2020 British Grand Prix
The 2020 British Grand Prix (officially known as the Formula 1 Pirelli British Grand Prix 2020) was a Formula One motor race held on 2 August 2020 at the Silverstone Circuit in Silverstone, United Kingdom. It was the fourth round of the 2020 Formula One World Championship. The event was the seventy-first running of the British Grand Prix as part of the World Championship since 1950. The race was the first of two consecutive Formula One races at Silverstone with the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix following a week later. The defending race winner from the 2019 event, Lewis Hamilton, won the Grand Prix, his third consecutive win of the 2020 season, and Mercedes' fourth.
|2020 British Grand Prix|
Race 4 of 17[a] in the 2020 Formula One World Championship|
Layout of the Silverstone Circuit
|Date||2 August 2020|
|Official name||Formula 1 Pirelli British Grand Prix 2020|
Silverstone, United Kingdom
|Course||Permanent racing facility|
|Course length||5.891 km (3.660 mi)|
|Distance||52 laps, 306.198 km (190.263 mi)|
|Driver||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing-Honda|
|Time||1:27.097 on lap 52 (lap record)|
|Second||Red Bull Racing-Honda|
Impact of the COVID-19 pandemicEdit
The opening rounds of the 2020 championship were heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Several Grands Prix were cancelled or postponed after the planned opening round in Australia was called off two days before the race was due to take place; prompting the FIA to draft a new calendar. The British Grand Prix was originally intended to be held on 19 July. When the calendar was redrafted following the pandemic the Hungarian Grand Prix and British Grand Prix had swapped dates with Hungary moving to 19 July and Silverstone taking the 2 August date, the originally planned date of the Hungarian race.
Although there had been doubts over whether Silverstone would be able to host Formula One races due to quarantine measures proposed by the British government; Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, said in a statement that he believed Formula One should be given an exemption. In the end, the British Government did give approval for Formula One to be held at Silverstone. Before the races took place Northamptonshire Police reiterated the importance of fans staying away from Silverstone for public health reasons during the two Grands Prix weekends, and warned that strict measures would be in place to stop unauthorised persons from entering the circuit.
The addition to the calendar of the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on 9 August, also at Silverstone, marked the first time in twenty-seven years the United Kingdom had hosted two Formula One races in the same season. The last season to have two British races in a season prior to this was the 1993 season, when Donington Park hosted the European Grand Prix and Silverstone hosted the British Grand Prix. It was later revealed that Silverstone offered to hold as many as 12 races in total during the season. Both the British Grand Prix and the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix were held behind closed doors.
Championship standings before the raceEdit
After the third round at the 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix, defending champion Lewis Hamilton, on 63 points, led the championship by five points over his teammate Valtteri Bottas, with Max Verstappen a further 25 points behind. Defending Constructors' Champions Mercedes, with 121 points, led the championship from Red Bull, who had 55. McLaren sat 14 points behind Red Bull in third, and were only one point ahead of fourth-placed Racing Point, who had 40 points, while Ferrari sat 5th on 27 points. Williams were the only team without a point, heading into the race.
The initial driver and team race entry list was identical to the season entry list with no additional stand-in drivers for practice or the race. However, this changed following a positive coronavirus test (which indicates the contraction of COVID-19) for Racing Point driver Sergio Pérez who was ruled out of the Grand Prix. He was replaced by Nico Hülkenberg.
Pirelli brought the C1, C2, C3 compound tyres for use in the race, the hardest three compounds available. However, the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, which was also held at Silverstone the following weekend, used the C2, C3 and C4 selection instead. This aimed to not only create strategic differences between the two races, but also to force the teams to fully make use of practice time on the second weekend, instead of relying on data from the previous week. The idea was instituted after the Mercedes team rejected an alternate plan, for a reverse starting grid to be run on the second weekend.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen set the fastest time of the first practice session on Friday, followed by the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and the Racing Point of Lance Stroll. Nico Hülkenberg, in his first practice session on his return to the sport, set the ninth fastest time. During the session, Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi spun at turn 13 and scattered gravel and tyre debris onto the track, causing the session to be red-flagged for 12 minutes whilst the track was cleared. He was investigated and later issued a warning by the race stewards for failing to safely return to the pit lane. Sebastian Vettel was unable to complete any timed laps after his Ferrari suffered an intercooler issue early in the session.
Stroll set the fastest time of the second Friday practice session, followed by the Red Bull of Alexander Albon and the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas. This session was also red-flagged after Albon spun at turn 15 and collided with the barriers. He was taken to the circuit's medical centre but was later declared fit. Vettel was again forced to miss practice time when a pedal issue restricted his running.
