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#1045 2021 British Grand Prix

2021-08-16 00:00

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#2021, Fulvio Conti, Translated by Sara Miconi,

#1045 2021 British Grand Prix

After a one-week break, the Formula 1 circus is back on track over the weekend of Friday 16th to Sunday 18th July 2021 at Silverstone, venue of the Br

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After a one-week break, the Formula 1 circus is back on track over the weekend of Friday 16th to Sunday 18th July 2021 at Silverstone, venue of the British Gran Prix, the tenth round out of the twenty-two totally scheduled for the 2021 season. This is the only Grand Prix, together with the one held in Italy, ever to be on the Formula 1 calendar since its foundation in 1950, and it will be held at the historic Silverstone circuit. The track, which was originally created by connecting the tracks of a military racetrack, has undergone numerous modifications over the years, the last of which took place in 2010. The current layout of the track measures 5891 m and consists of 18 corners, 10 of which are right-hand and 8 left-hand. Lewis Hamilton is the most successful driver on this circuit, with 7 victories, achieved in 2008 with McLaren and in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2020 with Mercedes. The Grand Prix traditionally returns to the middle part of the championship, in July, after the 2020 edition was first held in August, as the event had its dates swapped with the Hungarian Grand Prix, thus postponing the British race by two weeks from its original July date, due to the COVID-19 pandemic issues. The event represents the testing of a new formula that may be applied during 2022 to several other races, which includes a session called Sprint Qualifying, sponsored by the Hong Kong-based currency exchange company Crypto.com, to be held during the race weekend, lasting 17 laps for this event or a maximum of 30 minutes as per the regulations, which would form the starting grid for the Grand Prix. On Wednesday April 28th 2021 the British Grand Prix was established as the first event, of three chosen for this season, where the new format is applied. The winning driver of the Sprint Qualifying is awarded pole position for the race, which is valid for the FIA Pole Trophy. The top three finishers do not take the podium as is traditionally the case for the classic Sunday Grand Prix, but are rewarded with a specific celebration, as stated by F1’s Director of Event Spectacle, Alex Molina: 

 

"F1 Sprint is a new and exciting format. So we felt it was important to create a post-race moment that was just as special. The moment recognises the sport’s seven decades of history and combines it with a modern twist, much like the Sprint itself".

 

The format in use at this race, approved by the F1 Commission during April, consists of a free practice session on Friday, followed by traditional qualifying; on Saturday there is a free practice session followed by the 100-kilometre sprint race with a free choice of tyre compounds and no need for pit stops, with the starting grid drawn up on the basis of the previous day’s qualifying, with points up for grabs for the first three finishers (in order 3, 2 and 1); on Sunday the usual Grand Prix with a free choice of tyre compounds to start with and the starting grid drawn up based on the order of arrival of the sprint race. Due to the use of the new formula, the Federation announced a different Grand Prix schedule last May. On Fridays the first free practice session is held from 2:30 p.m. local time, with the traditional qualifying taking place from 6:00 p.m. local time; on Saturdays the second free practice session is scheduled from 12:00 a.m. local time, with the new format of the Sprint Qualifying scheduled for 4:30 p.m. local; on Sunday the start time of the Grand Prix is set for 3:00 p.m. local The Grand Prix, unlike the 2020 edition held behind closed doors due to the health emergency, will be held with spectators in the stands after receiving the go-ahead from the government to accommodate the public. On Sunday, June 20th 2021, the organisers announced the attendance of 140.000 spectators, which is the maximum capacity allowed, the highest number allowed so far for fans to attend a Formula One Grand Prix in this World Championship, beating the quota of around 90.000 spectators that attended the previous Austrian Grand Prix. On Saturday, December 12th 2020, the circuit’s main starting straight, known as the International Pits Straight, was renamed to the Hamilton Straight in recognition of the achievements of Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton in the 2020 season, including reaching seven world titles and surpassing Michael Schumacher’s number of Formula 1 successes. David Coulthard, former driver for Williams, McLaren and Red Bull, now chairman of the BRDC, the entity that manages the circuit, proudly announced the news:

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"I was delighted, as Chairman of the BRDC, to share this news with Lewis today, it is the first time in Silverstone’s history that a part of the circuit has been named after an individual. Lewis has become a huge part of this history and the Club Directors and I felt there was no better way to mark this than to rename the track’s iconic main straight in recognition of his record-breaking achievements".

 

On Tuesday, July 6th 2021, the International Automobile Federation announced the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix for the second consecutive season after decisions were made by the government due to issues with the COVID-19 pandemic.  Planned as the opening round of the season, the Grand Prix was initially postponed until November due to the health emergency, making it the 21st round of the World Championship. With the cancellation of the race, changes to the layout of the track were also postponed, in order to favour overtaking, with the race to be held in April from the following season. The confirmation comes directly from the Minister of Sport of the State of Victoria, Martin Pakula, who states:

 

"On Monday evening I had a conversation with Stefano Domenicali, the CEO of Formula 1. It was a very cordial conversation, there is a good relationship between us. I expect the race to take place in 2022, we’ve been talking about April with Formula 1 for a while now".

 

In place of the cancelled Grand Prix, the FIA is considering Qatar as an alternative venue, with the Losail circuit likely to host the race at night given the track’s lighting system. On Wednesday, July 7th 2021, Ferrari announced the completion of the fitting out of the new simulator within the sports management and that it will be operational from September of the same year. This is the official note from the Maranello team:

 

"The new Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow simulator has found its home. The setting up of the structure and the assembly of the simulator have in fact been completed this week inside the building constructed between the main Sports Management building and the Fiorano track. Calibration is scheduled in the coming weeks and then during September, after the summer break provided for by the sporting regulations, the real work will begin in support of the design phase of the 2022 single-seater. In parallel, the current simulator will continue to be used for the development of the SF21 and the preparation of the race weekends, as well as in the support of the young drivers of the Ferrari Driver Academy. The new simulator is an absolutely state-of-the-art tool in this field and reproduces in a 360° environment the lowest latency and highest bandwidth of any similar simulator currently on the market. It is based on an entirely new concept that was born out of a collaboration between Scuderia Ferrari and Dynisma, a company founded by Ashley Warne, a former Scuderia engineer, and based in the UK, which produced it exclusively for the Maranello team".

 

Gianmaria Fulgenzi, Head of Supply Chain for Ferrari, also comments on this great news:

 

"Simulation and digital technologies will play an increasingly important role in the development of a Formula 1 single-seater and we believe we have made the best possible choice, focusing on the creation of a tool that can allow us a generational leap in this sector. To do this, we chose a young and dynamic company like Dynisma. It took us two years to complete this project and now we are ready to start using it on the 674 project, the one that will characterise the single-seater that will be built according to the new technical regulations in force from 2022".

 

On Thursday, July 8th 2021, the holding of the inaugural edition of the Miami Grand Prix gets the green light from the courts after a lawsuit seeking annulment on discriminatory grounds was dismissed. According to residents living near the venue where the event will be held, having the race held in the area surrounding Hard Rock Stadium constituted racial discrimination against them. District Judge Robert N. Scola Jr in the official ruling writes: 

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"Indeed, many of the complaints indicate that the county’s decision was driven solely by economic and political motivations that were race-neutral".

 

On Monday, July 12th 2021, the organisers of the Dutch Grand Prix, to be held at the Zandvoort circuit, announced that they had sold out of tickets and that 100.000 spectators per day would attend. Dutch circuit manager Robert Van Overdijk said:

 

"We are proceeding with the preparations. We believe that the current anti-contest measures decided by the government are effective enough to allow us to have a sold-out Grand Prix".

 

Tuesday July 13th 2021 the Federation announces the abolition, from the following season, of the rule for the top ten finishers in qualifying to start the Grand Prix with the type of tyre used during Q2. On Wednesday, 14 July 2021, Alfa Romeo Racing announced the multi-year renewal of its partnership with Hinwil-based Swiss team Sauber through an official statement: 

 

"Alfa Romeo and Sauber will continue to join forces, with a strengthened team spirit, at the highest level of motorsport: the Swiss team and the historic Italian brand announce the extension of their partnership in a multi-year agreement with annual evaluations. The significant regulatory changes that Formula 1 will experience in 2022 represent an opportunity for the team to take a substantial step forward, also in light of the budget cap, the extension of the partnership between Sauber Motorsport and Alfa Romeo shows the willingness of both parties to continue to climb the grid together with the aim of providing a rosy future for both the team and the brand".

 

The FIA establishes two zones where the DRS can be used: the first on the Wellington Straight, with the detection point set 25 metres before Turn 3 (Village); the second zone is on the Hangar Straight, and the point for determining the gap between drivers set at Turn 11 (Maggots). They were found to comply with the technical regulations. The Federation establishes two points on the track where drivers are obliged to respect its limits. The points in question are Turn 9 (Copse) and Turn 15 (Stowe). By going beyond the track limits at these two points, drivers will see their time cancelled by the race management. Finally, former Formula 1 driver Emanuele Pirro is appointed assistant race commissioner. The Italian has performed this function on several occasions in the past, most recently at the Styrian Grand Prix. For this Grand Prix, it is the British car manufacturer Aston Martin that provides the safety car and the medical car. For this race, Pirelli, the sole tyre supplier, brings C1, C2 and C3 compound tyres, the hardest in the range. From this race until the end of the season, the Federation gives the green light to use the new Pirelli tyres, after what happened in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The new tyres feature a different construction for the rear wheels. The front tyres and compounds used remain unchanged, while the modified rear construction features increased cornering rigidity at high loads and greater vertical stiffness. Mario Isola, Pirelli Motorsport Director, said:

 

"By announcing all the tyres for 2021 now we will help the teams and drivers with their plans for the season, while also allowing maximum flexibility should the calendar be changed due to the restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. The selection is very similar to that made in 2020, or in 2019 with regard to races that were not run last season. This means that teams should have a lot of data to work with and to be prepared. In two events, however, we have made softer choices than last year. The first is Azerbaijan, where the C2 Hard were not used last time. That is why we have named C3, C4 and C5. Then we have Brazil, where we will bring C2, C3 and C4 considering that the C1s did not bring much advantage over the medium ones. In both cases, the new choices should ensure a great variety of strategies in the race".

