70th Anniversary Grand Prix – Qualifying


It’s the 70th Anniversary of the first championship Grand Prix in 1950 – the first one was at Silverstone (albeit a much simpler configuration) so it’s only right that we’re here again, just a week after the British Grand Prix.

Last weekend’s race ended dramatically with some front runners suffering punctures: BOT dropped from P2 to P11, SAI went from P5 to P13, but somehow HAM managed to hang onto P1 and took the win with VER hot on his heels.

Lots of news since then:

  • I added the immediately post-race updates as comments on my race notes
  • Bottas signs new Mercedes deal for 2021 (Just a one year contract) [BBC]
    Although “Mercedes & Formula 1 cannot agree contract to continue after 2020” [BBC]
  • PER tested positive for COVID-19 again, so he’s still in quarantine and HUL will stand in at Racing Point [FIA] [BBC]
    Hopefully HUL will actually manage to start the race this weekend
  • Mercedes to run Stirling Moss ‘horseshoe’ tribute on Bottas and Hamilton’s cars this weekend [FIA]
  • Racing Point have been deducted 15 world championship points and fined €400,000 after FIA stewards upheld Renault’s protest about the legality of the design of the team’s RP20 car [FIA] [BBC]
    ‘We did nothing wrong’ insists Szafnauer as Racing Point ponder brake duct appeal [FIA]
    FIA to amend 2021 regulations to prevent car copying, following Racing Point case [FIA]
    Racing Point confirm intention to appeal brake duct protest verdict [FIA] meanwhile “Ferrari, McLaren and Renault to appeal against stewards’ verdict in Racing Point case” [FIA]
  • Red Bull pair take new power unit elements for 70th Anniversary GP weekend [FIA]
    All of the changes are within the team’s allowance, however, meaning that there’ll be no penalties for Verstappen or Albon.

Free Practice:

  1. FP1: BOT (1:26.166), HAM, VER, HUL, LEC
  2. FP2: HAM (1:25.606), BOT, RIC, VER, STR
    VET’s Ferrari had more problems, dropping oil and then stopping on track
  3. FP3: HAM (1:26.621), BOT, NOR, HUL, STR
    Ferrari replaced VET’s engine unit after problems in FP2; they’ve replaced LEC’s too “as a precaution”

Qualifying:
Air temperature 26°C; track 43°C; zero chance of rain, but it is windy

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
MAG 1:28.798 including a small lock up
GRO 1:28.456
HUL 1:27.279 on softs – rest are on mediums
(NOR P2)
(VET P3)
(LEC P2)
HAM 1:27.241
BOT 1:27.125
VER 1:27.154
ALB runs a bit wide, kicks up some dust
Radio from VER – “It’s very windy out there”
Race control: incident involving OCO and RUS has been noted
Replay shows OCO completely blocking RUS’ quick lap
Radio from OCO realising he blocked RUS, “that wasn’t good – we’ll get penalised for that” – why didn’t his engineer warn him?
(VET only P13)
Incident involving OCO and RUS will be investigated after the session
HAM 1:26.818
5mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are ALB, MAG, RAI, GIO, LAT
HUL (P4) asking if he needs to go again; team think maybe, but in the end he stays in the garage
Chequered flag; bottom 5 are ALB, MAG, RAI, GIO, LAT
LAT P16
GIO P17
(NOR P4)
ALB P3; STR P16
MAG P16
STR P6; OCO P16
BOT 1:26.738
OCO P8, KVY P16 – KVY had just had his lap time deleted for exceeding track limits
Back of the grid: KVY, MAG, LAT, GIO, RAI

Qualifying session 2
Expect everyone to run medium tyres
Oh, VER is on hard tyres
GRO 1:28.750
OCO 1:27.292
HAM 1:26.266
BOT 1:25.785
(VER P3)
(RIC P3)
HUL runs wide at Chapel but keeps his foot in
7mins left of Q2; just LEC, VET and RUS yet to set a time
(VET P10)
(LEC P4)
RUS is on softs!
GAS also runs wide at Chapel – it’s a good thing that kerb is so low
5mins left; bottom 5 are VET, SAI, HUL, GRO, RUS
RUS P12
VET leaving the pits on new softs – if he gets into Q3 he’ll have to start the race on these tyres
Chequered flag; bottom 5 are VET, RUS, SAI, HUL, GRO
HUL P2, GAS P11 – yes, that’s P2 for HUL!
GAS P4, OCO P11
OCO P11
GRO P12
SAI P12
VET P12 on soft tyres – that’s terrible!
Middle of the grid: OCO*, VET, SAI, GRO, RUS*
*Reminder: Incident involving OCO and RUS will be investigated after the session

Radio from VET – “that’s all there is in this car” because obviously the problem is the car (which LEC put P8) not him

Qualifying session 2
Track temp has dropped 5°C since the start of Quali!
Top 10 shootout is between BOT, HUL, HAM, GAS, RIC, ALB, STR, LEC, VER & NOR
FIA app says RIC, ALB and VER are on mediums, the rest are on softs
NOR 1:27.250
HAM 1:25.284
GAS P3
RIC P3
BOT P2
HUL P4
VER P5
ALB P6
LEC P7
STR P8
Order after the first run: HAM, BOT, RIC, HUL, VER, ALB, LEC, STR, GAS, NOR
RIC (P3) is over 1sec behind HAM, but the Renault was on mediums and the Mercedes on softs
Radio for VER as he returns to the pits – “thoughts about tyres?” “Softs”
2m30s left of Q3; garages emptying for the final flying lap
HAM, BOT and RIC on mediums; rest are on softs
Chequered flag
HAM 1:25.217
BOT 1:25.154
NOR P7
GAS P10
HUL P3!
STR P5
ALB P9
VER P4
Front of the grid: BOT, HAM, HUL, VER, RIC, STR, GAS, LEC, ALB, NOR
HUL P3 – I hope they manage to start the car for the race tomorrow!

Interviews:
BOT: “Feels good, I love qualifying. I think set up wise, we made big steps from last weekend. Proud to drive this amazing car. Mentally when you start on pole you can only aim to win the race, I need a good start from the line and then go from there.”
HAM: “I wasn’t that great. For me it wasn’t a perfect last lap. I don’t think many people will be managing [tyres], I think it will be highly unlikely anyone will do a one-stop.”
HUL: “Crazy! Last week big highs to come back then the big low on Sunday. This week I felt more prepared. A big surprised to be standing here but a big smile on my face. The race is definitely going to hurt tomorrow but we’ll do what we can, I’ll try to learn fast.”

Provisional grid: BOT, HAM, HUL, VER, RIC, STR, GAS, LEC, ALB, NOR, OCO*, VET, SAI, GRO, RUS*, KVY, MAG, LAT, GIO, RAI
*Reminder: Incident involving OCO and RUS will be investigated after the session