• Max Verstappen won the 70th Anniversary GP.
• Nico Hulkenberg adds his name to the winners' list.
• Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas are among the losers.
• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za
Formula 1 is celebrating its 70th year of existence in 2020. And since the first-ever race took place at Silverstone in 1950, it was only fitting that a race to commemorate 70 years of F1 took place at the very circuit.
In a Corona-hit season, the 2020 F1 calendar got shuffled up, and Silverstone hosted two races in succession, and the second, taking place between 7 - 9 August, would be called the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. Twenty drivers started the race, but, as always, some were luckier than others.
We look at the winners and losers from this past Sunday's race.
Verstappen and Red Bull seem to be the fly in Mercedes' ointment, and this past Sunday it was no different. Though the two Mercedes drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, got off to a good start, Verstappen got the better of them through a smart strategy.
His Red Bull team got the calls just right and would register their first win of the season after Mercedes had dominated the previous four races.
Following the race, Verstappen jumped up to second in the championship standings, 30 points behind Hamilton and four ahead of Bottas.
Now, I know what you're thinking: how can someone who finished the race in seventh place be regarded as a winner? Hulkenberg returned to F1 two weeks ago to stand in for a Covid-positive Sergio Perez. Before the race, however, his Racing Point failed to start, and The Hulk's return fell flat on its face.
This past weekend was a different one altogether for Hulkenberg. On Saturday, he qualified in third place and maintained a competitive edge in the race. Though the end-result is not as rosy as his qualifying position, it shed some light on what could have been if he were to be lucky enough to drive for a front-running team.
Ross Brawn also came out saying that if Hamilton did not sign with Mercedes in 2013, Hulkenberg would have been their second option. Damn, that's some ice-cold water. Regarding 2021, Hulkenberg is in talks with two teams regarding a possible drive.
No, Ferrari's fortunes did not improve, and it gets more evident by the day that the team will soon shift its focus to 2022 when the new regulations kick in. But for Leclerc, the youngster continues to impress for an ailing Ferrari team, and he did so again at the 70th Anniversary GP.
Leclerc could only muster an eighth-place after qualifying - a massive 1.5 seconds off Bottas' pole time. Few could have predicted that there will be anything to celebrate come Sunday, but Leclerc managed to turn the team's frown upside down by crossing the finish line in fourth place.
Want to know the really sad part of it all? Leclerc and Ferrari were elated at the result. Ferrari, happy with fourth. That should tell you how deep in trouble they are. Still, fourth is a good result considering the circumstances.
Are Vettel and Ferrari about to have a public splat? Ever since it was announced that the two parties would be separating ways at the end of 2020, Vettel has been struggling to get the maximum out of his race car. Poor qualifying and race results have been at the order of the day, and on Sunday, it was a case of the same.
Having started the race in 12th place, Vettel spun at the first corner and fell to the back of the grid.so began a fightback that would see him make it to the top ten, only to finish the race in the same position he had started it in.
To add further insult to injury, Vettel is finding it challenging to keep a lid on his feelings and have been quite vocal on whether Ferrari is deliberately giving him a bad car.
See Vettel's spin from Kevin Magnussen's perspective below:
How can someone who finished the race in third place be regarded as a loser? Simple. Mercedes-AMG F1 had a hard time being competitive on the tyres that were allocated for the race weekend.
Degradation and blisters were at the order of the day, and both Bottas and Hamilton failed to find any competitive advantage from it.
But during the race, Mercedes gave Hamilton the more favourable strategy and left Bottas to pick up the scraps - despite him starting the race in first place. Bottas was a sitting duck and wished the race to be over.
In the end, he now trails Hamilton by 34 points in the championship standings.