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On Monday  July 5th 2021, the McLaren team is asking the Federation for a change to the points penalty system introduced in the 2014 season. After the previous Austrian Grand Prix, where no fewer than eleven driver penalties were imposed in two days, the Woking team’s British driver, Lando Norris, is now at serious risk of a race disqualification as he has accumulated 10 penalty points on his super-licence over the previous twelve months. According to the regulations currently in force, 12 points would trigger disqualification. McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl vented his frustration, dwelling in particular on the latest incident, which occurred at the last Austrian Grand Prix:

 

"Lando took two penalty points for something like that, which brings him even closer to receiving a disqualification. To be honest this is something that we need to do some more overall reflection on, to see if this system that is in place is fair. I just look at this penalty and I think it is simply wrong because this is a normal race for me. This is what we want to see. To interfere in the outcome of a race like that is disappointing. In addition, to even receive penalty points for that and risk being banned from racing for a Grand Prix as a result of something like that, means that there needs to be an overhaul of the whole system".

 

Race director Michael Masi’s response was not long in coming: 

 

"This system mirrors what also happens on the road in everyday life, where those who break the highway code can incur points deducted up to and including the suspension of their driving licence, I don’t think the penalty points on the SuperLicence are unfair or too severe, I’ve spoken to the teams about it and there will be no changes of course this season, least of all with the championship underway. The rules have been like that since the beginning of the year and the stewards will continue to operate according to the current regulations".

 

On Wednesday, July 14th 2021, Alfa Romeo announced the multi-year renewal of its partnership with Sauber:

 

"Alfa Romeo and Sauber will continue to join forces, with a strengthened team spirit, at the highest level of motorsport: the Swiss team and the historic Italian brand announce the extension of their partnership in a multi-year agreement with annual evaluations. The significant regulatory changes that Formula 1 will experience in 2022 represent an opportunity for the team to take a substantial step forward, also in light of the budget cap, the extension of the partnership between Sauber Motorsport and Alfa Romeo shows the willingness of both parties to continue to climb the grid together with the aim of giving both the team and the brand a bright future".

 

The CEO of the Italian car manufacturer, Jean-Philippe Imparato, comments with satisfaction:

 

"Alfa Romeo represents passion, a sentiment shared with Sauber, with whom we share two other essential brand values, courage and future performance. For this is not a key element, we want to use the technological content of F1 to prepare our cars of tomorrow". 

 

However, the Alfa Romeo manager rules out the possibility of the partnership turning into an outright transfer of ownership:

 

"It is not on the agenda and then this team has its own history. I know BMW has bought the team in the past, but we don’t work that way. Sauber helped us build the GTA, which is having great success. We don’t see the need to change things".

 

Finally, the Frenchman is keen to emphasise that this link will not affect the team’s driver market:

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"To each his job, so the answer is ‘no’, he will not choose a driver. There is only one person who will make this choice and his name is Fred Vasseur. I know how to sell cars, he knows how to drive the team. He has been doing it for 25 years and he does it very well. We agreed that he will ultimately decide who will race for the team. And he will do it at the right time, as he has always done".

 

On Tuesday, July 13th 2021, Scuderia Ferrari’s Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc is awarded the Lorenzo Bandini Trophy, an accolade established in 1992 and awarded annually to a prominent figure within Formula 1. The Monegasque declares:

 

"I am very honoured to receive this. It represents a lot, I know, and now it’s my turn to give my best on the track. There are so many champions who have received this award. As far as I am concerned there is still a lot of work to do, we are struggling at the moment but we always give everything. However, it is nice to receive these awards, especially in times that are not so easy, it motivates me even more even if I don’t need it. It is always nice when from the outside they recognise that you are doing a good job and giving your best. I will keep pushing and hopefully come home from the Sunday Grand Prix with a good result".

 

Then his focus shifts to the upcoming British Grand Prix:

 

"I got my last podium there last year. It has certainly been a long time, but there has been an improvement since then. We are going in the right direction, I have a lot of confidence in my team and I am happy with how we are progressing. The podium this weekend is perhaps too optimistic, but you never know, if there is a chance I will take it. At Ferrari I am serene, there is a good synergy with Carlos, we are working well together and I believe in the project. We are all giving our best".

 

On the eve of the British Grand Prix his team-mate, Carlos Sainz Jr., dwells on a technical analysis, and fears that his SF21 is not well suited to the characteristics of the Silverstone track:

 

"It is a ‘front limited’ track and we have struggled so far on this type of track because we suffer from a lot of degradation on the front tyres. We looked for solutions after France, but I’m afraid we will have to deal with this type of problem here as well". 

 

The only free practice session that will take place before qualifying represents an extra difficulty:

 

"It will be important to make the most of tomorrow morning’s only free practice session, because it will be necessary to prepare for the qualifying that will define the starting grid for Saturday afternoon’s race, at Maranello we have organised several meetings ahead of this weekend with the whole team, and I am curious to find out how the different sessions on track will actually unfold".

 

Scuderia Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto also expects a difficult weekend after the difficulties experienced in the last French Grand Prix:

 

"Our car is the one from the first race in Bahrain, we are focused on next year. We know our weak points, we know that on the straights we are still paying from our rivals. We are also paying with McLaren towards their engine. However, we know that we can have a good season even against McLaren there were tracks where our performance was superior to theirs. This track was favourable to them and in two Grands Prix we lost a total of three points, which is not dramatic. Our goal is not third place, it is to improve. There will be tracks favourable to us and others favourable to them. We will do the maths at the end. Silverstone will be very difficult for us, because of the front wear, it’s similar to France. It will be tough, a defensive weekend. In Hungary, on the other hand, we’ll do better, especially in qualifying. The race instead will be complicated because of the tyre wear. But we have time to prepare".

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Max Verstappen is having a very positive period, and he is determined to continue this trend, but without underestimating the potential of his Mercedes rivals:

 

"Having the fans will really make a difference at Silverstone and the British crowd loves motorsport in general, which means it’s a special place to race. Last year we had two races without a crowd and the atmosphere was missing. It’s an incredible track, but having the fans will make it even better. And even though I know they will support Hamilton and the British drivers, I like to see the passion they have for all of us. I just hope the race will be exciting for them as well. As for the season, we started it very well but we have to keep pushing. It’s really going to be a tight fight for the rest of the year, but that’s what makes the season exciting. We were definitely stronger in Austria and our car was very good, but in France we only won with a few laps to go, so the championship is very close, maybe more so than the standings make it look. There are some difficult tracks coming up where Mercedes may be ahead of us, but we have a great team and we are doing everything we can to try to stay ahead".

 

The Dutchman also comments on the debut of the new Sprint Qualifying format:

 

"I am very open to try them out, I really like that we have less free practice before qualifying. But let’s wait, it’s difficult to make a decision on something we haven’t tried yet. In every race you take calculated risks, especially when you are fighting for a championship, but this race will not define the final result".

 

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff throws down the gauntlet to Red Bull Racing, bolstered by the support of the British public who will be there to support Lewis Hamilton:

 

"We arrive at Silverstone with a full house of 140.000 fans in the stands and in the middle of a very close championship. The track is only ten minutes from Brackley and 45 minutes from Brixworth and that, together with the fans on the track, will give us a huge boost. Sprint Qualifying will provide a new challenge for the teams. With only one practice session before Friday’s qualifying, whoever can be quickest will have an advantage for the whole weekend. We will try to be prepared".

 

The Austrian manager confirms that updates will be brought to the W12 for this weekend:

 

"First of all, the characteristics of the Silverstone track should be better suited to our single-seater than at Spielberg. Plus we have some small updates on the car and we are looking forward to finding out how they will perform".

 

Lewis Hamilton is not giving up on his dream of winning an eighth World Championship, and is ready to give battle, whatever the conditions:

 

"Of course I dream of the eighth title already this year and that is why together with the team we are working hard, but it would be a feat. I love challenges and I never run away from the need to fight, a year ago the one-map was already a hard blow for us, then this year the new rules were added, which hit us particularly hard. In addition, the salary cap makes it difficult to invest heavily in developments because we also have to think about the project for next season. So far Red Bull has been superior to us, but together with the team I will do everything possible to try to win this season as well. If I don’t succeed, it won’t be the end of the world because I will still be on track after this championship is over".

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Market rumours about Valtteri Bottas have not died down, but the Finn is not worried about the possibility of changing teams, or even racing series:

 

"Obviously I would have to change my approach if I were to leave Mercedes because I would no longer be in a team where I fight for wins and the world championship. On the other hand, embracing a new project would certainly be interesting. I think without Mercedes I would look at other opportunities in F1, because I still have many years of my career ahead of me. In any case, never say never. I have always had so much fun when I got behind the wheel of a rally car. And then it would be very difficult to compete with drivers who have been in that profession for their entire career. Now, however, what is important is to concentrate on the weekend at Silverstone".

 

His priority, however, remains to stay at Mercedes, and he does not hide this: 

 

"Together with Lewis Hamilton we form a strong and close-knit pair, I will push hard to stay at Mercedes again. Assuming a future elsewhere I will actually need a different mentality".

 

George Russell is the leading candidate to take Valtteri Bottas’ place in the event of the Finn’s farewell, but the young Briton confirms that no choice has been made so far:

 

"I signed with Mercedes five or six years ago, that’s 100% true, everyone knows they look after me. But as for where I will drive next year, nothing has been signed and nothing will be announced at Silverstone. I can let you know this".

 

The British driver, who is currently racing with the Williams Racing team, therefore focuses on the next Grand Prix, expressing his excitement to race in front of his home crowd:

 

"I’m really excited about my home race, having all the British fans by my side will be an incredible experience. There will be the challenge of the new format this weekend, so we will have to be on our toes to make the most of it. All in all, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone is always a great weekend. We have the best crowd of the year here, the fans are incredibly passionate and the circuit offers great racing. There is nothing like it. The difficult part is that there is a lot of media attention and there is a lot of marketing to do. You just have to manage to balance all that because it is the biggest event of the year for us, the biggest from a marketing point of view. In the end though, we can’t let that affect the race. So it’s just a matter of finding the right balance".

 

Finally, Russell sees one more opportunity he can exploit in his favour in the Sprint Qualifying format:

 

"If I were Verstappen or Hamilton and found myself on the front row, I would think more than twice about risking an overtake and risking not finishing the race. They both know they can place in the top five and still manage to win the Grand Prix or finish second. In practice so far we have always been good. If we can get in front of some cars that are faster than us on Saturday, it could be a good opportunity for us. I will certainly be ready". 

 

His team-mate, Nicholas Latifi, on the other hand, focuses his attention on the track layout, his favourite:

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"I’m super excited about the Silverstone race. This is by far my favourite track on the calendar, the nature of its high-speed corners, which are particularly smooth, makes it the perfect track to drive the modern F1 cars, which have so much downforce. It is an exhilarating feeling to have all the G-forces going through your body. It is also the team’s home race and I am very excited about that. I haven’t had my home race this year, but this one will be just as special. I’m hoping for a strong weekend to make it all better".

