Winners & Losers at Silverstone

Formula 1 Silverstone, Loser: Red Bull

Red Bull’s strategy department was in top form in the rain chaos at Silverstone. Every decision was spot on, both the timing of the pit stops and the respective tire compounds – at least for Max Verstappen. The fact that they fell for the first drops of rain with Sergio Perez and switched him to intermediates doesn’t really fit the picture. But no matter, the strategy worked for Verstappen and almost led to a success that this car didn’t really deserve.

The Formula 1 world champion raised the alarm after the race yesterday. “We can’t win the championship until the end like this,” he is sure. And that is exactly where the problem lies in Milton Keynes. The Bulls have not had the fastest car since Miami. External circumstances and a Verstappen in top form have so far concealed this. This cannot go on forever, but only as long as McLaren always finds a way to throw away the victory. The drivers’ championship in Formula 1 is not a sure thing despite an 84-point lead. The constructors’ championship has been burning for a long time. A 78-point lead is all well and good, but it can quickly disappear when Red Bull is a one-man team.

Formula 1 Silverstone, Loser: Sergio Perez

What we are doing at Sergio Perez would have been. The mistake in qualifying looks worse than it was. Verstappen almost made the same mistake. But the slip-up in Q1 just fits in with the negative streak that Perez has been on since Imola. Above all, it came at the worst possible time, because off the track, things happened as they had to: Perez’s driver’s seat was severely damaged.

Not only wild fan theories, but now also recognized specialist portals are reporting that Red Bull is looking for exit clauses for their recently extended driver in order to get rid of him. The only thing keeping him in the cockpit at the moment is the fact that there is no alternative available who a) would not cause unrest in the team and b) is fast enough to compete alongside Verstappen. However, the bar for Perez has already been set so low for the latter that it might be possible to at least try out Ricciardo, Tsunoda or Lawson without any risk.

Formula 1 Silverstone, Loser: McLaren

Winning in the fastest car is not difficult. That was the case regularly when Verstappen won every Grand Prix week after week, when Hamilton Formula 1 was under control, and even back in the days when Vettel left his mark on the premier class in the Red Bull. McLaren is currently proving impressively that there is more to it than that. Since Miami, the papaya oranges have had the fastest car overall. Of course, the gap is not infinite, but it is there. There have been no victories since Lando Norris’s first success in Florida.

The reasons were varied. In Silverstone, it can be boiled down to one word: strategy. This went colossally wrong, and more than once. First, Oscar PIastri was completely miscalculated when they assumed that a double stack would cost more time than an extra lap on dry tires in the rain, then they allowed Hamilton to undercut Norris and also made the wrong tire choice. The days when Woking could celebrate podiums are over. Especially because winning the 2024 Constructors’ World Championship is anything but a distant dream at the current pace.

Formula 1 Silverstone, Loser: Ferrari

If things aren’t going well, they’re not going well. Charles Leclerc’s plague month of June leads seamlessly into July. The Q2 exit, the completely botched strategy with a pit stop during the first short downpour… The Monegasque can be forgiven for appearing disillusioned on Sunday after the race. What weighs much more heavily than the suffering of their top driver on this one weekend is the general direction of development at Ferrari. At the start of the season, the Scuderia was clearly the second strongest. In addition to Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes are now one step ahead of the Italians on most tracks, unless the course is perfectly tailored to the SF-24. But Monaco is only once a year.

Formula 1 Silverstone, Loser: Sauber

Actually scratches Sauber strives every week to be included in this category. Because with zero points you always deserve to be called a loser. At the same time, it has become such a norm for the Swiss team that it is no longer really an outlier. But Silverstone was a disappointment even when measured against these low expectations. Valtteri Bottas managed the feat of being lapped with the perfect strategy and even finishing behind Charles Leclerc. On a weekend when, thanks to the turbulent course of the race, there might have been something to gain, the C44 was too slow even for that. It’s no wonder that there is already a tense atmosphere behind the scenes. What were the people in charge at Audi thinking during this race?

