Hamilton wins Belgian Grand Prix from Bottas

Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton achieved his 89th Formula 1 victory at Spa-Francorchamps, finishing ahead of Valtteri Bottas while a scary crash for Antonio Giovinazzi also wiping out George Russell.

The Belgian Grand Prix was processional at the front, with Max Verstappen taking another third for Red Bull Racing, while the drivers trying a double stack pitstop strategy during the safety car providing most of the action in the pack.

At the start, Bottas made a fractionally better getaway compared to the his teammate but was obliged to go to the outside and tuck in closely behind Hamilton as they exited La Source hairpin.

Bottas ran very close to the leader but lost momentum going through Eau Rouge and was suddenly under more pressure from Verstappen in third.

But a helpful tow from Hamilton’s car meant Bottas was able to stay in front by the time they arrived at Les Combes, where Verstappen suddenly found himself under attack by the fast-starting Daniel Ricciardo.

They ran side-by-side through the second part of Les Combes and the next right – with Ricciardo and then Verstappen going right off the track at those two respective points – but the Red Bull was able to stay ahead, while the Mercedes drivers ran clear in the lead.

Hamilton led by 1.4 seconds by the end of the first lap and the gap to Bottas fluctuated slightly across the next few laps.

The Mercedes duo and Verstappen were the only drivers able to run in the one minute, 50 seconds, before the two Black Arrows dipped into the one minute, 49 seconds and the gap to the Red Bull quickly grew to over five seconds behind the leader.

Hamilton’s lead stood at 1.8 seconds on lap 10 of 44 when the race was suddenly paused following a huge accident for Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi, who lost the rear of his car all by himself as he exited Turn 14 and smashed into the barriers on the outside.

The following Kimi Raikkonen was able to get by unscathed but a wheel that had been ripped off the Alfa Romeo bounced back onto the track and left George Russell with nowhere to go.

The Williams driver struck the wheel and his suspension was broken, with his FW43 then going into the barriers on the left of the track, with the safety car deployed as the wreckage was cleared and a large amount of debris was swept clear of the track.

Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen pitted at the first available opportunity on lap, with Mercedes double-stacking its cars to fit the hards.

This nearly let Verstappen get in front of Bottas as he accelerated away having taken on his own hards, but Valtteri stayed ahead and the order remained as it was before the safety car was called.

On lap 15 the race restarted, with Hamilton already pulling clear of Bottas after jumping away approaching the Bus Stop chicane on the previous lap.

That meant Bottas had no chance to attack for the lead and the race settled down again at the front, with Hamilton quickly re-establishing his lead as again the top three were able to lap at pace the rest could not match in the one minute, 48 seconds.

But the difference was that Verstappen appeared to be much happier on the hards than he had been on the mediums and he was able to stick closer to Bottas as Hamilton consistently edged further away in first.

Verstappen was able to track Bottas at 1.4 seconds adrift for several laps until both Mercedes turned the screw approaching the end of the race’s second third and Bottas ran clear.

Mercedes told Bottas to give it “everything you’ve got” as he and Hamilton set a series of times in the one minute, 47 seconds, but they did not come into the pits.

This meant they ran to the flag on a single stop and while it initially looked like a calm run to the flag for the leaders, they both had minor problems before the finish.

First Bottas reported a numbness in his left leg from the braking force, and then Hamilton became concerned about the state of his right-front tyre – with both Mercedes at separate points in the closing laps locking up at the Bus Stop and cutting the second part of the chicane.

But these issues came to nothing and Hamilton continued to pull away, finishing with a winning margin of 8.4 seconds at the flag, with Verstappen – who struggled with a vibration on his hards as the second stint wore on – seven seconds behind Bottas in third.

Ricciardo took fourth for Red Bull – making a key passes on Pierre Gasly, who did not stop during the safety car to leap up the order – setting a string of rapid laps at the end and clinching the fastest lap on the final tour.

Esteban Ocon stole fifth from Alex Albon on the final lap with a blast of DRS on the outside coming into Les Combes as the Red Bull driver tried to make a soft-medium strategy work.

Albon so nearly held on to fifth but did stay ahead of Lando Norris’s McLaren to finish sixth.

Gasly put in a series of passes – mainly with DRS on the Kemmel Straight – as he rose from the rear of the field following his green flag stop after he had taken the restart in fourth.

He battled back by Sergio Perez, who also did not stop under the safety car and had to make a long stint work on the softs as a result, eventually taking eighth.

Lance Stroll was ninth ahead of Perez, with Daniil Kvyat P11 in the second AlphaTauri.

The Ferrari drivers finished in a disappointing P13 and P14 – beaten by Kimi Raikkonen who had started in P16 – as both were exposed by the car’s lack of straight line speed.