 

Pierre Gasly is happy with the work done so far by himself and the team.

 

"Thinking back to the triple-header, qualifying went well and on all three occasions I managed to get into Q3. So the performances on Saturday were always excellent and I was pleased to be able to make a good impression in France, in front of my home crowd. The Austrian GP also ended well, although it wasn’t easy. On the other hand, the Styrian Grand Prix ended quickly for me, but overall we are doing a good job as a team, the car is behaving well and everything seems to be going well: I hope we can continue like this at Silverstone. The biggest change this weekend will be the race on Saturday, which means we will only have one free practice session to find the ideal set-up for the car before qualifying. This is an important change and it will be even more important to start with a good base set-up. The new format will give more importance to the car in race trim and we know that is where we have to work harder".

 

Finally, the French AlphaTauri driver also talks about the new features that will be present at the British Grand Prix, the new Pirelli tyres, and the Sprint Qualifying:

 

"I think, in general, we have always gone beyond expectations in qualifying, but then in the race we are more or less where we should be. Overall it should go well, because we saw that in Austria, with a different strategy, we crossed the line four or five seconds behind the Top 5. So even though we will have some work to do for the race, we are still in the mix. We have been working a lot together with the engineers and I have been in the simulator to look at all the possible scenarios for the Sprint Qualifying Race. It should be fun. We’ll also have the new Pirelli tyres: they were introduced mainly for safety and from what we’ve experienced, testing them in Austria, I think there won’t be much difference. I love Silverstone, it’s one of my favourite tracks, especially the passage over Maggots and Becketts, one of the most exciting sequences of the season. Overtaking is a little more difficult here, but last year I managed to do some good manoeuvres, like the one in the fight with Seb (Vettel) on the outside, at the right-hand corner before the chicane". 

 

Dmytry Mazepin, father of Nikita Mazepin and owner of the Haas team’s title sponsor, Uralkali, has recently expressed dissatisfaction with the treatment of his son, who he says is not on a par with Mick Schumacher. The Russian manager, according to some rumours, thanks to his impressive financial endowment provided to the team, has also demanded the removal of the current team principal Guenther Steiner. However, the person concerned strongly denies the news and also guarantees the necessary support for Nikita Mazepin:

 

"They are nonsense. Simply someone wanted to write something and spread a new gossip. These choices are made by Gene Haas, who I can assure you is not tired of leading the team. We are working to make Nikita as fast as Mick. Our aim is to have two good drivers by the end of the season. Nikita is making progress, but with Mick the bar is pretty high. Some drivers learn faster, others slower. But I trust they will soon have a similar level".

 

The Italian manager then expresses perplexity about the increasingly frequent decision to put triple consecutive races on the calendar, which he says are too demanding for the team members:

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"I have to admit, after these three weekends in a row the guys are looking forward to going home. We know there will be three more trebles after the summer break and it will be tough, but we have to keep working hard. It will be a tiring season for everyone, but hopefully we can continue to do a good job. I think the triplets should be avoided, at the cost of more consistently playing two games in a row over the course of the season. The last few weeks the guys have been away from home for a whole month, and to have three races in that period is quite stressful. I’m sure FOM will think about it, as the calendar for this season is constantly changing".

 

On Thursday July 15th 2021 McLaren announced that team principal Zak Brown and two other team members would not be present at the Grand Prix due to being SARS-CoV-2 positive.

 

"McLaren confirms that today three members of the team, including CEO Zak Brown, tested positive for Covid-19 during the rigorous testing programme prior to the British Grand Prix. None of our drivers have been in close contact with them. All three are now isolated in accordance with government guidelines. There will be no operational consequences for the British Grand Prix".

 

No problems then for the two drivers, Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris. Just about the young Briton, in the days before the Grand Prix, some doubts had arisen about his participation, after he had been robbed the week before during the 2020 European Football Championship final played at London’s Wembley Stadium between Italy and England. The driver said he was a bit shaken up about what had happened to him, but still attended the race regularly. On the same day, Aston Martin announced its collaboration with the social network TikTok. The logo of the Chinese social network, born five years earlier, will appear on the driver’s headrest and on the inside of the halo. Below are the official details revealed by Lawrence Stroll’s team: 

 

"The TikTok logo will feature prominently on the AMR21 and will be revealed at this week’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone, July 16-18th. The partnership will see Aston Martin work with both TikTok’s in-house creatives and the platform community to explore new and innovative ways to engage with the Aston Martin story, including exclusive social content on the team’s new TikTok account @astonmartinf1. TikTok will also launch a series of global hashtag challenges, including the #CatchChallenge, which will test users’ reactions to see if they have what it takes to match Formula 1 drivers such as Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll; #DayInTheLifeOf will share behind-the-scenes content from the Formula 1 team, from drivers and engineers to chefs; and #DidYouKnow will help educate and inform the TikTok community about the sport. The partnership will focus even more on this year’s British and US Grand Prix: key territories for both brands, and events where additional emphasis will be placed on creator-driven content".

 

On the eve of the race, live on all social platforms, Formula 1 will officially present the life-size maquette of a possible single-seater built according to the technical specifications included in the new technical and sporting regulations valid from the 2022 season. In addition, Charles Leclerc will bring the Ferrari 375 F1 to the track on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Maranello team’s first Formula 1 victory, precisely at Silverstone, in the 1951 British Grand Prix. Before the race, Ferrari will commemorate, with an exceptional event, the 70th anniversary of its first Formula 1 victory, in the 1951 British Grand Prix run at Silverstone, thanks to Argentinean driver José Froilán González driving the Ferrari 375 F1. A celebratory logo will appear on the halo of both Maranelo cars, while the hashtag #grazieAzzurri will appear on the bodywork to pay homage to the Italian national team’s victory in the 2020 European Football Championship. Before the start of Friday’s free practice session, the internal combustion engine, turbocharger and MGU-H are replaced on the cars of Sebastian Vettel and Esteban Ocon, fitting the third unit. Ocon also has his MGU-K replaced.

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In addition, the exhaust systems on the two drivers’ cars are replaced with the third and sixth units respectively. On Nicholas Latifi’s car, the energy recovery system and the electronic control unit are replaced with the second unit. Finally, on the cars of Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz Jr., Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi the exhaust systems are replaced, fitting the fourth unit. However, no driver will suffer a penalty as all newly installed components are within the maximum number of replaceable components. Friday  July 16th 2021 sees the start of track activity, with FP1 scheduled at 2:30 p.m. local time. The weather conditions are good: 24 °C air temperature and 46 °C asphalt temperature. There are 90.000 spectators in the stands of the Silverstone circuit. Max Verstappen is the fastest driver at the end of the first free practice session on Friday. The Dutchman of Red Bull Racing is ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris. While the World Championship leader set the fastest time on Soft tyres, the British driver set the second fastest time on Medium tyres. He is followed by the reigning World Champion, Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes concentrated on short long runs in an attempt to simulate the race situation, with similar work being done by Ferrari at the start of the session. During FP1, seven times are cancelled for drivers for exceeding the track limits at the exit of Turn 9 (Copse), Nikita Mazepin and Pierre Gasly (twice), Nicholas Latifi, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell (once). And one time is cancelled for exceeding the limits at the exit of Turn 15 (Stowe) to Haas’ Russian driver Nikita Mazepin. Red Bull Racing is fined €1.000 by the FIA because Sergio Pérez exceeded the speed limit set in the pit lane. McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl comments on the work and the result of FP1 with satisfaction:

 

"We completed the work programme we had set ourselves, we did not use the soft tyres to try to keep an advantage over our rivals for qualifying. We mustn’t get carried away by enthusiasm and delude ourselves in front of this classification, because the rivals are faster than us and we don’t know the petrol loads".

 

Finally, the German confirms that Lando Norris is well, after the setback suffered in recent days:

 

"He has had all the support he needs from us and his people, these 60 minutes show that he is fine».

 

The weather conditions in which the qualifying session takes place are very similar to those present during FP1, with the air temperature of 25 °C and the asphalt temperature of 41 °C. At 6:00 p.m. local time Q1 begins. The first time of the session is set by Lando Norris. The first driver to drop below the 1’28"0 mark is Sergio Pérez, later beaten by the two Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas (1’27"487) and Lewis Hamilton (1’27"160). Charles Leclerc managed to place behind the two Anglo-German cars, before Max Verstappen set the fastest time of 1’26"751, while George Russell set the eighth best time. Esteban Ocon climbs to sixth, before Carlos Sainz Jr. beats his team-mate’s time to fourth. The track seems to be improving all the time. Pierre Gasly sets the fifth fastest time, and is ahead of Daniel Ricciardo. Lando Norris does better, setting the third best time. In the final moments, George Russell regains eighth position, while Antonio Giovinazzi moves up to sixth. Sebastian Vettel recorded a time at the last moment that earned him fifth position. Shortly afterwards Esteban Ocon and Sergio Pérez moved up to third and second respectively. Yuki Tsunoda, Kimi Räikkönen, Nicholas Latifi, and the two Haas drivers Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin were eliminated. In Q2, whose tyre choice will not affect the tyres to be used for Sprint Qualifying, nor for Sunday’s race, Lewis Hamilton stopped the clock at 1’26"602, 0.1 seconds better than Valtteri Bottas. Max Verstappen, as in Q1, takes the lead, 0.1 seconds ahead of the World Champion, and 0.5 seconds ahead of Sergio Pérez. Sebastian Vettel follows, who in turn is ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, Lando Norris and Esteban Ocon. The Scuderia Ferrari drivers lag behind, but improve their performance, with Charles Leclerc coming in seventh, before being preceded in the time classification by Carlos Sainz Jr. The distances in the middle of the pack are small: there are only 0.5 seconds between the fourth and thirteenth fastest times. With two minutes to go in Q2 all the drivers take to the track, with the exception of Sergio Pérez and Sebastian Vettel.

