellis having used them to set their best times in Q2 – something Verstappen also attempted before aborting his first run after reporting a loss of power.

Antonio Giovinazzi was relegated to P11 and eliminated during a frenetic climax to Q2, lapping just 0.012 seconds slower than Perez.

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, driving the latest-spec Haas, was always up against it after a lockup into the first corner on his final lap and failed to improve on his first-run time as a result – ending up P12.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo’s late effort was only good enough for P13, leading him to apologise to the team over the radio, with Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat just over three-tenths behind.

Racing Point driver Lance Stroll escaped Q1 for the first time in 2019, completing three runs to do so and only having one fresh set of softs for Q2.

He was in contention to get into the top ten, but the rear-end stepped out in the penultimate corner and was unable to improve.

Lando Norris was fastest of those eliminated in Q1 in P16 just 0.055 seconds slower than Kvyat after being bumped into the drop zone by Giovinazzi’s late improvement.

But behind him was the furious Alex Albon, who was held up at the hairpin on his final Q1 lap by Norris and unable to improve on his first-run time as a result.

George Russell won the Williams team battle for the eleventh time this season, lapping just over a tenth quicker than Robert Kubica – the duo taking P18 and P19 thanks to Vettel’s failure to post a time.

So congratulations to Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton with this pole position. An important grid slot at the team’s home race. As for Ferrari, this was a terrible qualifying session as both drivers had the pace to grab P1 following an impressive practice sessions. Sunday’s German Grand Prix is going to be fascinating.

Qualifying positions, German Grand Prix:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m11.767s
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m12.113s
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m12.129s
4 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 1m12.522s
5 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m12.538s
6 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m12.851s
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1m12.897s
8 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1m13.065s
9 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m13.126s
10 Charles Leclerc Ferrari –
11 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m12.786s
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m12.789s
13 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m12.799s
14 Federation Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 1m13.135s
15 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1m13.450s
16 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1m13.333s
17 Alex Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 1m13.461s
18 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1m14.721s
19 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 1m14.839s
20 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari –

Hamilton victorious at Silverstone for the sixth time

Championship leader and home favourite Lewis Hamilton achieved his sixth victory at the British Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver benefitted from a safety car to jump his teammate Valtteri Bottas to score a popular Silverstone win.

Hamilton overhauled poleman Bottas by running a longer first stint that allowed him to only stop once, and it proved crucial when a safety car emerged after Bottas pit.

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 battle for the final podium spot, in which Leclerc had an epic fight with Verstappen – who was later fired into the gravel by Vettel.

Pierre Gasly scored his best result for Red Bull with fourth, while Verstappen managed to get his car out of the gravel and finish fifth, with Vettel down in P16 after needing a new front wing and being hit with a ten-second time penalty.

Bottas led the first part of the race but kicked off the pitstops amongst 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 it, 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, 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 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 Silver Arrows drivers, Leclerc finished third after a thrilling British 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 Pierre Gasly, who pit 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.

Max nailed the Ferrari on the outside at Stowe on lap 37, but ran slightly wide and Sebastian 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 and crashed 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 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 tenth position.

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.

So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton in achieving a record of six victories to become the most successful British driver winning at Silverstone. Sure, the safety car helped but this is racing. Taking the opportunities in the right moment.

As for the racing, that was pure quality at Silverstone. The battle between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen was a pure highlight.

British Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 52 1h21m08.452s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 52 24.928s
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 52 30.117s
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
7 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 52 54.401s
8 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 52 1m05.540s
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 52 1m06.720s
10 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 52 1m12.733s
11 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 52 1m14.281s
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

Drivers’ standings:
1 Lewis Hamilton 223
2 Valtteri Bottas 184
3 Max Verstappen 136
4 Sebastian Vettel 123
5 Charles Leclerc 120
6 Pierre Gasly 55
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. 38
8 Kimi Raikkonen 25
9 Lando Norris 22
10 Daniel Ricciardo 22
11 Nico Hulkenberg 17
12 Kevin Magnussen 14
13 Sergio Perez 13
14 Daniil Kvyat 12
15 Alexander Albon 7
16 Lance Stroll 6
17 Romain Grosjean 2
18 Antonio Giovinazzi 1
19 George Russell 0
20 Robert Kubica 0

Constructors’ standings:
1 Mercedes 407
2 Ferrari 243
3 Red Bull-Honda 191
4 McLaren-Renault 60
5 Renault 39
6 Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 26
7 Racing Point-Mercedes 19
8 Toro Rosso-Honda 19
9 Haas-Ferrari 16
10 Williams-Mercedes 0