Vettel finished ahead after another set of radio exchanges with his engineer, while Leclerc made two stops – with the second featuring a precautionary top up of pneumatic pressure – on his way to P14 after he had gained several positions at the start.

Carlos Sainz did not start after his McLaren developed a power unit problem that led to a broken exhaust on the laps to the grid.

So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton in winning the Belgian Grand Prix. His 89th Formula 1 victory and just two away in equalling Michael Schumacher’s achievement. This win also extend his championship lead. Monza is next. Mercedes looking strong thanks to a superior car and engine. Rival Ferrari are going to struggle at home.

Belgian Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:24:08.761
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 8.448
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 15.455
4 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 18.877
5 Esteban Ocon Renault 40.650
6 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 42.712
7 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 43.774
8 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 47.371
9 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 52.603
10 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 53.179
11 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1:10.200
12 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:11.504
13 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:12.894
14 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:14.920
15 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1:16.793
16 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1:17.795
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1:25.540
– Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari DNF
– George Russell Williams-Mercedes DNF
– Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault DNS

Hamilton takes Belgian Grand Prix pole and dedicates to Chadwick Boseman

Defending champion Lewis Hamilton achieved his sixth Belgian Grand Prix pole position and dedicated this qualifying result in honour of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, who passed away with cancer.

Hamilton set a new track record around Spa-Francorchamps to score pole position and he finishes ahead of his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas and rival Max Verstappen in the Red Bull.

Both Mercedes and Verstappen will start the race on the medium Pirelli compound as they were able to get through Q2 on what is a better race tyre than the red-walled softs the rest of the top ten will start on in a dry race.

Ferrari managed to avoid losing a driver in Q1, but Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel were both eliminated in the next segment, one year on from Leclerc taking pole position at Spa.

When it came to Q3, Hamilton led the way after the opening runs with a one minute, 41.451 seconds – a new track record for the time, while Bottas had time to make up after locking up and running wide on the large kerb at the exit of La Source.

But while Bottas was able to improve early on the final runs on the soft tyres in Q3, Hamilton went even faster – setting personal best times in the first and third sector, and going fastest of anyone in the middle part of the track, where Mercedes has been dominant all weekend.

The world champion’s last lap looked in control all the way around as he blasted to a one minute, 41.252 seconds to improve the best time.

Running behind, Bottas lost time all around his final lap and wound up 0.511 seconds adrift.

Verstappen was left frustrated to finish just 0.15 second behind Bottas, complaining that he ran out of battery energy at the end of his final lap.

Daniel Ricciardo will start fourth after Verstappen’s last-gasp lap pushed him down one spot, with the Renault driver abandoning his final effort.

Alex Albon is fifth ahead of Esteban Ocon, who found enough time with the session’s final flying lap to deny Carlos Sainz Jr P6 for McLaren.

Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll took eighth and ninth after only completing one run in Q3, while Lando Norris rounded out the top ten after setting a personal best on his last run but not finding enough time to move up the order.

Personal best times were not enough to save Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly from elimination in Q2, as the Racing Point drivers gained significantly from their first attempts to get through the middle segment on the medium tyres.

Stroll and Perez jumping up the order from P11 and P12 after the first runs ultimately did for the AlphaTauri’s despite their own improvements, which meant they ended up in the positions just outside the top ten.

Both Ferrari’s were ultimately knocked out in Q2 for the first time in 2020, with Leclerc heading Vettel in P13.

This was a shocking qualifying result and it underlines the poor performance in that SF1000.

George Russell again got his Williams into Q2, but abandoned his first run, with his second good enough only for P15 after the Ferrari’s found time on their second efforts.

In Q1, Vettel was under pressure to improve after he sat P19 after the first runs had been completed, but the danger of both works Ferrari’s being knocked out in the opening segment remained.

A battling warm-up lap for the drivers still needing to improve to progress left both Vettel and Leclerc having to run without a tow at the head of a pack of cars.

But they still managed to improve enough to get through to Q2, with Vettel jumping up six spots, although Leclerc had a nervous wait as he was shuffled down to P15, complaining later about the lack of a tow.

The top four drivers knocked out in Q1 all set personal bests, but Kimi Raikkonen, Romain Grosjean, Antonio Giovinazzi and Nicholas Latifi could not match the delighted and surprised Russell in splitting the Ferraris.

They will start P15-P19, with Kevin Magnussen last in the second Haas after his final run was ruined by a long trip through the Stavelot gravel trap, where he nearly ran into the wall to his left as he struggled to slow his car.

So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton with this fine pole position. Nice tribute by the six-time champion to dedicated this P1 in honour of Chadwick Boseman. Wakanda Forever!

