70th Anniversary Grand Prix LIVE: Verstappen leads as Hamilton forced to pit, Bottas 2nd | F1 | Sport

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70th Anniversary Grand Prix


70th Anniversary Grand Prix: Max Verstappen took the lead after Mercedes pitted their cars (Image: GETTY)

70th Anniversary Grand Prix LIVE

  • Lewis Hamilton leads after one pit stop
  • Max Verstappen second and Valtteri Bottas third
  • Racing Points set for two top-10 finishes
  • Sebastian Vettel fighting way through field after early spin

Lap 42: Hamilton comes back out of the pits in fourth. Verstappen leads from Bottas, with Leclerc running third.

Lap 41: Red Bull tell Verstappen to close the gap on Hamilton, who comes in for fresh tyres. They’re not going to risk it. Verstappen now first.

Lap 40: Hamilton is facing a 37-lap stint on these C2 tyres. That’s seven laps longer than Pirelli projected they could manage. Blimey.

Lap 39: Hamilton’s lead at the front stands at a little under 10 seconds. It’s risky if Mercedes are really running a one-stopper.

Lap 38: Gasly, Vettel and Sainz running closely in 11th, 12th and 13th respectively. A nice little battle is on the cards.

Lap 37: 15 laps to go here. Hamilton leads from Verstappen and Bottas. Leclerc, Hulkenberg, Stroll, Albon, Ocon, Norris and Kvyat round off the top 10.

Lap 36: Mercedes might be going for a one-stop strategy for Hamilton here, which would be a huge shock.

Lap 35: Hamilton raises doubts about Mercedes’ strategy here. He’s wondering if he should have pitted when he did. An eighth win at Silverstone is looking unlikely, despite the Brit leading as it stands.

Lap 34: Hamilton really not convinced his tyres have much left. We’ll see him in the pits again soon, which will open the door for Verstappen.

Lap 33: Verstappen and Bottas pit for fresh tyres as Hamilton takes the lead. Verstappen comes back out in second, with Bottas pursuing him closely.

Lap 32: Verstappen sets another fastest lap as he tries to build up the gap to Bottas. Hamilton runs third, Leclerc runs fourth.

Lap 31: “Forget the tyre management.” Red Bull tell Verstappen to put the hammer down. Sounds like he’s on a two-stopper. Ricciardo drops to 12th and out of the points after a spin.

Lap 30: Vettel fumes at Ferrari on team radio. He’s really not happy about the strategy they’ve put him on today. He’s down in 13th.

Lap 29: Hulkenberg and Stroll still running in fourth and fifth. Surely, Hulk will be back on the grid full-time next year?

Lap 28: Verstappen and Red Bull are in control of the destiny of this race. He’s streaking clear of Bottas now on the medium tyres.

Lap 27: Verstappen pits and loses the lead to Bottas. That was incredibly close as he came back onto the track just metres behind the Finn. But he re-takes the lead moments later.

70th Anniversary Grand Prix

70th Anniversary Grand Prix: Valtteri Bottas qualified on pole ahead of Lewis Hamilton (Image: GETTY)

Lap 26: Red Bull tell Verstappen to keep pushing as he opens up the gap to 18 seconds. These hard tyres are doing the business.

Lap 25: Mercedes had looked set for a straightforward afternoon here but those hopes have simply been blown away.

Lap 24: Bottas has serious worries about his rear tyres, while Hamilton is concerned about his right-front. Verstappen has time for a pit stop on Hamilton.

Lap 23: Verstappen extends his lead at the front as Bottas and Hamilton are forced to manage their rear tyres. This blistering will really worry the Mercedes garage.

Lap 22: Verstappen opens up the gap to second-place Bottas to almost 16 seconds. He might be on a one-stop strategy here, which would throw a cat among the pigeons.

Lap 21: Mercedes’ new tyres are already damaged – which is great news for leader Verstappen. Tyre degradation is through the roof at sunny Silverstone.

Lap 20: Leclerc and Norris are battling it out between Brooklands and Luffield. The Ferrari man gets through for 10th, but Norris isn’t making it easy. Vettel in ninth.

Lap 19: Stroll pits so Bottas moves up to second, with Hamilton running third. Sainz now fourth, with the Racing Points back in fifth and sixth after their respective pit stops.

Lap 18: Verstappen managing his tyres here. He’s trying to build up a gap before pitting but needs to be careful.

Lap 17: Third-place Bottas sets the fastest lap on his fresh tyres. Vettel takes his time to pass Grosjean to take 11th. He’s, sadly, getting used to these struggles.

Lap 16: Hulkenberg pits. Verstappen leads, Stroll second, with the two Mercedes running in third and fourth.