Formula 1 Silverstone, Loser: Alpine

After weeks of upswing, Alpine made a brutal crash in Silverstone. How good would the pace have been in the race? This question was not even raised in Great Britain, as both drivers’ races were ruined too early. Pierre Gasly’s didn’t even start after a gearbox defect on the formation lap. Esteban Ocon is one of the group of drivers who fell into the trap of the first rain shower. At least Alpine corrected this mistake. But by then the damage had already been done. The rest of the Grand Prix was just a test drive in front of a large crowd and with traffic.

Formula 1 Silverstone, Loser: George Russell

How bitter can a race actually be? Pole position, many laps in the lead and then it’s suddenly over after a water system problem. The only downside: George Russell was no longer in the lead at this point, but a podium finish would still have been possible. At least the Briton showed fairness after the race and instead of venting his frustration alone in the pits, he was the first to congratulate his teammate Lewis Hamilton on his victory. The fact that he had an unexpected success in Austria last week perhaps makes it a little easier. The fact that Mercedes will probably be able to fight for victories more regularly from now on probably does too.

Hamilton’s tearful victory: Has the knot been broken? (10:00 min.)

Formula 1 Silverstone, winner: Lewis Hamilton

945 days, 56 races, around 17,000 racing kilometers. That’s how long it took after Saudi Arabia in 2021 for Lewis Hamilton to finally win a Grand Prix again. In the meantime, he not only had to watch as his former arch-rival Max Verstappen won three world championship titles, but also as his few chances of victory always fizzled out and the only Mercedes victories during this time went to his teammate George Russell. Russell, who, by the way, is also clearly the better Mercedes driver this year.

Lewis Hamilton arrives at the Parc Ferme after his 9th Silverstone victory
Photo: Mercedes-AMG

All of this was gnawing at Hamilton, as he admitted after his Silverstone triumph. It fueled doubts. Doubts as to whether he would ever be able to stand at the top of a podium again. He can – and how. In Silverstone, he benefited not only from his team’s correct strategy decisions, but also from his personal class. He overtook Russell on the track and in the last stint he managed the actually worse soft tires perfectly. Even the competition could only bow before him. “You can see what a master he is, that he can read a race and puts the tires under the right conditions so that they don’t break,” said Red Bull motorsport advisor Dr. Helmut Marko in an interview with ORF.

Formula 1 Silverstone, winner: Nico Hülkenberg

The performance by Nico Hülkenberg in Silverstone. So brilliant that it was actually boring. Because the Haas driver’s “best of the rest” position was never really in danger. The fact that Charles Leclerc made a strategic mistake and was knocked out of the race with a defect was just what he needed. On top of that, he had a strong qualifying session in which he was able to outshine both Ferrari drivers. All in all: a perfect weekend.

Formula 1 Silverstone, winner: Carlos Sainz

Ferrari could not achieve more than fifth place in Silverstone. The top teams were too far ahead, but to be fair, the rest of the field behind them was too. Carlos Sainz was once again the better of the two Ferrari drivers. But that may not even be his biggest victory this weekend. His stock seems to have risen again on the transfer market. After months of appearing to be out of the fight for a Mercedes cockpit, he is now back on Toto Wolff’s list. Max Verstappen recently pledged his loyalty to Red Bull, and despite his first F2 victory, there is still a question mark over Andrea Kimi Antonelli’s F1 maturity. So the wait might be worth it for Sainz after all?

Formula 1 Silverstone, Winner: Williams

Two points for the good feeling, two more points to continue to overtake Sauber. Williams can leave its home race satisfied. Alex Albon’s ninth place cannot be explained by luck alone, as the two drivers in the FW44 were already in these parts on Saturday. Russell and Leclerc then came to the rescue on Sunday. Yes, the team from Grove still does not seem to be able to score points without help. Nevertheless, they must first get into a position to pick up points as soon as the opportunity arises.

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