Qualifying positions, Belgian Grand Prix:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:41.252
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:41.763
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:41.778
4 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:42.061
5 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 1:42.264
6 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:42.396
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1:42.438
8 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1:42.532
9 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1:42.603
10 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1:42.657
11 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1:42.730
12 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1:42.745
13 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:42.996
14 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:43.261
15 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:43.468
16 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:43.743
17 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1:43.838
18 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:43.950
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1:44.138
20 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1:44.314

Hamilton dominates in Spain to take victory

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton drove a perfect lights to flag victory in the Spanish Grand Prix, finishing ahead of Max Verstappen and lapping every drive up to third from Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Despite hopes that Red Bull would be able to threaten Mercedes after showing strong pace on the medium Pirelli long runs in practice at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Hamilton was able to run faster at critical moments of the race to stay well clear of Verstappen.

At the start, Hamilton leapt off the line to easily hold the lead into Turn 1, while Bottas looked to have made an poor getaway before he was quickly swamped by Verstappen and Stroll on the long run to the first corner.

Verstappen was able to sweep around the outside at the first corner and head off after Hamilton, while Stroll – having made a great start from fifth on the grid and enjoyed the slipstream from the leaders on the run to the right-hander – barged his way down the inside to claim third place.

Bottas had to give the place and was nearly hit by Alex Albon’s Red Bull before he was able to charge after Stroll, eventually retaking third with the help of DRS on the main straight at the start of lap five.

Hamilton had immediately moved out of DRS range of Verstappen and the gap remained stable in the early stages as the drivers quickly entered a tyre management phase, with Verstappen telling Red Bull Hamilton was driving “super slow” as a result.

But the world champion began to increase the pressure on Verstappen with a series of fastest laps after the tenth lap of 66 had been completed that opened his lead beyond four seconds.

This increased steadily towards the end of the first stint as only Hamilton was able to lap consistently in the one minute, 23 seconds, with Verstappen growing frustrated on team radio by the state of his tyres before Red Bull brought him at the end of lap 21 to put on the medium tyres.

Mercedes left Hamilton and Bottas out for an extra two laps before bringing them in for a double-stack stop, with Hamilton’s taking 4.3 seconds with a slow left-rear change.

That meant the leader’s advantage was cut from just over seven seconds to 4.3 seconds by the time he rejoined, with Verstappen then able to match him in the one minute, 23 seconds during the early phase of the second stint and lower the gap to just below four seconds as they took turns exchanging slightly faster times.

But in a repeat of the opening stint, Hamilton was able to pick up his pace as he dipped into the one minute, 22 seconds from lap 34, with Verstappen unable to go with him.

This meant that Hamilton was able to steadily extend his advantage back to what it was before his first stop and then gradually up to the 10-second mark before Red Bull called Verstappen in again on 41.

This was to protect again the threat of an undercut from Bottas, who had closed in on second place as the leaders made their way through lapping battling midfielders.

Bottas stayed for another seven laps after initially flying with a fastest lap of the race at that stage on lap 42, and came in to go onto soft tyres at the end of lap 48.

Verstappen had used his time on fresh mediums to open up a 5.8 seconds gap over Bottas when the Finn rejoined, which got larger and the stabilised as they ran through more traffic, with move to the red-walled rubber not paying off for the Mercedes driver.

Hamilton came in on lap 50, one lap later than Mercedes had initially planned as the Briton refused to move onto the softs, preferring to stay on the mediums, and he was able to simply run clear in the lead to finish.

Hamilton came home 24.1 seconds clear, a running over a piece of Romain Grosjean’s Haas at Turn 2 late on, but this did not disturb his run to victory.

Verstappen finished 20.5 seconds ahead of Bottas in second as Mercedes brought him for a third stop with two to run, which meant he flew to the fastest lap – a one minute, 18.183 seconds – on the final tour, as the threat of rain clouds that appeared in the distance at the Barcelona track leaving it untouched.

Every other driver was lapped, with Sergio Perez finishing fourth on track but ending up fifth behind his teammate Lance Stroll – who completed a two-stopper to the Mexican’s one-stop strategy – as Perez picked up a five-second penalty for ignoring blue flags as Hamilton lapped him.

Carlos Sainz gained a place on his grid spot to come home sixth for McLaren, as taking softs at his first stop gave him extra grip compared to his rivals that he used to good effect.

He had to pass Sebastian Vettel’s one-stopping Ferrari late on, as did Stroll, with the German driver nevertheless finishing a solid seventh in front of a gaggle of cars after starting in P11 on the mediums and the keeping softs alive in his second stint.

Alex Albon had to run the hards after his first stop and came home eighth after starting sixth, with Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris chasing him home to round out the top ten.

Daniel Ricciardo’s one-stopper gained him a few spots but he finished just outside the points.

