Silverstone To Spain - F1 2020 Continues14 Aug
What we’ve learnt from Rounds 4 & 5 in the 2020 Formula One World Championship
It’s been a topsy-turvy time for Formula 1 in the last couple of weeks, with tyre mishaps, regulation breaches and some immense driving. It’s fair to say the British GP and the 70th Anniversary GP have not disappointed and now we turn our attention to Catalunya, to complete the latest triple-header at the Spanish Grand Prix. Here’s a look at the main talking points after rounds 4 & 5.
Mercedes domination in question?
Hamilton continues to roll on, with a near perfect qualifying and race at the British Grand Prix. The Mercedes man started to experience issues on the final lap, eventually puncturing a tyre and limping to the finish line to claim top spot. He’s still the man to beat – even a puncture couldn’t stop him from winning, and continues his form going into next weekend.
But, racing in August has clearly been of trouble to Mercedes, with both drivers suffering tyre punctures at the British Grand Prix. The team then struggled a week later with similar issues due to track temperatures. This is likely to continue at the Spanish Grand Prix, with temperatures expected to be in the mid-30s throughout. The high-energy track could again be the downfall of the Mercedes domination so the team will need have their wits about them to perform at the top end.
Vettel in strife
Vettel’s 2020 troubles continued at Silverstone, not just in terms of points finishes and overall speed. It’s also spilling over into his relationship with the team. The German seemed annoyed on the radio a couple of times at the weekends – going on to state that there was nothing else in the car and he was trying his best after being knocked out in Q2 on the Saturday.
This continued on Sunday as he spun out on the opening lap, then telling the team they had “messed up” after they released him into traffic after a pit stop. Mattia Binotto said the initial spin was more damaging than any of the strategic errors, signalling that it was the driver’s fault. Nonetheless, it’s clear that tension is beginning to rise at Ferrari and if it’s not sorted soon, they may well end up too far behind Mercedes and Red Bull.
Racing Point’s turbulent time
There’s also tension between a number of teams, after the decision was made regarding Racing Point’s brake ducts. The team breached regulations when designing the parts this season, as such were handed a 15-point fine. However, they are still allowed to use the ducts due to a technicality, which has clearly unsettled some of their rivals.
This has all came at a time when Sergio Perez tested positive for COVID-19, as such quarantined and unable to take part in any of the race weekends at Silverstone. His replacement, Nico Hulkenberg, has hit the racetrack running, outperforming Verstappen in Qualifying to finish 3rd on the same set of tyres and finishing 7th on the Sunday. Representing a great return in points for the Pink Panthers and the team will now be safe knowing that even their replacement driver is capable of performing in future weekends if required.
Verstappen could challenge Lewis
After Mercedes had dominated pretty much every part of the first three race weekends, it would have been pretty easy to write off Verstappen. Instead the Red Bull man came bitterly close to back-to-back 1st places at Silverstone, being only 10-15 seconds away from overtaking a 3-wheeled Hamilton at the British Grand Prix and then claiming the full honours a week later at the 70thAnniversary GP.
There’s still a long way to go in the season, but Red Bull and more specifically Verstappen have shown they are capable of challenging the Mercedes pair when the conditions are right. The big question is however, how often will we see the right conditions this season?