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Lewis Hamilton improved his time (1’26"023), as did Carlos Sainz Jr. and Charles Leclerc, who reached fourth and fifth position. Lando Norris climbs to ninth, followed by Fernando Alonso. Finally, George Russell sets a time that earns him seventh and eliminates Fernando Alonso from Q3. In addition to the Spaniard, Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon, Antonio Giovinazzi and Lance Stroll do not qualify for the next stage. In Q3 Sergio Pérez completes his first attempt by lapping in 1’26"844. Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo are slower, while Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton set better times than the Mexican Red Bull Racing driver: the Briton is at the top of the leaderboard with a time of 1’26"134. Max Verstappen does not improve on the limit set by the World Champion, and is 0.172 seconds behind, complaining of understeer and difficulty in bringing the tyres up to temperature. Valtteri Bottas is 0.4 seconds off Lewis Hamilton’s time, ahead of Sergio Pérez and the two McLarens of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, faster than the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. Shortly afterwards George Russell climbed to seventh position, making just one attempt. Lewis Hamilton improves his time again, setting the two record times in the first two sectors. Max Verstappen is unable to do better than the World Champion, and remains 0.075 seconds behind. The Dutchman, however, is ahead of the other Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas. Lewis Hamilton will start in first position in Saturday’s Sprint Qualifying, which will determine the starting grid for the British Grand Prix. The second row is completed by Charles Leclerc. During the qualifying sessions there were two times cancelled for drivers for exceeding the track limits at the exit of Turn 15 (Stowe), Sebastian Vettel and Sergio Pérez. Lewis Hamilton took pole position in front of his home crowd. At the end of qualifying, the British driver expressed his gratitude and satisfaction for a day he described as important:

 

"We have been missing this for a year and a bit. I miss it. I am grateful to see these. We have missed you. A packed crowd here at Silverstone gives different energy. I was hoping that the energy of the fans would take us to first place. I also owe this result to them. Fake in free practice? I don’t know what they are doing in Red Bull. We have been doing our job trying to improve gradually. This morning I did work in the simulator having the morning free. We left no stone unturned. The first attempt was great. The second was even better but I missed a corner at the end. It reminded me here of the first pole in 2007. Simulator? Yes I was on Tuesday and then we had this morning off and I said to myself ‘why do I have to sit and waste time?’ We did this simulator session this morning to give as much data as possible to the team. It feels like an eternity since the last pole and then it’s special because it’s at home. But it’s just a small step. But the work has to be completed over the next two days. I will need all the support I can get from the public. Teamwork makes dreams come true".

 

Max Verstappen will keep the World Champion company on the front row, as has already happened on other occasions during this season; the Dutchman is nevertheless satisfied with the work done, and aware that he has the potential to fight with the Briton:

 

"Lewis? We only have to look at ourselves. The car was going pretty well, it was well driveable. But then there was a lot of understeer and I couldn’t really attack the corners. I was just waiting for more grip on the front. Strange feeling in the driving. It went the way it did but we’re close. It’s OK. Bizarre feeling: you push hard in qualifying, but you don’t need it for pole. Tomorrow we’ll see. In the race you go much slower in those corners, so I don’t expect us to have this problem, but we have to investigate why we had this problem. Saturday’s race is a different thing, and so is Sunday’s race. Hopefully we will pick up something more, it will also be warmer".

 

The Dutchman’s analysis then turns to the problems he encountered during his fast lap, which probably compromised his ambitions for pole position:

 

"I don’t know what suddenly happened in qualifying, I didn’t expect there to be so much grip and I also had a bit too much rear wing. The track really became a lot faster in qualifying, especially in the slow corners. You can’t gain so much time in the fast corners, which are often to be taken in full throttle. It simply wasn’t the ideal situation. I had a lot of understeer in the corners where you have to make time, in Turns 3 and 4, but especially in Turns 6 and 7. There the car didn’t turn at all".

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Red Bull Racing consultant Helmut Marko also confirms the problems experienced by Max Verstappen, focusing in particular on tire temperature:

 

"We were not able to get the tires at the right temperature. We did not have this problem in FP1, but it appeared for the first time in qualifying. Plus we lost a surprising amount of time on the straights. Mercedes is clearly faster in the first sector. Then in qualifying there were lower temperatures than in the afternoon in FP1. We also changed some things on the car that didn’t work, but that could have an impact on the race. Obviously we would have liked to start in the front".

 

Finally, the manager the Austrian dwells on the choice of tire for Sprint Qualifying, which will be an important variable in the course of the weekend even ahead of the main race:

 

"It is very difficult to make a choice. With Soft you would run on paper a very high risk, I can’t imagine a race with this compound. We can’t risk too much, but make sure we are in front ahead of tomorrow’s Grand Prix. If you go completely on the attack it increases the risk of a problem or an accident and on Sunday you will find yourself at the back. We have to look for the right mix".

 

Valtteri Bottas follows the two title contenders and is happy with the qualifying result, both personally and as a team:

 

"Good qualifying based on what we saw in practice. Red Bull was very fast, to take pole as a team is a very good result. In the first attempt I went out first and got all the air in my face. Considering that it was a good attempt. Tomorrow? Everything is still up for grabs. I hope I can have a good race pace, we are there and we can fight. Helping Lewis? Yes, I think it’s normal. We tried to get the best possible result".

 

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is proud of the pole position achieved by Lewis Hamilton and hopes this is the first step toward redemption after a complicated period:

 

"The empire strikes again, it was just qualifying. But maybe we have unlocked something".

 

The Austrian manager then reserves great compliments for George Russell, under contract with Mercedes and a candidate for the seat for next season:

 

"It is a pleasure for the eyes to watch George. He is in the top-ten and almost beats McLaren. That shows his incredible talent. He is a little lion in the car. Does he deserve a top car? Yes. We hope he does. Any news? No, none".

 

In fact, the young Briton reached Q3 in his Williams, even placing ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr.’s Ferrari, and he is understandably overjoyed at this result:

 

"Unbelievable to be in the top-ten and to do my best qualifying here at home, with the crowd coming back: it was amazing. I saw them cheering, it’s something I had never experienced. A great feeling, really. I’m glad I did a good job. Every time I turned I saw all the people, for a rider it’s also extra pressure but it’s a kind of pressure I like. I also like having to get results for the team, the fans and all my friends, with my family being here. Great feeling, really. We were a tenth and a half away from fourth place, from Charles Leclerc, I’m speechless. It’s really unbelievable. Tomorrow I don’t know how it’s going to go, and basically that’s the beauty of it. We will have one-third of the tank here, as the race is only 17 laps long and we will have to do it flat out without pit stops. I don’t know how it will change things, but I will be aggressive and try to go for the maximum. We are here to attack".

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The same feat does not succeed for Nicholas Latifi, who was disappointed with a result that fell short of expectations:

 

"The car was fine and I could have done a better lap if the balance was better, but overall I’m pretty satisfied. When I finished the lap, I was happy and then disappointed. Happy because I felt it was a good lap, but then I realized it was slow. We have both the Sprint Qualifying and the Grand Prix itself to go on and we have FP2 to try and see if we can improve the problem, so that’s what we’ll focus on this".

 

Once again Sergio Perez failed to reach his full potential in qualifying, but limited the damage. He will still have Sprint Qualifying to improve his position ahead of Sunday’s race:

 

"I went wide at Turn 15 and my best time was erased, which is a bit of a shame, but those are the rules and luckily I only lost one position. Fourth place would have been a little better, but we still have the sprint race to get higher up the grid on Sunday. So there is still a lot to play for. We improved the car a lot throughout the day, but I found a bit of a difference in the balance at the end of Q3 and I couldn’t get the most out of the car. I am looking forward to tomorrow, it will be interesting to see what happens with the new format and how much progress we will be able to make in that race".

 

Charles Leclerc will start on the second row, having been adept at harnessing the potential of the SF21 despite only taking part in one free practice session. The Monegasque is happy and looks encouragingly toward the continuation of the weekend:

 

"I liked it today. In general I like to have little preparation. There was less time to look at the data, you had to be right away. I like that as an approach. Now eyes on Saturday’s race and hope to do well. I am very happy with today’s result. Coming to qualifying with so little time to prepare makes things a little tricky, but also more fun. We did a good job in maximizing the potential of the car. I felt comfortable, especially in Q1. In Q2 I was not at the same level, but in the decisive phase I regained confidence and pace, finishing in fourth position, which I think was the best result we could have aimed for. As for expectations for tomorrow, let’s see how things play out. We are going into unknown territory. We will use FP2 to prepare as best we can and get the best possible result".

 

Carlos Sainz Jr. on the other hand is struggling with mixed feelings. The Spaniard has a good overall feeling, but he was unable to get a satisfactory result in the decisive moment of Q3:

 

"It seemed to be going well, in Q2 I was very fast. But for some reason I haven’t figured out yet in Q3 we went slower than in the previous session. I didn’t find the feeling with the car and we didn’t repeat the Q2 time, which would have been enough to be fifth or sixth. There is something to analyze in this, ahead of Sprint Qualifying. I am not completely satisfied with the result of this qualifying. I was comfortable in the car, with a growing feeling and confidence from the beginning of the session until the end of Q2, when I was able to pass the cutoff with a good time. In the last attempt in Q3, however, I struggled a bit more, made a couple of small mistakes here and there that prevented me from repeating myself. So I lost that couple of tenths that unfortunately cost me today. It’s a shame, also because we had really good pace and ultimately the potential was all there. Tomorrow with the Sprint Qualifying we have a good opportunity to push".

 

Scuderia Ferrari’s sporting director Laurent Mekies is also satisfied with the work of the team, and both drivers:

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"The work of Charles and from his team in qualifying was great, with the close group and less time to prepare, he worked hard during qualifying. There were a lot of details to fix in the car. He worked a lot, given the little data this morning. It was a hard-working session, in which he had a great lap at the end. Fourth place is well deserved because of the quality of this work. Too bad for Carlos, he had the same speed, but by a few tenths and he is on the other side of the center group. But the work done was good".

 

The Frenchman, like the aforementioned Helmut Marko, stresses the importance of strategic choices both ahead of the race, but also in Sprint Qualifying: 

 

"The real challenge will be on the races tomorrow and Sunday more than on the single lap. Strategy ahead of tomorrow? It is not a foregone conclusion that everyone will start on softs, we will find out together tomorrow. There is a lot of analysis work to be done and a lot of work planned for tomorrow morning, with a session dedicated only to that. The work is not finished today. There is work to be done to optimize the car and make the right choices".

 

Fernando Alonso regrets not qualifying in Q3:

 

"It was difficult today, but I think we had potential to get into Q3. The traffic was quite difficult to deal with and the laps coming out of the pits in Q2 were a bit messy. It was unfortunate to be out of Q3, but we have to deal with a new format this weekend, so we will have another opportunity tomorrow to gain places on the grid until Sunday’s race. Let’s see what we can learn and improve ahead of the Sprint Qualifying debut. The atmosphere was great today and it really felt like racing, I hope the fans enjoyed it".

 

While Esteban Ocon is moderately optimistic. Despite the disappointing result, the Frenchman seems to have resolved the major problems that have plagued him in the past few Grands Prix:

 

"Overall I am happy, even if the result is slightly disappointing. I am happy to see that we are back on the right track and that we got the most out of the car. Thanks to everyone at Enstone, Viry and the track for all their hard work over the last week (the Frenchman was given a new chassis, ed.). Qualifying was going well until the last lap when we had a messy out lap. It was a shame because we were fast enough for Q3 today. It’s all to be decided tomorrow in Sprint qualifying".