Lap 15: Hamilton pits for fresh tyres and passes the lead on to Verstappen. Bottas running in fourth. Hulkenberg and Stroll second and third respectively.

Lap 14: Hulkenberg now running in third after Bottas pits. It’s too early to bank on anything, but what odds he secures his first podium today?

70th Anniversary Grand Prix

70th Anniversary Grand Prix: All 20 drivers united in a protest against racism (Image: GETTY)

Lap 13: Bottas pits for fresh tyres. Mercedes leave Hamilton out to fend off Verstappen.

Lap 12: Verstappen seems to have ignored that instruction and is really pushing to pass Hamilton. He’s within DRS range but can’t take him on the Hanger Straight. Hamilton says his rear tyres are “finished”.

Lap 11: Verstappen gets told to back off from the Mercedes on Red Bull team radio. They’re getting worried about tyre temperatures. He’s not happy.

Lap 10: Bottas, Hamilton, Verstappen, Hulkenberg, Stroll, Ricciardo, Norris, Leclerc, Sainz and Ocon fill the points positions. Vettel now running 13th.

Lap 9: Verstappen is keeping Mercedes honest here. Closing the gap by a couple of tenths a lap. Some more early pit stops here for Williams and Haas.

Lap 8: Vettel now up to 15th thanks to those pit stops and after passing Giovinazzi. Russell in his sights. Mercedes have some concerns about Bottas’ tyres. Watch this space.

Lap 7: Albon comes in for an extraordinarily early pit stop, which sparks Gasly into doing the same. This is an interesting strategy call.

Lap 6: Latifi brings up the rear for Williams, with Raikkonen just ahead of him. Vettel now up to 18th after that horror start.

Lap 5: Racing Point’s Hulkenberg anmd Stroll have held on to fourth and fifth here. Ricciardo now sixth, with Gasly, Norris, Albon and Leclerc completing the top 10.

Lap 4: We’ve got a carbon copy of last year’s British Grand Prix on our hands. Hamilton is pushing Bottas hard. Can he manage his tyres better this time around?

Lap 3: Hamilton closes the gap on Bottas and can make use of DRS, but it’s not quite enough. Replays show Vettel was fortunate not to hit any other cars as he spun on Turn One.

Lap 2: Vettel is running down in last place here. He spun off the track on Lap 1 and counted the cost straight away. Bottas is a second clear of Hamilton at the front.

Lap 1: Bottas and Hamilton start well as Verstappen passes Hulkenberg straight away. Stroll is already up to fifth, just behind Hulkenberg. Hamilton is just a car-length behind Hamilton. Vettel has dropped right down the field.

LIGHTS OUT AND AWAY WE GO!

2.12pm: Bottas leads the grid through the formation lap.

2.09pm: The formation lap is seconds away and, before we know it, it’ll be lights out!

2.05pm: We’re just five minutes away from the start of today’s race. Here’s a reminder of the starting grid at Silverstone:

1) Valtteri Bottas 2) Lewis Hamilton 3) Nico Hulkenberg 4) Max Verstappen 5) Daniel Ricciardo 6) Lance Stroll 7) Pierre Gasly 8) Charles Leclerc 9) Alex Albon 10) Lando Norris 11) Sebastian Vettel 12) Carlos Sainz 13) Romain Grosjean 14) Esteban Ocon 15) George Russell16) Daniil Kvyat 17) Kevin Magnussen 18) Nicholas Latifi 19) Antonio Giovinazzi 20) Kimi Raikkonen

2pm: Bottas was on pole for last year’s British Grand Prix and ended up surrendering the win to Hamilton. Are we in for a repeat of that at Silverstone today? Or can the Finn fend off his team-mate to give his title hopes a boost?

30 points separate Bottas from Hamilton at present and we all know what tends to happen when the Brit gets his nose in front. He’s got the added incentive of matching Michael Schumacher’s haul of seven championships – as if he needed any more motivation.

10 minutes to go!

1.58pm: Let’s hope for a clean start for Hulkenberg today. He’s not raced other cars since last November’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which was his last meet with Renault.

“I’m just trying to go out there, have some fun and enjoy it as much as I can,” said Hulkenberg. “No machine in the world can simulate these g-forces and vibrations. It is what it is but I’m going to be in for a tough afternoon.”

1.53pm: It’s time for the national anthem of the United Kingdom following the united stand against racism. The anticipation is steadily building. Who are you backing today?

1.50pm: Drivers are starting to congregate on the grid as they get set to protest against racism. Magnussen joined Verstappen, Leclerc, Raikkonen, Sainz, Kvyat and Giovinazzi in standing last week as the rest of the field took a knee.