Bottas set the fastest time of Saturday morning practice, followed by Hamilton and Verstappen. Albon was forced to miss most of the session with electrical issues, and Vettel continued to suffer brake pedal problems which curtailed his running on Friday.
Q1 and Q2Edit
Although there was a 60% chance of rain before qualifying, all three parts would prove to be dry. In Q1 (the first part of qualifying), Nicholas Latifi spun on his last lap, exiting the slow turn 7 (Luffield); his earlier time was only good enough for last place. His Williams teammate George Russell was investigated by the stewards for not slowing down under the consequent yellow flags - he received a five-place grid penalty. In the end, the five drivers eliminated in Q1 were Kevin Magnussen, Antonio Giovinazzi, Kimi Räikkönen, Romain Grosjean, and Latifi - as both Giovinazzi and Raikkonen failed to make it out of Q1, Alfa Romeo remained the only team to not reach Q2 (the second part of qualifying) in 2020.
Two different strategies were used in Q2, with both the Mercedes, Red Bulls, Racing Points and one of the Ferraris – that of Charles Leclerc – trying to get into Q3 (the third part of qualifying) on the more race-suitable medium compound tyre, and the other teams using the soft compound due to the top ten qualifiers having to start on the tyre used in Q2. Early on in the session, world championship leader Lewis Hamilton spun at turn 7; red flags were soon waved, since Hamilton had brought gravel back onto the track with him. After the session resumed, Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas set times a second clear of the rest of the field. Not all those using the medium tyres succeeded in reaching Q3 - Alexander Albon of Red Bull and Racing Point's replacement driver Nico Hülkenberg both failed to do so. Lance Stroll in 10th and Pierre Gasly in 11th set the same time, but since Stroll set it first, the latter in his AlphaTauri was consigned to going out in Q2. At the end of the session, the drivers eliminated were Gasly, Albon, Hulkenberg, Daniil Kvyat, and Russell.
As the cars were being sent out, there was an incident in the pitlane between Leclerc, Stroll, and Daniel Ricciardo, with Stroll complaining that Ferrari had released their driver in an unsafe manner - the stewards, after investigating the matter, decided no further action was necessary. In the first set of laps, Hamilton broke the lap record with a 1:24.616, with his teammate 0.15 seconds adrift. Hamilton then broke his own lap record a few minutes later, recording a 1:24:303 to secure pole position, and Bottas achieved second place, 0.3 seconds back. Max Verstappen, one of the last to cross the line, was third fastest, over a second behind pole position. The rest of the top 10 were: Leclerc, Lando Norris, Stroll, Carlos Sainz Jr., Ricciardo, Esteban Ocon, and Sebastian Vettel.
The pole position was Hamilton's 91st overall, and his seventh around the Silverstone circuit.
|3||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing-Honda||1:26.115||1:26.144||1:25.325||3|
|6||18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point-BWT Mercedes||1:26.243||1:26.501||1:25.839||6|
|7||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren-Renault||1:26.715||1:26.149||1:25.965||7|
|12||23||Alexander Albon||Red Bull Racing-Honda||1:26.565||1:26.545||N/A||12|
|13||27||Nico Hülkenberg||Racing Point-BWT Mercedes||1:26.327||1:26.566||N/A||13|
|17||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari||1:27.164||N/A||N/A||15|
|18||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari||1:27.366||N/A||N/A||16|
|107% time: 1:31.807|
A 'fight against racism' ceremony was held on the track before the race. All 20 of the drivers were out in formation directly in front of the grid, all displaying anti-racism messages on their t-shirts, and with some taking the knee and others standing, as video messages of their support for the anti-racism message were played.
Following the singing of the national anthem ("God Save The Queen"), there was a flyover by a Spitfire with the message "Thank you NHS" painted on the underside of its wings, and accompanied by applause from those present, in recognition of the work done by the UK's public health services in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.
The Racing Point team was unable to start Nico Hülkenberg’s power unit in the garage, forcing him out of the race prior to the formation lap. This was determined to have been caused by a clutch bolt having sheared off in the drivetrain and, where the bolt jammed, the engine was prevented from turning over.
Lewis Hamilton led from pole position at the race start. On the opening lap, Carlos Sainz Jr. and Daniel Ricciardo, starting seventh and eighth respectively, both made up two places by passing Lando Norris and Lance Stroll. 12th-placed Kevin Magnussen hit a kerb at the inside of turn 17, running wide. Alexander Albon then attempted to overtake Magnussen at turn 18, the two cars collided and Magnussen was sent through the gravel and into the barriers. He was uninjured and the safety car was deployed in order to recover his Haas. Albon was later issued a five-second time penalty after the race stewards deemed him responsible for the collision.