 

Kimi Raikkonen fails to make it past Q1 and is understandably disappointed. Sprint Qualifying, however, offers an extra opportunity for the Finn:

 

"We were hoping to do better. To be out in Q1 is not great, there was nothing particularly wrong with the lap, but I simply could not achieve more. Now let’s focus on the Sprint race. This is a new format, let’s see what we can achieve. We have to do our best and make up some positions as we did in the previous races, to give ourselves a better chance on Sunday".

 

It went better instead for his teammate, Antonio Giovinazzi. However, the Italian driver is not completely satisfied:

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"Today was quite a peculiar day, but it was fun to have only an hour of practice and then go straight to qualifying, once again we were strong enough to get into Q2, but that was pretty much the best we could do. We were a little too far from Q3 today. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow. Sprint will be important ahead of Sunday and we approach it with a simple strategy. We want to gain positions on the first lap but try not to take too many risks. Making progress after the start will not be easy without pit stops. But we can still aim to gain ground in the early stages".

 

Sebastian Vettel is very happy with the feeling with his AMR21. Yet, despite winning Q3, the driver is not satisfied with his result:

 

"I would have liked to finish Q3 higher because the car seemed competitive and the pace came out quite easily today. Overall, it was a good session-I was happy with my best lap in Q2, but in Q3 I struggled to find more performance from my car. I think we could have qualified a few places higher. Anyway, it was good to see the big crowd here today and I think the new format made Friday more interesting for the fans".

 

Lance Stroll, on the other hand, struggled much more than his teammate and could not be satisfied with this first day of the weekend:

 

"Fifteenth place was not the way we wanted to start our home event, but there is a chance to improve tomorrow through Sprint Qualifying. I wasn’t totally comfortable in the car during practice, but I think we made some progress in qualifying, although it wasn’t enough to make Q3. It was a challenge to only have one practice session today before qualifying, but it was the same for everyone. We leave the circuit learning a lesson from today. let’s try to make the most of the second practice session ahead of Sprint qualifying".

 

Lando Norris and McLaren confirm that they are quite competitive. Nevertheless, the British driver preaches calmness, but at the same time looks ahead:

 

"The main point is Sunday, because tomorrow it is unlikely that we will be on the podium, it is much more important on Sunday. We must not do anything that could put us in a bad position for Sunday. Charles is seven hundredths ahead of us. I didn’t improve my last lap, but the goal for us is to move a few positions ahead".

 

Daniel Ricciardo was almost as fast as his teammate, despite that the Australian regrets a less-than-perfect last attempt, as noted by his words:

 

"I liked going from FP1 straight into qualifying. Who knows what tomorrow will be like, but so far so good. I’m a little frustrated because I felt I had a little bit more, I think we had a little bit more in the last attempt. If you look at the times, from memory Charles is fourth and he is ahead of us by half a tenth. I feel it was an achievable result".

 

On Saturday, July 17th, 2021, just before the start of FP2, Aston Martin formalized the hiring of manager Mark White, who will join the team starting Wednesday, September 1, 2021 in the role of director of operations. Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer enthusiastically welcomes the British manager:

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"The arrival of Mark White is a key transaction and will add a very valuable skill package to improve our factory operations. Mark’s automotive experience will be even more crucial as the budget cap takes effect".

 

For his part, Mark White makes no secret of his satisfaction with the agreement reached: 

 

"I am deeply proud to be able to join talented men and women and impressed by the team’s passion and desire to achieve a leadership position [in Formula 1]. I will do everything I can to help the team build a car capable of conquering the front rows of the grid".

 

At 2:00 p.m. local time, the second free practice session takes place after the qualifying session and before the Sprint Qualifying, which determines the starting grid for the Grand Prix. This special feature leads the teams to test the cars both in preparation for the sprint race and the race to be held on Sunday. The session takes place in weather conditions that are still quite warm, with the air temperature being 24 °C. Max Verstappen records the best FP2 performance on Medium tires. The two Scuderia Ferrari drivers follow, with Charles Leclerc ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr. Finishing only eighth and ninth are the two Mercedes drivers, who use the first part of the session to study the behavior of the car with a significant fuel load in order to simulate race conditions. Four times were cancelled for drivers for exceeding the track limits at the exit of Turn 9 (Copse), to Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris, Antonio Giovinazzi and Yuki Tsunoda. On the other hand, only one time was cancelled for exceeding the limits at the exit of Turn 15 (Stowe), again to Lando Norris. Late in the afternoon, at 5:30 p.m. local time, the first sprint qualifying in Formula 1 history is scheduled. Seventeen laps of the British track are scheduled, for a total of 100.147 km. Weather conditions are very good and temperatures have risen: 27 °C that of the air and 49 °C that of the asphalt. At the start, Max Verstappen immediately manages to overtake Lewis Hamilton who, in turn, also has to fend off Valtteri Bottas. Behind Charles Leclerc maintains fourth position. Fernando Alonso is the author of a very good start, so much so that he immediately gets behind Charles Leclerc. At the rear, the cars of George Russell and Carlos Sainz Jr. make contact, and the Spaniard is forced to lose positions. Max Verstappen seems to be able to maintain a pace that is not approachable for the two Mercedes drivers, while Fernando Alonso defends himself, with difficulty, from the attacks of Lando Norris. On lap 5 Sergio Pérez loses control of his single-seater and goes off the track. 

 

The car grazes the barriers, but the Mexican manages to get back on track, albeit far from the top positions. Soon after, Fernando Alonso has to give up his position first to Lando Norris, on lap 6, then, three laps later, also to the other McLaren driver, Daniel Ricciardo. The Spanish Alpine driver finds himself, in the following laps, grappling with Sebastian Vettel, from whom, however, he manages to defend himself. Max Verstappen, despite some degradation of the right front tire, wins Sprint Qualifying, taking the eighth pole position of his career. Lewis Hamilton follows him and will start on the front row, thanks to second place. The second row will consist of Valtteri Bottas and Charles Leclerc. Four times were cancelled for drivers for exceeding the track limits at the exit of Turn 9 (Copse) during Sprint Qualifying, respectively to Kimi Räikkönen, Pierre Gasly, Nicholas Latifi and Antonio Giovinazzi. At the end of Sprint Qualifying, George Russell and Carlos Sainz Jr. are summoned by the stewards for the contact that occurred between the two drivers during Lap 1. After listening to the drivers’ opinions, the stewards decide to penalize George Russell. The British driver will then be moved back three positions on the grid and one point will be deducted from his superlicense. Carlos Sainz Jr. is also summoned for returning to the track in a dangerous manner after the accident. The stewards do not impose penalties on the Spanish driver. Carlos Sainz Jr., Sebastian Vettel and Nikita Mazepin are also summoned for not following the correct procedure during the simulated starts at the end of the second free practice session: the three drivers receive a warning. The winner of the first Sprint Qualifying in Formula 1 history, Max Verstappen, obviously can only be pleased:

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"It’s hard to overtake here but we started well. Good fight with Lewis in the first lap, then we tried to make our pace. We pushed each other to the limit, in the end the tires were finished. I’m happy to take these three points. It was strange, to take pole like this is strange. But we’re taking it. For sure it will be an exciting race tomorrow. Starting with less fuel, we were able to push hard. But on the tires it’s tough. It’s the same for everyone though, we have to be able to handle that too. We can’t touch the cars, but we are fast. We will have to be tomorrow as well. Straight-line speed will be a problem, but we will manage that too. I still think I can have a great race. I thank the fans. I know they are cheering for the British drivers, but it was great to hear them cheer. I hope I can have a good battle with Lewis".

 

Lewis Hamilton, on the other hand, is understandably bitter about losing the challenge to the Dutch driver in front of his fans, but he is not losing hope that he can have a great race result:

 

"I have given everything. I want to return the affection of the fans. I can’t even describe the energy they give me with their support. I’m sorry I couldn’t give them a victory in this sprint race. But tomorrow we will come back and fight. I had hit my goal at the start, but evidently something didn’t go as it should. We’ll see tomorrow. Lost only one point? Every point counts. I’m not consoled by that. But we can fight tomorrow. They, however, are very strong. He was able to pull away from me in the race. We will have to come up with something tomorrow. They made a great start. We lost something in the engine this year. We will have to work hard to win tomorrow, it will not be easy. Start tomorrow to try again? I hope so. I would like to do it again already today. I don’t know how it was for the fans to see. I think it was great weekend. Yesterday was a really fun day with qualifying on Friday. I don’t know if this race was exciting, we may have to make it a little different in the future, but it makes the weekend more enjoyable".

 

The key moment was at the start, but the seven-time world champion says he still has no explanation for the problems encountered there:

 

"I did everything I had to do. The team tells you what goal you have to have, for the temperatures, the tires and the clutch. I did all those things and had a lot of wheel skidding. So we’ll dig deep to find out exactly what happened, from there we were pretty much a sitting duck and just trying to get close, but they were faster".

 

However, the British driver seems to enjoy the novelty of the format:

 

"It’s nice to try something new. I don’t think it was particularly exciting after the first lap for me. But there is a lesson we can take from today. We should just have a long two days on Saturday and Sunday. FP1 and FP2 on Saturday and a race and a sprint race on Sunday".

 

Mercedes’ other driver, Valtteri Bottas, rounds out the top-three, with a different strategic choice, but one that did not shift the balance as the Finn hoped:

 

"Soft tires? Made something different. The goal was to surprise Max at the start or on the first lap, but it didn’t happen. We still had a good start. Turn 1 I got stuck and couldn’t take advantage of the momentum. But we still maintained position, even though there were a lot of bubbles. That’s okay, that’s how it went. Today’s race shows that tomorrow will not be easy, especially if it gets even hotter as it seems. Now we have more information. Tomorrow anything can happen".

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On the other hand, the same choice was more important for Fernando Alonso, who was able to gain several positions also thanks to the choice of the Soft tire. The Spanish driver is quite happy, both with the performance and with the new format:

 

"Starting with the reds was a risk. The first few corners were exciting, then for me it was a very long race: for you it was 17 laps, but for me it felt like 80. Overall, though, I would say that this first experiment can be considered promoted: we saw a qualifying where we are more or less in the same order as every Sunday, while today we added an extra in which the driver had more to give. We had to take risks, make the start, do some overtaking: we added a little bit of spectacle. We had three days of action on the track and not mere free practice, which is certainly boring for spectators".