Hamilton believes action is now required to make changes in the world, rather than mere words. “I want to just encourage people to speak out, bring it up and start a conversation about things that perhaps are uncomfortable,” Hamilton said. “We are in a time where we can’t just keep talking about it, we need to start putting things in place.”

Just 20 minutes to go until today’s race starts!

70th Anniversary Grand Prix

70th Anniversary Grand Prix: Alex Albon qualified in ninth for the Silverstone race (Image: GETTY)

1.45pm: Red Bull’s Albon starts inside the top 10 today for the first time in three races and the pressure is on as doubts are raised over his future with the team. The Thai-Brit driver enjoyed a strong second-half of the 2019 campaign after replacing Gasly.

However, he’s not close enough to Verstappen for senior figures’ liking and needs to step up – starting at Silverstone. He missed out on a couple of potential podium-finishes in Brazil and Austria and must put any lingering disappointment behind him.

Gasly, meanwhile, is thriving at AlphaTauri and starts today’s race from seventh – nine places better off than team-mate Kvyat. He’ll be eager to get a jump on the cars ahead of him when the action gets underway.

1.40pm: Hulkenberg has been backed to re-take a permanent seat in F1 by rival Verstappen. The former Renault man is currently sitting in for Sergio Perez after the Racing Point star again tested positive for coronavirus this week.

“Nico did an amazing job in qualifying,” said Verstappen said. “[Racing Point] did a very good job over the winter, but I really hope that this will help Nico find a seat for next year, because he definitely deserves to be in F1.

“There are definitely a few drivers who are not as good as him at the moment, and they are in F1. It’s a hopefully a great boost for him I mean. Firstly today I was not very happy with how qualifying worked out for us. But I was very happy for Nico being third.”

There’s now just half an hour to go until F1’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix gets underway!

1.35pm: Is Mercedes’ dominance ruining F1? Absolutely not, says 1995 British Grand Prix winner Herbert.

“They’ve not won every single race since we’ve had in this hybrid F1 era,” Herbert told Express Sport. “Have others got close like Sebastian [Vettel] did, a couple of years ago? They didn’t quite achieve it. Now, that was down to Sebastian and Ferrari making a few mistakes, which impeded their chance of winning that championship. That wasn’t Mercedes’ fault. They kept the pressure on. That pressure is something [Mercedes] have been able to absorb. All those ingredients make it more impressive.

“Lewis [Hamilton] is still brilliant, he pushes the car to the limit, doesn’t matter whether he’s under pressure or not, he will always do the fantastic qualifying lap and then the brilliantly controlled race. That is what the special, elite drivers like Lewis, Sebastian, Nigel [Mansell], [Ayrton] Senna, [Alain] Prost, [Nelson] Piquet, [Emerson] Fittipaldi, [Niki] Lauda do. They’re the ones that always get the best out of the car.

“We’re still seeing that with Lewis. He doesn’t give it 80 per cent and that’s enough. It’s not enough for him. He still wants perfection and we’re still watching close to perfection. That excites me. I still have that wow factor when I watch the on-board with him. The others have got to get it together. You might say: ‘They’re dominating it and that’s not good’. But it’s impressive.”

1.30pm: Here’s your 40-minute warning! Not long now until lights out at Silverstone.

1.25pm: Red Bull team principal Christian Horner thinks we’re in for a stormer at Silverstone. Horner said: “With the hotter temperatures, softer compounds and varying strategies, the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix promises to be one to watch.”

Verstappen, meanwhile, is targeting a top-three finish having come second at the same circuit last week. “I hope the start is going to be clean and from there onwards I think we can still have a good race,” said Verstappen. “The goal is still to be on the podium.”

1.20pm: Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies has vowed the team will get behind Sebastian Vettel following the German’s tough start to the season. “I think it’s our duty now trying to do anything we can to support him, and to make sure that we convert the better car thing into lap time, because he’s a massive asset for the team and he’s not an asset that we can leave behind,” said Mekies. “And therefore we are together with him on that search for that missing batch of lap time that we are after.

“I think as he expressed last week he was very uncomfortable with the car, and you know from experience as soon as one is losing the confidence in the car it’s very hard to have the lap time disappear. Nonetheless he kept the right spirit, and with his group they looked at many different ways to set up the car. We somehow arrived at something he was much happier with in terms of balance, but he didn’t unlock the lap time we’re after, and that’s the concern that we now have to analyse and to try to unlock.”