Grosjean came home last after picking up damage in a late clash with Antonio Giovinazzi (who finished P16, with his Alfa Romeo teammate Kimi Raikkonen P14 after his own moment with Grosjean on the pit straight enraged the 2007 world champion).

The Haas driver then half spun at the Turns 7-8 chicane in the final laps and took an extra stop that dropped him to P19.

Charles Leclerc was the only non-finisher after his Ferrari power unit cut out due to a sudden electrical problem at the final chicane around half distance, which spun Leclerc, who had been battling hard with Norris.

Leclerc was able to get the power on again but he toured slowly back to the pits with loose seat belts and retired when he reached his garage.

So not the most thrilling Spanish Grand Prix but a fantastic result for Lewis Hamilton in winning the race and extend his points lead in the championship. Hamilton has now scored 156 podiums in the sport, setting a new record for the most finishes in the top 3. Achievement unlocked!

Spanish Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1h31m45.279s
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 24.177s
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 44.752s
4 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1 Lap
5 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1 Lap
6 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren_Renault 1 Lap
7 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1 Lap
8 Alexander Albon Red Bull-Honda 1 Lap
9 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1 Lap
10 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1 Lap
11 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1 Lap
12 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1 Lap
13 Esteban Ocon Renault 1 Lap
14 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1 Lap
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1 Lap
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1 Lap
17 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1 Lap
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 2 Laps
19 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 2 Laps
– Charles Leclerc Ferrari Electrical

Hamilton scores 92nd career pole in Spain

Defending champion Lewis Hamilton achieved his 92nd pole position in Formula 1 by beating his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.

All the drivers in the top ten made it through to Q3 on the soft Pirelli compound, so there will be no risky strategy attempts at the start of Sunday’s race.

Hamilton led the way after the first runs in Q3 with a time of one minute, 15.584 seconds, which put him 0.059-seconds clear of his teammate, despite only setting the fastest time in the third sector.

Bottas ran ahead on the final runs and although he did manage to edge Hamilton in the first sector and establish a new best second sector, he faded in the final part of the lap and could not improve his position.

Hamilton also did not go faster on his final run, but pole position was already secure.

Verstappen edged Sergio Perez for third, as he too failed to improve on his final run, with Perez setting a personal best but still being unable to get ahead of the Red Bull.

Lance Stroll was sixth ahead of Alex Albon, with Carlos Sainz Jr leading Lando Norris who only made into Q3 by 0.002 seconds, in seventh and eighth for McLaren.

Charles Leclerc was the lead Ferrari but ended up down in ninth position, with Pierre Gasly making into in Q3 for the fourth time this season and then rounding out the top ten on the grid.

Gasly’s late improvement at the very end of Q2 knocked out Sebastian Vettel, and he will start P11 for the second race in a row – the third time this season he has not made it into the final part of qualifying.

It’s unfortunate that Vettel’s form in the Ferrari is so lacklustre. He is a classy driver who won four world championship in the past so it’s puzzling why Sebastian is struggling so much this season…

Daniil Kvyat, who will face a post-qualifying investigation for an incident with Kevin Magnussen at the second corner in Q1, took P12 ahead of Daniel Ricciardo.

Kimi Raikkonen scored his best qualifying result so far in 2020 with P14, as Esteban Ocon finished as the slowest driver in Q2.

Ocon improved with his final run – all drivers that went for a second effort (which did not include the Mercedes pair and Verstappen) set personal bests apart from Sainz and Leclerc – but it was not enough.

In Q1, Raikkonen made it out of the first part of qualifying for the first time this season as the two Haas cars could not improve enough to stop the Alfa Romeo’s progress, despite him setting his final flying lap early in the pack of cars attempting a last blast in the first segment.

Kevin Magnussen managed to outqualify Romain Grosjean despite being behind in all three practice sessions – with Grosjean sixth and fifth in FP1 and FP2 respectively – but his final lap improvement left him P16 and out.

George Russell did not make it into Q2 for the first time since the season opener, but maintains his perfect 100% qualifying record over Nicholas Latifi and Williams.

Antonio Giovinazzi finished last in Q1, almost a second slower than his teammate with his best time, after earlier running heavily over the kerb at the exit of the final corner on his penultimate flying effort.