 

In conclusion, however, the two-time World Champion warns:

 

"Had I been fighting for the championship, I wouldn’t have caught them. I had more to lose than to gain, but on a day like today it was good. Forecast for tomorrow? I will always be in good shape".

 

It was also a good day for the French team’s other driver, Esteban Ocon, who was also able to gain some positions:

 

"I am quite satisfied with how we approached our first Sprint Qualifying. We gained three places on the grid and will start in the top-ten. The decision to start on soft tires paid off, I was able to get a good start and be fast in the first part of the race, gaining some positions. I must say I liked the new format, it was fun and certainly added some verve to the weekend. For the race we again have freedom of choice on tires, we will evaluate the best strategy".

 

Charles Leclerc maintains the fourth position he gained on Friday, with good pace. The Monegasque is very satisfied as the problems encountered in the French Grand Prix seem to have been overcome:

 

"It was not bad. The pace was there, it was also very good. This is positive. We need to materialize tomorrow in the race. Surprised? Yes, but last year we were also strong on this track. We have to continue like this. We do something good here, for sure, because the pace was very good, better than what we have seen this season in the race. This is certainly a very positive thing. But there will be a lot more at stake tomorrow. Podium? If we get a good start tomorrow anything is possible. Then overtaking the three cars in front on the track is a bit optimistic, but you have to look at it that way. I will give everything".

 

The Monegasque driver also says he is in favor of the new format, both because of the schedule and because of the driving sensations with a lower fuel load than in the race:

 

"The fuel one is a big difference. It is very nice to race with an unloaded car, in fact I prefer driving in these conditions. It makes me rethink refueling, partly because it’s nice for me, but also in general we would have more spectacular races, because we could work with tires that have a better window: we would push a lot more. I liked the format. We could push for 17 laps in a row. The thing I liked most was the change to Friday, which with qualifying becomes more exciting for us drivers. Whether it’s a format to be repeated I don’t know, I think it’s quite early to make a final decision, we’ve only done one Sprint Qualifying. Let’s wait for more tracks and see if it will make sense to confirm or increase the number of these races on Saturday".

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While Scuderia Ferrari’s sporting director Laurent Mekies shows satisfaction with the SF21’s progress:

 

"Charles has managed to stay in touch with the cars in front of him that are on paper faster right now. This is a good sign for us. Fundamental for us is to keep the pace of the front runners, like today. That means beating everyone behind us. Competing with those in front would already be an important thing for us, on a track like this that is indicative on a track like this that is indicative of the overall value of the car".

 

The French engineer also added a comment about the incident involving Ferrari’s other driver, Carlos Sainz Jr:

 

"Sainz was a passenger, right that the stewards took their time to decide".

 

On the other hand, the Spanish driver judged the incident more strongly, accusing George Russell of being unfair during Sprint Qualifying:

 

"Race incident with George? No, I think I gave him a lot of space. I know that normally there those on the inside tend to go long, I gave him as much space as I could. He made a pretty clear mistake. It cost me the race. I ended up last. After that I made a good comeback, up to 11th place. The race pace was there and so was the pace. When things like that happen it hurts you. We should have been further ahead today, but that’s the way it is".

 

However, Sainz Jr. agrees with the rest of the team about the competitiveness shown on the track, which will give him a chance to make a comeback in the race:

 

"Minimized damage? Yes, that one for sure. Today we made one part of the comeback. Tomorrow we’ll have to do the second. This weekend the car seems to have potential to be in the top-five and top-six. But we’ve seen how difficult it is to overtake here".

 

George Russell disagrees with what Carlos Sainz Jr. expressed, and gives his side of the story to the media:

 

"Carlos came from quite a distance and cut towards me, I saw him, but there was nothing more I could have done for the corner I was in. I was trying to steer more, I was on the brakes, but you can see I had just started to lock the tire as he was closing the door, so there was nothing more I could have done. I think it’s one of those things that happens, when you come from the outside you can’t really see what’s on the inside. So I think for him, he just didn’t know where I was. It’s those things that happen the first time around".

 

Leaving the controversial episode aside then, the British driver focuses his attention on the rest of the sporting event:

 

"It’s typical: our first top-ten and we don’t get points for that, but I enjoyed it to be honest. There was really no tire management needed, so we went flat out the whole time, which definitely made it easier to stay with those in front and defend against those behind. But tomorrow will be difficult".

 

It was once again a difficult day for his teammate, Nicholas Latifi, who could not match the Briton’s performance, showing difficulties in handling over the distance:

 

"For me it was definitely a more intense race than a normal Grand Prix, but all in all quiet. We still have problems managing the tires over the long distance, so all I could do was slow down to preserve them. We started at the back without being able to attack any of the other cars. It will be difficult to make up some positions but the race is long, so we’ll see".

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There is also frustration within the AlphaTauri stable. The main problem, according to Pierre Gasly’s words, is the lack of understanding of the car this weekend, which results in the inability to exploit the potential available, and the new format with only one free practice session has complicated the Faenza-based team’s work even more:

 

"I am quite frustrated with how it went, it was not at all what we wanted today. We got off to a bad start this weekend in FP1, and with only one practice session we couldn’t react ahead of qualifying. I feel a lot of disappointment because I know the car would have a lot more potential, but so far we have not been able to make it work as well as we could. We will analyze all the data collected and try to do everything we can to get into the points in the race".

 

And even more difficult in this regard is the work of Yuki Tsunoda. The new format does not give rookies much chance to find the feeling with the car, as the Japanese driver points out:

 

"I certainly cannot be satisfied with the performance. I think the new format is very complex for rookies to interpret because there is only one free practice session before the mini-race. Still, I hope the fans enjoyed the show".

 

Similar result, but different mood for Lance Stroll. The Canadian used the short race to improve his feeling, which makes him hopeful ahead of the race:

 

"We are still looking for the optimal set-up, but I am very happy that I was able to make up some positions in the Sprint Race. One positive aspect is that those 17 laps gave us a lot of useful insight into where and how to intervene to improve the car ahead of a long race in which anything can happen. The heat will not be a factor to be underestimated, as will the freedom of choice on which tires to use".

 

Sebastian Vettel, on the other hand, is confirmed in the top-ten with the other Aston Martin. However, the German driver does not seem to particularly like the new format:

 

"I’m simply thinking that today’s race was shorter than this media interview session where I have to answer everyone. That’s why I want to be fast".

 

Haas occupies the last positions, as has often been the case throughout the season. Mick Schumacher is aware of the team’s difficulties, and therefore tries to remain positive:

 

"For a first time it went well. Of course, for smaller teams like ours, everything is more complicated, because there is very little time to prepare and we have a small staff compared to our opponents".

 

Nikita Mazepin, on the other hand, focuses on his performance and personal growth, but can only rely on his teammate as a reference:

 

"I made one of my best starts since the beginning of the year. With the race pace evidenced by the car, it is clear that the only benchmark remains my teammate. I was faster than him in the first part of the mini-race, then the roles were reversed".

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On Sunday, July 18th, 2021, the Federation announced the elimination of part of the directive issued the previous weeks on pit stops, which should have a minimum duration of two seconds starting with the Belgian Grand Prix, scheduled for Sunday, August 29th, 2021. The previously introduced minimum reaction time of 0.15 seconds is eliminated, and the 0.2 seconds between the release of the car from the stand and the restart is instead turned into a permissible gap of 0.1 seconds. That said, at 3:00 p.m. local time the British Grand Prix will be kicked off. Fifty-two laps of the race are scheduled, for a total of 306.198 km. At the start, the temperatures are even warmer than on previous days: 29 °C that of the air and 51 °C that of the asphalt. At the start Max Verstappen keeps the lead of the race, but he has to defend himself from Lewis Hamilton’s attacks during the first lap. At Copse corner, after the two drivers brush against each other on several occasions, the two cars come into contact: the Dutchman’s Red Bull Racing car goes off the track at high speed, having lost a tire, which in the contact slides off the rim. The race is first neutralized with the entry of the safety car and then stopped with a red flag. Max Verstappen exits the car shaken and is taken to the circuit’s medical center and later to the hospital. While Lewis Hamilton’s car is repaired in the time between stopping the race and restarting it. However, the British driver will later be penalized 10 seconds on the race time. The British Grand Prix resumes with a second start, with Charles Leclerc on pole position, taking advantage of the incident between the two and taking the lead of the race. The Monegasque manages to hold the first position, followed by Lewis Hamilton, while Lando Norris overtakes Valtteri Bottas. Daniel Ricciardo, Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz Jr. follow. shortly afterwards Sebastian Vettel is the author of a spin and ends up at the back of the pack, while Carlos Sainz Jr. overtakes Fernando Alonso. Over the next few laps Charles Leclerc manages to maintain some margin over Lewis Hamilton. The Ferrari driver complains of a drop in power from his power unit, which is later resolved thanks to his engineer’s guidance. 

 

On lap 20 Daniel Ricciardo makes a stop: Hard tires are fitted on the Australian’s car. This choice will also be made by all the other drivers. On the next lap the other McLaren driver, Lando Norris, also stops. The pit stop is slow, causing the Briton to lose seconds. Valtteri Bottas stops on lap 22 and Fernando Alonso on lap 24. Lewis Hamilton, almost three seconds behind Charles Leclerc, makes the tire change on lap 27, also serving the penalty. Between laps 28 and 29, both Ferraris pitted to make tire changes. The first to stop, Carlos Sainz Jr.; is severely slowed by a problem during the tire change operations, while while Charles Leclerc’s one is quick. vThe Monegasque returns to the track still leading the pack, ahead of Valtteri Bottas, more than seven seconds behind. Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton follow, with the latter easily managing to pass his compatriot. Charles Leclerc brings to nine seconds the lead over Valtteri Bottas, who sees, instead, the margin he has over Lewis Hamilton shrinking. On Lap 39, the Finn gives way to his teammate. On Hard tires the two Mercedes are very competitive, so much so that Lewis Hamilton manages to make up almost a second a lap compared to the pace at which Charles Leclerc continues. The gap between the Ferrari driver and the Briton is 5.2 seconds on lap 43: three laps later this gap drops to 2.8 seconds. On lap 49 Lewis Hamilton catches up with Charles Leclerc, and overtakes him at Copse, at the same point where there was contact between Max Verstappen and the British Mercedes driver at the start of the race. Lewis Hamilton wins the British Grand Prix and takes victory number 99 in the history of the Formula 1 World Championship. The British driver wins the British Grand Prix for the eighth time, equaling his record of eight wins in the Hungarian Grand Prix and Michael Schumacher’s eight wins in the French Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc takes the podium for the first time since finishing third in the 2020 edition of the Grand Prix, finishing the race ahead of Valtteri Bottas. Behind them came the two McLarens of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, ahead of the other Ferrari of Carlos Sainz Jr. Completing the top-ten are Fernando Alonso, Lance Stroll, Esteban Ocon and Yuki Tsunoda. Sergio Perez records the fastest lap of the race in the finale, taking the additional point away from Lewis Hamilton, but he will not be awarded since he did not finish in the top ten. 

