l showed off the fact they are able to take the fight to Mercedes as they won the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix yesterday at Silverstone.
Just as the race was under way it was clear that Verstappen was going to be snapping at the heals of Hamilton and Bottas. His engineer even radio'd through to tell him to back off slightly as they didn't want to damage his tyres and strategy. To which he replied by saying "Mate - this is the only chance of being close to the Mercedes', I'm not just sitting behind like a grandma!".
The Merc's were struggling with their tyres through the race as even after just a few short laps after pitting for the medium's , they started blistering. The likes of Button have made a comment that this could be down to the down-force levels that they have on the car along with the temperatures and the higher PSI. It could have also been the fact that there was a very eager Verstappen behind them probably making them race harder and not look after thier tyres as much. Normally they are in a race of their own where they can spend time taking care of the tyres.
The top 3 Drivers thought:
MAX VERSTAPPEN, Finish Position: 1st, Start Position: 4th
“It’s a great day and I’m very happy with the result as we did everything really well as a Team. The race showed we had the right strategy after our decision to qualify on the hard tyre and I’m pleased it paid off. I think the length and pace of our first stint was the key to being competitive as the mediums don’t last that long, so starting on the hard was definitely the right call. We can see the car works well on softer compounds, especially in the race, and it looks after its tyres. When you are able to overtake and pull away from a Mercedes it is really satisfying. Of course, I hope this will happen a lot more throughout the season and we’ll keep pushing them hard even though they have been the dominant team up until now. We’ll keep pushing, we have a really good Team spirit and I love that we never give up and do take risks. We will enjoy today because everyone deserves it after all the hard work, before focusing our attention on next week’s race in Barcelona.”
Lewis Hamilton Finish Position: 2nd, Start Position 2nd
It was a really challenging race out there today. Fair play to Max on the win, Red Bull didn't seem to have the same tyre issues we encountered. I'm just grateful that we managed to bring it home in P2 and score some good points. We didn't expect to struggle with the blistering to the extent we experienced it. The first stint was difficult, in the second stint I was managing the tyres like you cannot believe. I was doing everything I could to nurse the tyres, but it made no difference to the blistering. I was pushing so hard in those final laps to pass Charles and Valtteri that it felt like I was racing with half a tyre at the end. I don't know if anyone else struggled with the blistering the same way we did, so we'll have to see what happened today, but I know this team will get on top of it.
That was a frustrating race today. It's never great to start from pole and finish P3. I think we were pretty much on the backfoot from the moment I lost track position to Max. We potentially could have gone longer in the second stint, the way Lewis did, to be able to push more towards the end of the race on fresher tyres. I tried to keep up with Max, but as soon as I started to push in the final stint the tyres just fell apart. We really struggled with the blistering today; as soon as you have blisters, you lose the grip and the performance, and it becomes very tough. It seems like the other teams, particularly Red Bull, didn't have the same problem, so we'll have to look into that and try and get to the bottom of it. There's a lot to learn for us today, but as always we'll move on and try to come back stronger.
Congratulations to Max and Red Bull for their first race of the season. For us, it's been a difficult day in the office. We knew that in certain conditions we weren't as competitive as we would like to be and that caught us out today. It's a combination of hotter conditions, a high-downforce car, softer compounds and higher tyre pressures that meant that we didn't have the fastest car today and we were blistering our tyres far more than the others. We have a handful of days to find out what exactly caused our issues today, come up with solutions, test them on Friday in Barcelona and then hopefully have a better race on Sunday. It will be challenging, but we've had these days in the past and came out stronger and I am really looking forward to Barcelona. These days where we lose are the days where we learn the most.
“Today is an amazing day for the Team with Max putting in a dominant performance in the race. After taking a risk in qualifying yesterday and electing to start on the hard tyre, Max made it pay dividends with great race pace in the first stint. To our surprise and encouragement, when Mercedes pitted for new tyres we still had better pace on our used hard set. We then switched our strategy to go onto the medium once we got a pit stop clear of Mercedes and re-emerged just behind Bottas who Max re-passed within a couple of corners. Max then covered Bottas off by going onto his remaining hard tyre to the end of the race by which point he was fully in control to score his ninth victory. Alex also put in another very strong race today with some great passes, particularly around the outside of Copse as he progressed through the field decisively to finish a very competitive fifth place. First and fifth today is great constructors points and moves Max up to second in the Drivers’ Championship. This victory is thanks to a monumental Team effort from everyone trackside, in the factory and also Honda. We’re making great strides and days like today show we’re going in the right direction and now we need to harness this potential moving forwards. Now we look ahead to the next race in Barcelona and let’s hope it’s a hot one!”