So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton with this impressive qualifying result. 92 poles in Formula 1. Excellent performance. Going to be a fascinating race as overtaking is tricky at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Qualifying positions, Spanish Grand Prix:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:15.584
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:15.643
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:16.292
4 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1:16.482
5 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1:16.589
6 Alex Albon Red Bull Racing-Honda 1:17.029
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1:17.044
8 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1:17.084
9 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:17.087
10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1:17.136
11 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:17.168
12 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1:17.192
13 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:17.198
14 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:17.386
15 Esteban Ocon Renaul 1:17.567
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1:17.908
17 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1:18.089
18 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:18.099
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1:18.532
20 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:18.697

Verstappen manages tyres to win at Silverstone

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen scored his ninth career victory in Formula 1 by beating the Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

The softer tyres and hot temperatures at Silverstone played a factor for Red Bull in defeating rival Mercedes in Formula 1’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

Verstappen’s hard starting tyres paid off immediately in the opening stint, while polesitter Bottas lost out in a late wheel-to-wheel fight with Hamilton, who had run longer in the middle stage of the race.

Charles Leclerc took another unexpectedly high result for Ferrari with fourth place, while team-mate Sebastian Vettel had to put in a recovery drive after spinning at the start.

At the start, Bottas held the lead off the line while behind the black Mercedes cars Verstappen immediately launched past Hulkenberg to seize third.

In the pack behind, Vettel spun at the first turn after getting onto the inside kerb at Abbey while following Leclerc – with Vettel fortunate not to wipe out Carlos Sainz Jr as he snapped left and fell to the rear of the field.

Hamilton chased Bottas and attacked around the outside going into Brooklands – echoing their battle at the same spot from the 2019 British Grand Prix – but Bottas shrugged off his teammate’s attention and moved clear in first.

The Mercedes drivers initially pulled clear of Verstappen, but the Red Bull driver used his hard tyre advantage to close in as the first stint went on.

Red Bull even warned Verstappen he was getting too close – a call he swiftly rebuffed – and he continued to home in on Hamilton, with both Mercedes drivers beginning to struggle for tyre life with the race barely ten laps old.

As Verstappen twice had a look to Hamilton’s inside at Copse, with the gap between the pair at the 0.5 seconds mark, Mercedes called Bottas in to switch his blistered mediums for hards at the end of lap 13 of 52.

Hamilton came in at the end of the next lap to leave Verstappen in the lead.

The Mercedes drivers, particularly Bottas, immediately moved to set their quickest laps of the race at that stage, but it soon became clear that Verstappen was able to lap fastest despite his tyres having done Q2 and the opening stint.

Both Bottas and Hamilton looked to be struggling with blisters on their hards and set a series of times in the one minute, 32 seconds, while Verstappen was able to run comfortably in the one minute, 31 seconds.

He continued until lap 26 to take the medium tyres and rejoined just behind Bottas at the pit exit.

But with the advantage of fresh rubber and DRS he attacked down the Wellington Straight and to the inside of Brooklands.

Bottas stayed in front but not for long as Verstappen ran easily around the outside of Luffield to retake the lead as they accelerated out of the long right-hander.

Verstappen used his new tyres to set a series of personal bests and pulled out a lead over Bottas, before Red Bull told him to abandon all tyre management – just as Bottas had set the races fastest lap.

The Red Bull driver soon retook that and raced clear on a rather short second stint, with Verstappen and Bottas coming in together on lap 32 – Verstappen to go back to hards and Bottas to take another set of the white-walled rubber.

Mercedes left Hamilton out for another nine laps, with Red Bull briefly concerned he would try to go to the end despite the blisters down the middle of both of the world champion’s rear tyres.

He rejoined in fourth position behind Leclerc, who had risen up the order from eighth on the grid with an unseen but effective one-stopper, and he immediately lit up the time screens.

Hamilton did not immediately clear the Ferrari – doing so to the inside of Stowe despite a late and firm move from Leclerc to cover the attack on lap 45 – but when he did he homed in on Bottas, with both Mercedes drivers told they were “free to race”.

By the end of lap 49 Hamilton was all over Bottas’s rear and he blasted by with DRS on the Wellington Straight to take second.

Verstappen had a near nine-second lead which never looked in danger of being eroded in the final few laps and he roared home to take his first win of the season, with the Mercedes drivers significantly slower on the last lap.

Leclerc held on to make his one-stop work and take an unexpected fourth for Ferrari, with Alex Albon recovering to fifth after starting ninth in the second Red Bull.

He put in a series of bold passes around the outside of Copse – including moves on Kimi Raikkonen and Lando Norris – after Red Bull brought him in early to get rid of the mediums he had started on.

Albon demoted Lance Stroll to sixth late on, with Nico Hulkenberg ending up seventh as he required an extra third stops – for the unfancied softs – in the closing stages of his Formula 1 return.

Esteban Ocon also made a one-stopper work to go from his penalised grid position of P14 to eighth, with Norris and Daniil Kvyat rounding out the top ten.

Pierre Gasly struggled on the hards in the second stint and fell from seventh to P11 at the end, just ahead of the recovering Vettel.