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During the race there are 11 times cancelled to drivers for exceeding the track limits at the exit of Turn 9 (Copse), and they are those of Pierre Gasly (three times), Carlos Sainz Jr. (twice), Kimi Räikkönen, Antonio Giovinazzi, Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Pérez, Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc (once). While there are two times cancelled for exceeding the limits at the exit of Turn 15 (Stowe), and they are those of Pierre Gasly and Sebastian Vettel. At the end of the race, Kimi Räikkönen and Sergio Pérez are summoned by the stewards because of a collision that occurred between the two drivers. The stewards decide not to take action toward the two drivers. Immediately after the race, a beaming Lewis Hamilton thanked the team and the public, stating: 

 

"Really something overwhelming. Beautiful weather, with the best audience in the world. Our audience is the best in the world. Thank you guys. I am very grateful to the fans. I hope everyone stays safe and goes home without any problems. I could not have done this without the amazing work of Valtteri and the team. Making up for it with the penalty? It’s tough. I gave everything this weekend. I went to the factory trying to extract those extra tenths of performance. I am proud of all the guys, they keep working even though we are behind. In my approach to the race I knew I had to face an aggressive rival like Max. Today I went alongside him and he never left me any space. But beyond the penalty - whether I agree with it or not - I took the hit and kept working trying to do my job and enjoy the crowd. We will hear the national anthem and see the British flags".

 

Charles Leclerc today was as unexpected as he was a tough rival for the Briton, who gives credit to Ferrari’s Monegasque driver:

 

"I said to Charles, who is from Monte-Carlo of course: You had won the soccer, we won the British Grand Prix. He really did a great job today. I was surprised at how strong Ferrari was".

 

Then Hamilton also dedicated a thought to his teammate: 

 

"Valtteri was a great teammate today. He gave me way and gave me a chance to go and fight for the win".

 

Finally, the World Champion also addresses the key episode of the Grand Prix, the incident with Max Verstappen on the first lap:

 

"Enjoy the victory after what happened with Max? Absolutely. I cashed the penalty and from the images, the footage I saw and what I felt inside the cockpit, I hope everyone described for the fans the incident in the right way. The rules say that when your front wing is level with the rear tire of the car in front, the corner is his. If, on the other hand, you are side-by-side, the corner is yours. And I was side by side. So the corner was mine. Max obviously didn’t want me to pass him and that’s what happened. Racing is racing. I don’t feel any hostility but you have to know that even if everybody lifts their foot when you are fighting with Max, I am not like that. I am here to fight and I am not going to give up so easily".

 

At the end of the Grand Prix there are numerous criticisms directed against Lewis Hamilton. But Mercedes technical director James Allison defends the British driver:

 

"If you are on the inside of the corner, trying to overtake by taking advantage of the trajectory on the inside of the corner, then the regulations require you to be basically alongside. You’re not required to be in front so if you follow the notes that are given to the FIA stewards and you look frame by frame at what happened with Lewis, he was basically alongside, he would have absolutely made the corner and in fact he made the corner and so there was no need for him to give up any ground in favor of Verstappen. I personally think it was a harsh decision. If you look at the document in the hands of the stewards then I think Lewis did nothing wrong".

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is also of the same opinion:

 

"Hamilton is the opposite of an improper driver, he is an absolutely sporting driver who has never been involved in major or serious accidents. He always maintains his demeanor and Sunday’s incident did not upset him that much".

 

Meanwhile, the Red Bull Racing team issues an official statement on Max Verstappen’s condition after the accident:

 

"After the first lap incident at Copse corner between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton at the British Grand Prix we can confirm that Max Verstappen walked away from his car and was immediately taken to Silverstone Circuit Medical Centre. Following an assessment by track doctors at Silverstone Circuit Medical Centre, Max Verstappen was taken to a local hospital for further precautionary tests".

 

In the evening, the Dutchman expressed his thoughts about the incident that occurred during the first lap through his social profiles:

 

"First of all: I’m glad I’m okay. It was quite an impact at 51G but I feel better. Obviously I’m very disappointed to be taken out like that. The penalty given does not help us in any way and does not do justice to the dangerous move Lewis made on the track. To see the celebrations after the race, while I was still in the hospital, was disrespectful and unsportsmanlike, but let’s move on".

 

The Dutch driver’s father, Jos Verstappen, also confirmed the driver’s good condition, later criticizing both Hamilton and the stewards’ decisions:

 

"I don’t think you can get a retroactive penalty. Hamilton played with Max’s health, the punishment was not severe enough, he should not have won after such a maneuver. Fortunately, Max is fine now, although he was out of breath after the accident. They performed thorough checks, he has nothing broken".

 

And finally, Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner says he shares the same opinion as the former Dutch driver:

 

"It shouldn’t have been that way honestly. Max had an accident from 51 G. Hamilton is a seven-time world champion. He should not do maneuvers like that. It is unacceptable for a driver. Thank goodness the best thing for us is that Max was unharmed even though he has to have checkups at the hospital. An impact like that is really heavy. I hope Lewis is very happy with himself".

 

Even harsher is the comment of Red Bull Racing advisor Helmut Marko:

 

"I don’t think normal sports penalties can be applied here. I don’t even know what the maximum penalty would be. But such reckless and dangerous behavior should be punished with a suspension or something like that".

 

Former Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, on the other hand, downplays the seriousness of the contact:

 

"Once upon a time such an incident would have been dismissed in no time as a racing incident, and in fact there is no doubt that the impact happened because both drivers were driving on the limit. After all, they are racing to win the championship".

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Later, however, even the British manager acknowledges Lewis Hamilton’s fault in the incident involving the two title contenders:

 

"Lewis was not in front of Verstappen at the point where the impact occurred and therefore the corner was not his, he was almost a meter behind and in fact hit with the nose at the right rear tire. They should have given Lewis a penalty of thirty and not ten seconds".

 

Finally, Ecclestone gives credit to the combative attitude of the British Mercedes driver, whom only a few days earlier he had criticized on this very point:

 

"Lewis got back on track. This incident gave him the confidence he still hadn’t found this year. He is back to his old self and now has a much better chance of winning his eighth world title and overtaking Schumacher".

 

To much it appeared that the contact between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen was a racing incident and therefore the British driver should not have been penalized, however, through an official statement, the FIA explains the choice of the penalty assigned to the Mercedes driver:

 

"The stewards analyzed the images and telemetry. Cars 33 and 44 entered Turn-9 with 33 in the lead and 44 slightly behind on the inside. Car 44 was following a trajectory that did not reach the corner apex, with room to spare on the inside. When car 33 entered the corner, car 44 did not avoid contact and the left front tire made contact with the right rear tire. Car 44 is found to be ‘predominantly’ at fault".

 

Charles Leclerc takes his first podium finish of the season, even fighting for the win until a few laps from the end. At the end of the British Grand Prix, the Monegasque is understandably very happy:

 

"Hard to enjoy this moment. Incredible race, I gave 100%, in fact 200%. I gave everything I had, but it was not enough in the last two laps. Congratulations to Lewis who did an incredible job. To see so many fans in the stands is amazing. I was missing something in the car, although it was a good car today. I didn’t think we could fight for the win, we expected to be quite competitive after qualifying but not that competitive. We fought for the win and that was incredible. On medium tires we were very fast, on hard tires we lacked some pace to compete with Mercedes. But overall we were stronger than usual. The team is working incredibly hard. I’m really proud of the team. To be able to do these races is great. It shows everyone that we are working well, doing the right things in the right direction. We have to keep it up. It’s not going to go smoothly to get to the top, but we’re going to do everything to do it".

 

Scuderia Ferrari’s team principal, Mattia Binotto, is also very satisfied, despite some regret for the missed victory:

 

"Lewis was faster than us. There is regret with two laps to go, but you have to be realistic. It was a good race for us after the disaster in France. It’s already three races, there’s no two without three, three races in a row with good race pace, that’s the important thing. We are focused on ourselves, we are trying to continuously improve. Silverstone is a tough track: we did a good qualifying and got second place in the race. It’s a pleasure. Charles Leclerc was very good all weekend, in qualifying, in sprint qualifying and today. Carlos was also good, but more unlucky. Also today too bad about the pit stop. A gun problem cost him an important position. When he had a clear track he also lapped very strong. This is another important thing for us".

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Carlos Sainz Jr. also gave confirmation of Ferrari’s competitiveness; however, his race was compromised by a pit stop problem:

 

"Too bad. Today was a good race we were always on the attack. With the clean air in front we showed incredible pace. The car was really nice to drive. We had a very good balance. We had overcut Ricciardo with that pace there, but we had that little problem in the pit stop that cost us the position. The pits this year have been very good this is the first one wrong. Today is not the day to complain, the team did a good job, even with Charles. We must not forget that about 60 laps ago I was last. We finished sixth with a slow pit stop. So it was not a disaster".

 

Valtteri Bottas, on the other hand, struggled during the race, partly due to a less than perfect start. The Finn, however, wins useful points for the fight for the Constructors’ World Championship victory, also helping Lewis Hamilton in his comeback. 

 

"It was a tough race. Our weakness today was the start. I skated a lot. As was the case with Lewis yesterday. That made life difficult for me. We had to react to Lando’s stop at the beginning, so we stopped too early to be competitive at the end. But we still caught Lando and helped Lewis win. From the team’s point of view very good points and very strong weekend. Now I’m going for a drink. The main problem for me was losing a position at the start; the same thing happened on Saturday, we have to work on it. During the race, we only had one option when Lando had a slow pit stop; we had to stop too, even though we knew the second stint would be long, and it was. It was tough towards the end of the race, the tires were suffering. But it’s good to see every member of the team fighting so hard for this championship. There were surprises today: Ferrari looked very strong, McLaren was great on the medium tire. This is great for racing and for the fans. Overall, we improved the car this weekend, but we know there is still work to be done".

 

Speaking, however, about the incident involving Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen on the first lap, the Finn defends his teammate:

 

"It’s a shame when there is an incident like that. There was aggressiveness from both of us on that lap. Hamilton tried everything, I find the penalty fair. Once again the stewards made the correct choice. Max may not have been playing his race on the first lap, I hope he is okay".