70th Anniversary Grand Prix

70th Anniversary Grand Prix: Valtteri Bottas was six thousandths of a second faster in qualifying (Image: GETTY)

1.15pm: Hamilton was not best-pleased about being pipped to pole by team-mate Bottas yesterday and insisted he’ll do everything within his power to ensure he can win. The F1 champion is targeting a record-equalling eighth victory of his career at Silverstone having previously won eight times at the Hungaroring

“It’s not easy to follow on this track, but I’m hoping that the softer tyres and hot temperatures will create some opportunities tomorrow – it should be exciting,” said Hamilton. “We’ll work hard tonight to see where we can improve and you know I will be giving it everything to try and beat Valtteri tomorrow.”

1.10pm: Much of the focus ahead of today’s race has been on the penalties handed to Racing Point after the FIA deemed them to have copied Mercedes’ brake ducts from last year. Racing Point chief Lawrence Stroll has now revealed he is “extremely angry” about the decision, which has seen his team fined £355,000 (€400,000) and lose 15 of their constructors’ points.

“I have never cheated at anything in my life,” said Stroll. “These accusations are completely unacceptable and not true. My integrity – and that of my team – are beyond question. Everyone at Racing Point was shocked and disappointed by the FIA ruling and firmly maintain our innocence.

“This team, under various names, has competed in Formula 1 for over 30 years and today employs 500 people. We’ve always been a constructor and will continue to be so in the future. Throughout those 30 years, this team has been an underdog, punching well above its weight with a fantastic group of people. Between 2016 and 2018, this was the fourth best team on the grid, operating on the smallest budget, and scoring regular podiums.

“Emerging from administration, with stability and fresh investment, this team’s competitive form should not be a surprise to anybody. The team can finally realise its potential and should be celebrated for its strong performance.”

You can read Stroll’s statement in full RIGHT HERE.

1.05pm: Bottas and co. will go racing at Silverstone for the second week in succession after the circuit last week hosted the British Grand Prix. There was talk that they could the opposite way round the track this week but former F1 driver Johnny Herbert says it just wouldn’t work.

“There was talk about doing it backwards but you can’t do that for a very simple reason – because all the openings you have in the barriers for the marshals, to drag a car maybe through that gap, would be facing the wrong way,” Herbert told Express Sport. “So, if you went off, you’d actually fire yourself down that gap. That’s something that probably wouldn’t happen, but that’s not reality sometimes. Sometimes those things happen.

“It doesn’t work because of the way tracks are designed. The safety of the run-off areas and gravel traps would be in the wrong place. If you went through Stowe, for example, backwards there is no gravel on the exit. There’d be grass and a barrier. There are other track options, but you can only make the track shorter. From when I’ve driven on it in an F1 car, it’s a great track. So I don’t see any reason to change it.

“It worked in Austria for Race 1 and Race 2. There was a bit of a swap around [among the drivers]. That’s what we want sometimes. We want that sort of unpredictable weekend to come our way and there’s no reason why we can’t have it at Silverstone. The track is one the drivers love, it’s brilliantly challenging, it’s fast. I wouldn’t want to change it.”

1pm: Alfa Romeo cars occupied the front four grid positions for the first Grand Prix at Silverstone back in 1950. 70 years on and they’re facing having to fight up from the back after Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen struggled yet again yesterday.

Haas’ Kevin Magnussen – who suffered an early retirement last week – and Williams’ Nicholas Latifi occupy the penultimate row. Daniil Kvyat starts from 16th after being edged out in Q1 by Latifi’s team-mate George Russell on Saturday.

Like Vettel, Carlos Sainz and Romain Grosjean will start a place higher than they qualified following Ocon’s penalty. Yesterday was the first time this season that McLaren failed to get both of their cars into Q3 together this season.

Get yourself strapped in for what’s sure to be an exhilarating race, with incredible battles poised to unfold throughout the field.

12.45pm: Good afternoon and welcome to Express Sport‘s live coverage as Silverstone plays host to F1‘s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix! The stage is set for a thriller befitting the celebration of seven decades of racing at the elite level of motorsport.

Valtteri Bottas starts on pole after qualifying just six hundredths of a second faster than team-mate Lewis Hamilton. There’s a 30-point gulf between the Mercedes drivers in the standings and the Finn will be desperate to close that today.

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Nico Hulkenberg proved he’s still got it yesterday as he rocketed his Racing Point into third on the grid. Max Verstappen, meanwhile, qualified fourth on hard tyres and Red Bull will be hoping that strategy pays dividends as the race progresses.

Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll, Pierre Gasly, Charles Leclerc, Alex Albon and Lando Norris round off the top 10 on the starting grid. Sebastian Vettel is just on the cusp of it having been bumped up a place following Esteban Ocon’s three-place grid penalty.

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