Daniel Ricciardo spun battling Carlos Sainz Jr (who finished P13 for McLaren) in the middle phase of the race and the Renault driver came home P!4 after starting fifth.

Kevin Magnussen was a late retirement for Haas and the only non-finisher.

So congratulations to Max Verstappen with this amazing victory. That gamble after qualifying to start on the harder Pirelli worked in wonders especially for the opening stint. Max’s pace was very strong and to lap faster than both Mercedes driver is impressive. Well done Verstappen with this win for Red Bull Racing.

70th Anniversary Grand Prix, race results after 52 laps:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1h19m41.993s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 11.326s
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 19.231s
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 29.289s
5 Alexander Albon Red Bull-Honda 39.146s
6 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 42.538s
7 Nico Hulkenberg Racing Point-Mercedes 55.951s
8 Esteban Ocon Renault 1m04.773s
9 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1m05.544s
10 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1m09.669s
11 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1m10.642s
12 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m13.370s
13 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1m14.070s
14 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1 Lap
15 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1 Lap
16 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1 Lap
17 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1 Lap
18 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1 Lap
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1 Lap
– Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari Retirement

Bottas scores pole at Silverstone as Hulkenberg takes third

Valtteri Bottas beat his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to pole position for Formula 1’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, as Nico Hulkenberg achieved an incredible third for Racing Point.

The softer tyres at Silverstone led to an interesting and unusual qualifying session, with all the top ten runners making it through to Q3 on the medium Pirelli compound, apart from Verstappen, who will start the race on the harder spec.

Mercedes also switched the rubber on their cars midway through the final segment of the session, after Hamilton had led the way on the first flying laps with a one minute, 25.284 seconds on the soft tyres.

But after the leaders switched back to the medium rubber for their final efforts, Bottas overcome the pole challenge to beat Hamilton to pole by 0.080 seconds.

Although Hamilton ended the session with the fastest first and third sectors – and neither Mercedes drivers set the fastest time in the first sector on their final laps – Bottas purple effort in the second sector gave him the upper hand as he roared to his first pole since the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix.

Hulkenberg claimed third with an incredible final run to start third – as he again competes in place of Sergio Perez at Racing Point.

Verstappen did the opposite to the Mercedes drivers and switched from the softs to the mediums for his final run in Q3 and he improved by not by enough to take third from Hulkenberg.

Daniel Ricciardo was third after the first runs in Q3 as he completed the final segment on the mediums throughout, but he did not improve on his second lap and was shuffled down to fifth.

Lance Stroll took sixth in the other Racing Point car, ahead of AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc.

Alex Albon finished ninth and Lando Norris rounded out the top ten.

Esteban Ocon qualified P11 despite setting a personal best on his final lap in Q2 but he faces a post-qualifying investigation for blocking George Russell as they ran onto the Wellington straight mid-way through Q1.

Sebastian Vettel tried to use the soft tyres in a bid to squeeze into the top ten for Ferrari, but he ended up P12 saying on his team radio “that was all there was in this car.”

Carlos Sainz was another runner to improve with their final Q2 effort but not go through as he wound up P13 – the first time a McLaren driver has not made it through to Q3 for the first time this season.

Romain Grosjean took P14 for Haas ahead of Russell, who again made it out of Q1 for the fourth event in succession for Williams.

Russell only completed on run in Q2, an effort on the soft tyres that left him 15th and last in that segment.

In Q1, Daniil Kvyat was knocked out by Ocon’s late improvement at the last moment in the opening segment after he had had his final flying lap deleted for a track limits infringement at Stowe.

But that lap was not Kvyat’s personal best of the session, and he reported “something broke” on his slower – and subsequently deleted – final tour.

Kevin Magnussen and Grosjean set their initial times in Q1 on the mediums, as did Russell, before all the rivers switched to the soft tyre.

But while Grosjean made it through to Q2, Magnussen was knocked out in the final flurry of laps, with Nicholas Latifi and the Alfa Romeo duo of Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen bringing up the rear of the field.

So congratulations to Valtteri Bottas in scoring a pole position. He just recently signed a new contract to stay at the team for next season and this P1 result is just a perfect. And yet, the star of qualifying is Nico Hulkenberg. Driving for Racing Point in place of the sick Sergio Perez, to grab P3 is an excellent result. Fingers crossed The Hulk can score that podium finish in the race.