Racing resumed on lap six. At the end of the lap, Albon became the first driver to make a pit stop to change from medium to hard-compound tyres. On lap 12, 12th-placed Daniil Kvyat spun at turn 10 as a result of a right-rear tyre failure and crashed heavily into the barriers on the outside of turn 11. Kvyat walked away from the accident and the safety car was deployed whilst his car was recovered. All drivers except Albon and Romain Grosjean made pit stops during the safety car period, allowing Grosjean to jump to fifth place. The order of the top 10 was now Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Grosjean, Sainz, Ricciardo, Norris, Stroll and Sebastian Vettel, who had passed Esteban Ocon in the pits after the Renault suffered a slow pit stop.
The second safety car period ended on lap 19. Shortly after the restart, Vettel fell back behind Ocon, and Norris passed Ricciardo for seventh place. Grosjean was soon overtaken by both McLarens, and was shown the black-and-white flag for unsportsmanlike conduct after being judged to have defended too aggressively from Sainz. 14th-placed Albon made a second pit stop on lap 30, the first driver to do so, serving his time penalty and changing to soft-compound tyres. Antonio Giovinazzi was issued a five-second time penalty on lap 36 for speeding under safety car conditions. On the same lap, Grosjean fell to ninth place having been passed by Ricciardo and Stroll. He was again investigated for moving too aggressively whilst defending from Ricciardo, but no action was taken. He made his first pit stop at the end of the lap, falling to the back of the field. On lap 38, Vettel dropped out of the points positions after being passed for 10th place by Pierre Gasly. Ocon passed Stroll for eighth place on lap 46.
In the closing laps Bottas, who had been running closely behind teammate and race leader Hamilton for the entire race, began to fall back, complaining of poor visibility due to vibrations. Sainz also reported a similar issue over the radio. Kimi Räikkönen, last of the running cars in 17th place, suffered a front wing failure on lap 48 and returned to the pits for a replacement. On the following lap, Gasly passed Stroll for ninth place and Ricciardo overtook Norris for sixth. With three laps to go, Bottas' front-left tyre delaminated. After passing Bottas for second place, Verstappen made use of the gap to Leclerc in third and pitted for fresh tyres to safeguard against suffering a tyre failure himself and in an attempt to claim the fastest lap of the race. Bottas slowly completed his lap to return to the pits, changed tyres and emerged in 12th place.
With two laps to go, Albon, who had worked his way up from the back of the field and was promoted to 10th place by Bottas' pit stop, passed Stroll for ninth place. At the same time, fourth-placed Sainz suffered a front-left tyre failure. He returned to the pits and eventually fell to 14th place by the finish line. After Bottas' puncture, race leader Hamilton was warned over the radio to preserve his tyres. However this proved to be too late as, at turn eight on the final lap, Hamilton became the third driver to suffer a front-left failure. At this point, Hamilton had gained a lead of over 30 seconds after Verstappen's precautionary pit stop, although this gap rapidly fell as Hamilton slowly completed the lap.
Verstappen could only close the gap to six seconds by the finish line, and Hamilton took the chequered flag to claim his third consecutive victory of the season, 87th career win and his seventh at the British Grand Prix. Verstappen finished second and succeeded in claiming the fastest lap, with Leclerc completing the podium. Ricciardo and Norris finished fourth and fifth, with Ocon claiming his best finish since the 2018 Italian Grand Prix in sixth. Gasly, Albon, Stroll and Vettel rounded out the points positions.
On his lap 12 accident, Kvyat claimed that he was "very, very distract[ed]" as issues with his car required him to change settings on his steering wheel immediately prior to the crash. AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost suggested that Kvyat's accident may have been down to a tyre puncture. Red Bull defended their decision to pit Verstappen in the closing laps, raising the possibility that he could have suffered the same tyre failure as the Mercedes drivers.
The tyre failures near the end of the race were investigated by Pirelli (the tyre supplier) and the FIA (the governing body) after the race. The company stated that the tyre failures were generated by two different causes: firstly, the 'extremely long' stints the cars were running on the demanding Silverstone circuit; and secondly, the increased pace of the 2020 cars which maximised the forces on the tyres, with the most stress on the front-left.
Renault also protested the legality of the Racing Point RP20's brake ducts for a third race in succession. The protest was upheld with Racing Point being reprimanded but the team and drivers allowed to keep their results.
Championship standings after the raceEdit
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings, which are accurate as of final declaration of results.
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2020 Hungarian Grand Prix
|FIA Formula One World Championship
70th Anniversary Grand Prix
2019 British Grand Prix
|British Grand Prix||Next race:|
2021 British Grand Prix