Monday, July 19, 2021
Formula 1 lessons from Silverstone
Hamilton’s “unacceptable” title attack
Defending champion and series world champion Lewis Hamilton is back in the title race. Also because he won’t let Max Verstappen finish at Silverstone. It remains fairly unharmed. For the German drivers, it’s a weekend to forget.
Hamilton’s attack punishable by law, but nothing more
One of the main protagonists of this race, the home winner, the comeback star – and the scapegoat. Red Bull barely left out a possible adjective to brand Lewis Hamilton. Motorsport consultant Helmut Marko said he was “negligent” and “inconsiderate” in the duel with Max Verstappen. Team boss Christian Horner said he behaved “amateurishly” and “unacceptably” before the accident. And the celebrations after the race? “Disrespectful and unsportsmanlike,” wrote Verstappen himself in the evening on Instagram, he had followed the cheering scenes from the hospital. As clear as it all sounded, the scene was difficult to assess. Hamilton had conquered the inside lane – in what was undoubtedly a very fast corner – and was therefore already in a promising attack position. And Verstappen could have prevented the momentous contact of the tires, he had enough space. In the end, the stewards saw Hamilton to be guilty, hence the ten-second penalty. In lap one, however, the Mercedes driver certainly did not behave in a way that was grossly unsportsmanlike for Red Bull.
Verstappen still has the better car
The other main character in this race, although he didn’t even complete a full lap. Verstappen’s anger was understandable, the dangerous impact in the tire wall was too severe, the loss of points against Hamilton too massive. At some point, however, such an accident must have happened, and it could have hit his opponent too. Race after race, both meet at eye level, give each other little gifts, for Formula 1 it’s a very interesting generational duel. Verstappen now leads the ranking with just eight points. On Sunday evening he gave the all-clear that he was feeling better. And he can comfort himself: The Dutchman still has the better car, and in just two weeks in Budapest he will be the favorite again.
Vettel throws away points
The forgotten participant of this race, and he did a lot for it himself. With a simple mistake in the beginning, Sebastian Vettel threw away a Grand Prix that started out promisingly. He was sixth, his Aston Martin was doing well, it could have been one of the best weekends of the season for the ex-world champion. Instead, he made sure that his new team continued to bob around in midfield. Maybe it’s good for Vettel that it got lost in all the excitement. After the race, he took time for the environment and cleaned up the grandstands at Silverstone.
For Mick Schumacher, the race ended in 18th place, behind his Haas rival Nikita Mazepin. Halfway through the race, the German fell behind his Russian colleagues and couldn’t get past him. In the team-internal duel that was only the second defeat in the tenth joint race. “We learn from it. And that is all hopefully in preparation for next year,” said Schumacher after the race, who admitted that he was “not satisfied” with his race. “I have to see what I could have done better now,” he said. “What we can do better as a team so that we don’t lose touch with the others. At the moment, that’s a little more important to me than trying to avoid driving around behind.”
Sprint debut only accessory
The forgotten premiere of this racing weekend. Nobody was really interested in the sprint on Sunday evening, and the short race had already generated mixed reactions on Saturday. Verstappen thought it was “funny” to conquer pole position in a 17-lap race, emotionally it is not comparable to chasing the fastest lap. For Vettel the sprint was “strange but not bad”. And Hamilton actually just liked the fact that there weren’t just two free practice sessions on Friday, as usual: Qualifying for the sprint race increased in the evening, so there was a real competition on each of the three days. The mode is still being tested this year in Monza and at an overseas race. Whether he really has a future remains to be seen.