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Verstappen stuns Mercedes to win F1’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix


  10 Août      10        Sport (4239),

   

London, Aug. 10, (dpa/GNA) – A brilliant tactical drive from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took victory in the Formula One 70th Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday, forcing the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas into second and third.
Verstappen started fourth but immediately passed the Racing Point of Nico Huelkenberg and, on hard tyres, set the basis for his ninth career win with a 27-lap stint.
Bottas, who started on pole, and Hamilton pitted earlier having started on mediums but Verstappen’s own middle sprint on the softer rubber ensured his two-stop plan was quicker than his rivals.
Six-time world champion Hamilton retains his standings lead on 107 points with Verstappen now second on 77 and Bottas down to third on 73.
The 5.891-kilometre circuit was hosting a second successive race after the British Grand Prix last week, this time named in honour of the first-ever F1 world championship race taking place at Silverstone in 1950.
Hamilton won last week but was beaten to pole by his team-mate on Saturday and had a difficult Sunday, constantly battling wear on his tyres.
Things were complicated further by the softest of the three compounds available struggling in the high temperatures of the day leaving the teams to run mainly on medium and hards.
Verstappen made it look easy, however, to spring the first shock of the season against Mercedes who have otherwise completely dominated.
« I didn’t see it coming, but after the first stint we seemed really good on tyres and we didn’t have many tyres issues at all, » said the Dutchman. « It is a great result to win here and I am incredibly happy.
« We have not had an opportunity to push them so far this season. We need to use soft tyres that seems to suit our car. »
Bottas will rue the missed chance for a second season victory as Verstappen claimed his first as Hamilton remains unscathed in the standings – the fastest lap bonus ensured he retains his 30-point lead going into next Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix as the coronavirus-hit season continues at pace.
« It was very frustrating – starting on pole and finishing third, » said Bottas. « As a team we were sleeping at some points, Red Bull’s strategy was far better and we have to look at this. »
Hamilton also equalled Michael Schmacher’s record of 155 podium finishes.
« It was a massive challenge today but congrats to Red Bull and Max, they didn’t have the problems we had, » said the Briton. « Unexpected to have blistering as hardcore as we experienced.
« I’m grateful to have progressed like I did. I was pushing pretty heavily. »
Charles Leclerc was a superb fourth for Ferrari having started eighth but team-mate Sebastian Vettel struggled again, ending in 12th.
The German who will depart the Scuderia at the end of the season spun at the first corner but also hit out at his team for what he deemed an unnecessary stop which landed him in traffic.
« You know you’ve messed up, » he complained on team radio.
Alexander Albon took fifth for Red Bull, Lance Stroll finished sixth for Racing Point and Huelkenberg, deputizing for Sergio Perez following a positive coronavirus test, was seventh.
Racing Point competed with a car deemed to have illegally copied brake ducts on Friday but has been allowed to continue unchanged to the fury of some rivals. Racing Point in contrast maintain their innocence amid a flurry of appeals.
Esteban Ocon was eighth for Renault with Lando Norris (McLaren) and Daniil Kvyat (Alpha Tauri) also in the points.
Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri), Carlos Sainz (McLaren), Daniel Ricciardo (Renault), Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo), Romain Grosjean (Haas), Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), George Russell and Nicholas Lafiti (both Williams) all finished with Kevin Magnussen (Haas) the only retirement.

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