 

Sergio Perez’s weekend was even more difficult and - obviously - he says he is very disappointed with the result and his performance:

 

"I am very disappointed with my weekend and my performance, I was not able to make as much progress as I expected and I was in a very difficult position with the tires. As soon as we were in the DRS train it was impossible to overtake the others.  It was a weekend to forget for us. We lost a lot of ground in the championship. We have to regroup, work hard and come back stronger in Hungary. I think seventh place was possible today, with a couple more laps I think I could have caught Lance and Fernando. In the end though, for strategic reasons, we decided to stop and take the fastest lap. Max-Lewis incident? I have to see it again, because I didn’t see it. But the most important thing is that Max is okay".

 

Lando Norris was once again very competitive. However, the McLaren Briton is very ambitious, and he is not completely satisfied as he did not finish the race by getting on the podium:

 

"A little bit of frustration is there. I would have liked to have been able to fight until the end for third place, but beyond the mistake during the pit stop the whole team did a great job, and I thank them for giving me a car that performed very well throughout the race weekend. My fourth place finish and Daniel’s fifth is a great result".

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The competitiveness of the McLaren team cars this weekend is also confirmed by Daniel Ricciardo’s final result. The Australian is quite happy at the end of the race as, in addition to a good result, he also feels much improved in his understanding of the car:

 

"We had a good setup, I was confident in qualifying and felt good with the car. It definitely counted the lesser importance of braking on this circuit, it is an aspect that perhaps benefited me. In fact for the first time I had so much confidence to push and it felt so natural. It’s strange, because you think that in the race, when you don’t have to push the car to the limit like in qualifying, you’ll have a good pace and you’ll come out the distance. But at this circuit it was the opposite, I went better on Saturday than on Sunday, with a lot of fuel. I think it’s just a matter of finding the perfect setup, I’m still not able to do it continuously. I think having Carlos Sainz behind me forced me into over-drive in some corners. It put pressure on me, but it also allowed me to better understand where the limit of this car is".

 

McLaren’s team principal Andreas Seidl is also satisfied, talking about the excellent work performed by the team:

 

"In front of a great crowd, with a lot of our fans in the stands, we brought home a good result. The team and both our drivers did an outstanding job. We apologize to Lando for the problem with the tightening of a nut that occurred during his stop, without which he would surely have had a better chance to fight for the podium".

 

A satisfying race also for Esteban Ocon, who also returned to score points thanks to excellent tire management:

 

"It was certainly not an easy race, given everything that happened. Being able to get the most out of the car is always a source of great satisfaction and today, although tire management was very challenging, everything went very well. To have gone to the points with both cars is a great reward for the work done by the whole team. We have regained the right race pace after three difficult races and now we aim to do our best in Hungary".

 

The Frenchman also dedicated a thought to Max Verstappen:

 

"I am very happy that Max is well and I wish him a speedy recovery".

 

It was also a good day for Fernando Alonso, who completes a double points finish for the Alpine team:

 

"We got a good result today and I’m always happy when I can bring points to the team. It was a very long and hot race, physically demanding. I am happy with how we managed the temperatures and tires, building up a good lead over Stroll. Now we have a two-week stop to recover our energy and start again in the best possible way".

 

At Silverstone, Aston Martin won four points thanks to Lance Stroll’s eighth-place finish. Despite high ambitions, team principal, Otmar Szafnauer, can still be positive, given the race circumstances, and congratulated the Canadian driver:

 

"We were hoping to get more than four points. But it is also important to look at how they came: great credit goes to Lance, who started 14th and finished eighth. Too bad for Sebastian, he got back into the race after the spin but had to give up on lap 40 because of engine overheating problems".

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Lance Stroll, who finished eighth after gaining six positions over the course of the race, is also satisfied:

 

"I am overjoyed with my race, we managed to turn around with an eighth place finish a weekend that had started with a thousand difficulties. Getting a good start after the red flags allowed me to make up positions and in the end we brought home four very important points".

 

Sebastian Vettel’s mood, on the other hand, is totally opposite. The German explains the problems that arose:

 

"The weekend looked very promising and without all the problems I had I think I would have been able to get into the points zone. I still don’t quite understand what exactly happened at the moment of the accident that happened to me while I was fighting with Alonso, I just know that I suddenly lost grip and spun. At that point I found myself at the back and then, with the engine no longer able to stay up to temperature, I was forced to retire".

 

Equally disappointed is Pierre Gasly, who failed to finish the race in the top-ten due to an unfortunate episode in the finale.

 

"Honestly, I have no words. We were in the points zone until the end but then unfortunately I had a puncture and had to pit with five laps to go. It is quite frustrating not to score points after today’s race. However, there are also positives: after a complicated weekend, the moment I managed to get out of traffic I had a good pace. Obviously, we want to continue to fight for better positions, so we will work hard to understand where we struggled the most this weekend and hopefully be more competitive again in Hungary".

 

Instead, after much difficulty, Yuki Tsunoda managed to take 10th place.

 

"I’m quite satisfied to have gained a point today. I tried to stick to the plan and focused mainly on tire management, which I think I did well. I struggled a bit throughout the weekend and the different format made things more difficult for a rookie like me. So I’m glad I got a very important point for the team".

 

It was also a complicated race for Williams Racing. Tire management proved complex in the race conditions, and performance manager Dave Robson, analyzing the overall performance, says:

 

"It was a very tough race and the high temperatures certainly did not help. The safety car came on after just one lap and at that point our race was about the balance between attacking the drivers in front of us and managing the tires. It was a shame we couldn’t beat the AlphaTauri, as we had been faster than them on Friday night. Overall we liked them, it was definitely one more test in a weekend that gave us valuable insights ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, especially in terms of tires".

 

Once again George Russell fails to score his first points with Williams Racing. However, the young Briton is satisfied with the performance and progress shown in recent races, and looks forward to the future with confidence:

 

"Twelfth place was the best we could get as we are still slightly slower than AlphaTauri, Alpine and Aston Martin on 50-60 laps. In the last four races we have always finished in the top 12 and on three occasions we came close to the points zone, so we are making good progress".

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Nicholas Latifi’s race was more complicated, partly due to a less than perfect strategy. 

 

"I think we made a mistake in managing the first stint, as we then found ourselves in the situation of having to make a stop to avoid an undercut. It was certainly better after that, but going through the dirty parts of the track as always was very difficult. All in all, though, the weekend went well and gave us a lot to think about in the break before the Hungarian Grand Prix".

 

Kimi Raikkonen’s race was also compromised by contact with Sergio Perez. At the end of the British Grand Prix, the Finnish driver said:

 

"It wasn’t too bad a race until the contact with Perez, I had a good battle with Sergio. We were side by side for quite a few corners, but then suddenly the space was gone. I’m not sure what happened, but I spun and that was it".

 

However, the Alfa Romeo driver is more concerned and dissatisfied with the performance of the C41, and urges the team to carry out research to find an improvement that will enhance performance:

 

"Maybe. Or maybe we simply have to make the car faster. To fight against them is impossible. It’s always the same, and trying to fight against the other cars. Come on… we have to wake up and do something".

 

The British Grand Prix ends with Max Verstappen still leading the Formula 1 World Championship standings, but with a reduced lead to eight points over Lewis Hamilton. Behind the two title contenders both Lando Norris and Valtteri Bottas gain a position, taking advantage of Sergio Perez’s complicated weekend. Following more distant behind are the two Scuderia Ferrari drivers, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. The situation is similar in the Constructors’ World Championship standings, with Red Bull Racing retaining the lead, but only four points ahead of Mercedes. McLaren retains the third position, 15 points ahead of Scuderia Ferrari. On Tuesday, July 27th 2021, Red Bull Racing decides to lodge a complaint against the 10-second penalty, deemed unfair, imposed on Lewis Hamilton after his accident with Max Verstappen on the first lap. To be considered, the complaint must include a significant new element that was not available when the stewards penalised the British driver on race day. Two days later the Federation rejected the appeal lodged by Red Bull Racing, stating that the team had not presented any new evidence that could change the assessment of what had already been decided by the stewards. The final classification of the Grand Prix was thus confirmed. After the decision to reject the appeal by the FIA, the Mercedes team issued a statement expressing their disappointment with Red Bull Racing’s handling of the penalty revision request:

 

"The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team has welcomed the Commissioners’ decision to reject Red Bull Racing’s right of review. In addition to wanting to put an end to this incident, we hope that this decision will mark the end of the concerted attempt by Red Bull management to besmirch the good name and sporting integrity of Lewis Hamilton, as was also the case in the documents submitted in the right of review, We look forward to racing this weekend and continuing the tough battle on track for the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship".

 

Moreover, Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, before the second restart of the British Grand Prix was certain to have decisive evidence to prove contributory negligence, but this did not happen and the FIA penalised Lewis Hamilton for causing the collision by not avoiding contact. Toto Wolff had tried to defend his driver through an email, sent to the race director, Michael Masi, after speaking to him through a radio communiqué:

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"Michael I just sent you an email with the graphs of where the machines should be, did you get it?"

 

Toto Wolff said. The Australian replied that during the race he certainly did not have time to check his mailbox and the Austrian manager responded by saying: 

 

"Well, then you should look at it".

 

Through the email Toto Wolff wanted to show that the document, also seen before the race by the Mercedes drivers, showed how a driver trying to overtake on the inside is not obliged to be perfectly flanked by his rival. The aim was thus to show a contributory fault, which could have exonerated Hamilton in the commissioners’ proceedings. The diagram starts with the question: 

 

"Where can I overtake?"

 

And it is divided into two possibilities: 

 

"Inside".

 

And:

 

"Outside". 

 

In the first, there is a further question: 

 

"Is there a significant overlap?"

 

Then there are two ways: 

 

"The curve is yours, as long as you handle it cleanly".

 

And:

 

"Take your foot off the accelerator or it will be your responsibility in the event of a collision". 

 

In the section on the outside, one wonders: 

 

"Are we close?"

 

And here, too, a double possibility opens up: 

 

"You have the right to the corner. The other driver has to give you the way".

 

Or:

 

"Take your foot off the accelerator or it will be your responsibility. The other driver is entitled to the full width of the track".

 

Apparently the document was provided by the Federation at the time of the rivalry between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton himself, and more precisely by the then Race Director, Charlie Whiting. But as this is not an official FIA document, it is rejected. Sunday 1 August 2021 will see the Hungarian Grand Prix, the last race before the summer break, with the fight becoming increasingly tense and hard-fought. The interest of fans and insiders will therefore be turned towards this rivalry, which now seems to be spilling over beyond all imaginable limits, between incidents in the race and team appeals.


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