Qualifying position, Silverstone:
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:25.154
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:25.217
3 Nico Hulkenberg Racing Point-Mercedes 1:26.082
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:26.176
5 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:26.297 1.143
6 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1:26.428
7 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1:26.534
8 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:26.614
9 Alex Albon Red Bull Racing-Honda 1:26.669
10 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1:26.778
11 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:27.011
12 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:27.078
13 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1:27.083
14 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1:27.254
15 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:27.455
16 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1:27.882
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1:28.236
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1:28.430
19 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:28.433
20 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:28.493

Hamilton gets puncture on last lap and yet wins British Grand Prix

Home crowd favourite Lewis Hamilton achieved his third consecutive victory this season and his seventh in the British Grand Prix despite taking the chequered flag with three wheels.

The Mercedes drivers had looked completely at ease for the majority of the race at Silverstone, which was disrupted twice early on after separate heavy crashes for Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat, but their fortunes were turned around dramatically with just over two laps to go.

Both Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas had appeared to pick up blisters despite their commanding lead over Max Verstappen, and Bottas’s left-front tyre failed at the start of lap 50 of 52, which meant he had to go around slowly to the pits and went from second to scoring no points.

Mercedes warned Hamilton not to risk trying to get the fastest lap on the final tour, but as he ran into Luffield for the final time his own left-front tyre gave away and he was forced to limp home and take the flag with the tyre barely still attached to his car.

Verstappen had pitted after Bottas’s puncture and that meant he had a 30 seconds gap to close to Hamilton over the second half of the final tour and although he closed in rapidly, Hamilton held to extend his record of British Grand Prix wins to seven.

At the start, Bottas had appeared to make a better getaway from second on the grid and drew alongside Hamilton approaching the first corner, but the world champion swept ahead into the right-hander and moved clear in the lead.

The pack battle for position behind the Mercedes throughout the first lap, with Daniel Ricciardo putting a bold move on Lando Norris at Copse to take sixth the standout overtake, but the race was suspended a few moments later.

Kevin Magnussen had moved up from his P14 grid spot but he clipped the kerb at the first apex of Club hard and lost momentum, which meant Alex Albon moved to his inside and they clashed at the second apex.

The Haas was pitched into a high-speed spin and he hit the barriers at the exit of the final corner, ripping the left-front from his car, and bouncing back into the gravel, with the safety car called into action so it could be recovered.

The race restarted on lap six of 52, with Hamilton immediately leaping clear again out front.

He pulled cleared of DRS range to Bottas over the next few laps, but just as Bottas looked to be stabilising the gap the race was neutralised again when Daniil Kvyat crashed hard into the barriers at Becketts.

The AlphaTauri driver lost control of the rear of his car as he ran through the preceding Maggots ultra-high-speed left, as a result of a possible right-rear puncture, and he then slammed into the outside wall, causing massive damage to his chassis, with debris also strewn over the track.

Once Kvyat’s wreckage had been cleared, the race resumed on lap 19, Hamilton again immediately led Bottas and Verstappen clear of the midfield.

The leaders then swiftly dropped the Red Bull and set about exchanging the fastest lap over the next phase of the race, with the Mercedes drivers the only racers able to lap in the one minute, 30 seconds bracket.

Verstappen continued faded but did manage to get into the one minute, 29 seconds, still a chunk after the leaders had done so.

The gap between Hamilton and Bottas fluctuated by remained over a second for much of the next 20 laps after the restart, but as the race approached its final ten laps Hamilton set a string of fastest laps to move over two seconds clear.

Verstappen grabbed the fastest lap accolade on lap 41, but by this point he was over ten seconds behind Hamilton, despite the tyres on both Mercedes cars looking less than ideal.

But Hamilton continued to extend his lead over Bottas beyond three seconds, and the gap steadily grew as the Mercedes drivers entered the early stages of their tyre dramas.

Bottas was just over seven seconds adrift with five laps to go, with the final tours dominated by the sensational developments for the leaders.

Charles Leclerc finished third after a lonely race well adrift of Verstappen in his Ferrari, with Daniel Ricciardo taking fourth after McLaren’s Carlos Sainz suffered the same front-left tyre drama as the Mercedes cars on the penultimate lap.

Lando Norris had run ahead of Ricciardo for much of the race but lost out late-on, and he came home fifth ahead of Esteban Ocon.

Pierre Gasly battled by Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll to take what became seventh for AlphaTauri, while Albon, who was given a five-second penalty for the incident with Magnussen, recovered to eighth after completing a two-stopper.

Stroll was ninth for Racing Point, with Vettel just getting home in tenth ahead of the charging Bottas at the final corner.

Sainz ended up P13 after his late tyre woe, with Romain Grosjean P16 for Haas after a starting and controversial drive for Haas.

Grosjean did not pit under the second safety car, which boosted him up to fifth and although he faded once his strategy shook he held a high place for a long time.

But his defence against Sainz into Stowe earned him a black-and-white warning flag, and he also appeared to move late when battling Ricciardo into Brooklands.

Kimi Raikkonen brought up the rear of the field for Alfa Romeo after his suffered front wing damage shortly before the Mercedes tyre drama occurred in the final laps.

So a dramatic end to the British Grand Prix with the Mercedes drivers suffering punctures in the final stages of the race. And yet, thanks to the pace of Lewis Hamilton, he was able to drag the three-wheeled car to the finishing line in first.

British Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:28:01.283
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 5.856
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 18.474
4 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 19.650
5 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 22.277
6 Esteban Ocon Renault 26.937
7 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 31.188
8 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 32.670
9 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 37.311
10 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 41.857
11 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 42.167
12 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 52.004
13 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 53.370
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 54.205
15 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 54.549
16 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 55.050
17 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari +1 lap
18 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda –
19 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari –
20 Nico Hulkenberg Racing Point-Mercedes –

Hamilton flys to British Grand Prix pole

Defending champion and home fans favourite Lewis Hamilton achieved his seventh British Grand Prix pole position as he beat teammate Valtteri Bottas in a qualifying session dominated by Mercedes.

Max Verstappen will start third for Red Bull, while Nico Hulkenberg was knocked out in Q2 – as was Alex Albon for the second race in a row – on his Formula 1 qualifying return in place of Sergio Perez at Racing Point.

Hamilton spun his Mercedes at the exit of Luffield on his first run on medium tyres in Q2, scattering gravel across the track, which caused the middle segment of qualifying to be red flag.

The world champion rejoined on the same medium rubber – which he, Bottas, Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Lance Stroll will start the race on – but ended up behind his teammate as Q2 ended.

But Hamilton hit back immediately with a one minute, 24.616 seconds on the first runs in Q3, with Bottas trailing by 0.150 seconds and Verstappen over a second adrift in third.

Bottas then set an identical time on the final runs, but Hamilton had already moved a further 0.313 seconds clear with a one minute, 24.303 seconds to seal his seventh pole at Silverstone.

Verstappen improved his personal best but stayed third, still over a second behind Hamilton.

Leclerc finished as the lead Ferrari in fourth, ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and Lance Stroll, who did not improve on his final run in Q3.

Carlos Sainz took seventh ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon, with Sebastian Vettel rounding out the top ten.

Vettel will start on softs as he did not improve his best time in Q3 after switching to the more-durable mediums.

Leclerc, Stroll and Ricciardo are under investigation for a pitlane incident at the start of Q3 where the Ferrari was released into the path of the Racing Point, which braked hard and Ricciardo nipped by on the inside.

Pierre Gasly just missed out on a second consecutive Q3 appearance as he set an identical time to Stroll – a one minute, 26.501 seconds – in the final seconds of Q3, but because the Racing Point’s time came from his first run on the medium tyres before the red flag the AlphaTauri ended up P11 and out.

Albon took P12 as he was knocked out in Q2 for the second race in a row, which followed his free practice session 2 crash and missing most of final practice to an electrical problem, which required Red Bull to fit a new energy store on his RB16.

He set a personal best time after switching from the mediums to softs for his final run but could not do enough to break into the top ten.

Nico Hulkenberg will start his F1 race return from P13 as like Albon he could not gain enough after switching from the mediums to the softs for his final Q2 run.

Daniil Kvyat finished P14 but will drop five places on the grid for taking a new gearbox, while George Russell again reached Q2 but faces a post-qualifying investigation for failing to slow for yellow flags in Q1.

In Q1, Magnussen ended up 16th as he could not find a way to break into the one minute, 26 seconds barrier, with Alfa Romeo pair Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen lining up behind him on the grid.

Romain Grosjean ended up P19 in the second Haas, but he lost his best lap of Q1 (which was topped by Bottas), a one minute, 27.317 seconds for a track limits infringement at Copse.

Nicholas Latifi finished last in Q1 after spinning his Williams on his final flying lap.

Russell came across the incident at the exit of Luffield shortly after Latifi had lost the rear of his FW43 as he accelerated away from the long-speed, slow right-hander and gone backwards into the gravel on the outside.

Russell said over his team radio that he “definitely backed off” and he was “well in control”.

So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton with this pole at the home of motor racing. The speed advantage of the Mercedes W11 over the rest is incredible. Hopefully a closer competition on race day.

British Grand Prix, qualifying positions:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:24.303
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:24.616
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:25.325
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:25.427
5 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1:25.782
6 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1:25.839
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1:25.965
8 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:26.009
9 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:26.209
10 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:26.339
11 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1:26.501
12 Alex Albon Red Bull Racing-Honda 1:26.545
13 Nico Hulkenberg Racing Point-Mercedes 1:26.566
14 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:27.092
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1:27.158
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:27.164
17 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:27.366
18 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1:27.643
19 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1:26.744
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1:27.705