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The 2020 British Grand Prix was a Formula 1.5 motor race held on 2 August 2020 at the Silverstone Circuit in Silverstone, United Kingdom. It was the fourth round of the 2020 World Championship. The event was the seventy-first running of the British Grand Prix as part of the World Championship since 1950. The race was the first of two consecutive Formula One races at Silverstone with the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix following a week later.

Background[]

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic[]

The opening rounds of the 2020 championship were heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Several Grands Prix were cancelled or postponed after the planned opening round in Australia was called off two days before the race was due to take place; prompting the FIA to draft a new calendar. The British Grand Prix was originally intended to be held on 19 July. When the calendar was redrafted following the pandemic the Hungarian Grand Prix and British Grand Prix had swapped dates with Hungary moving to 19 July and Silverstone taking the 2 August date, the originally planned date of the Hungarian race.

Although there had been doubts over whether Silverstone would be able to host Formula One races due to quarantine measures proposed by the British government; Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, said in a statement that he believed Formula One should be given an exemption. In the end, the British Government did give approval for Formula One to be held at Silverstone. Before the races took place Northamptonshire Police reiterated the importance of fans staying away from Silverstone for public health reasons during the two Grands Prix weekends, and warned that strict measures would be in place to stop unauthorised persons from entering the circuit.

The addition to the calendar of the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on 9 August, also at Silverstone, marked the first time in twenty-seven years the United Kingdom had hosted two Formula One races in the same season. The last season to have two British races in a season prior to this was the 1993 season, when Donington Park hosted the European Grand Prix and Silverstone hosted the British Grand Prix. It was later revealed that Silverstone offered to hold as many as 12 races in total during the season. Both the British Grand Prix and the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix were held behind closed doors.

Championship standings before the race[]

After the third round at the 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix, Lando Norris lead the championship by just 1 point over Sergio Perez, with Lance Stroll just 4 points further back. Defending Constructors' Champions McLaren lost the championship lead in Hungary, and now follow Racing Point by 4 points. Ferrari were 29 points further back in third place.

Enterants[]

The initial driver and team race entry list was identical to the season entry list with no additional stand-in drivers for practice or the race. However, this changed following a positive coronavirus test (which indicates the contraction of COVID-19) for Racing Point driver Sergio Pérez who was ruled out of the Grand Prix. He was replaced by Nico Hülkenberg.

Tyre Choices[]

Pirelli brought the C1, C2, C3 compound tyres for use in the race, the hardest three compounds available. However, the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, which was also held at Silverstone the following weekend, used the C2, C3 and C4 selection instead. This aimed to not only create strategic differences between the two races, but also to force the teams to fully make use of practice time on the second weekend, instead of relying on data from the previous week.

Practice[]

Racing Point's Lance Stroll set the fastest time of the first practice session on Friday, followed by the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc and Renault of Esteban Ocon. Nico Hülkenberg, in his first practice session on his return to the sport, set the fith fastest time. During the session, Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi spun at turn 13 and scattered gravel and tyre debris onto the track, causing the session to be red-flagged for 12 minutes whilst the track was cleared. He was investigated and later issued a warning by the race stewards for failing to safely return to the pit lane. Sebastian Vettel was unable to complete any timed laps after his Ferrari suffered an intercooler issue early in the session.

Stroll set the fastest time of the second Friday practice session, followed by the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc and McLaren of Carlos Sainz. This session was also red-flagged after F1 driver Albon spun at turn 15 and collided with the barriers. He was taken to the circuit's medical centre but was later declared fit. Vettel was again forced to miss practice time when a pedal issue restricted his running.

Stroll set the fastest time of Saturday morning practice, followed by Sainz and Leclerc. Vettel continued to suffer brake pedal problems which curtailed his running on Friday.

Qualifying[]

Q1 and Q2[]

Although there was a 60% chance of rain before qualifying, all three parts would prove to be dry. In Q1 (the first part of qualifying), Nicholas Latifi spun on his last lap, exiting the slow turn 7 (Luffield); his earlier time was only good enough for last place. His Williams teammate George Russell was investigated by the stewards for not slowing down under the consequent yellow flags - he received a five-place grid penalty. In the end, the five drivers eliminated in Q1 were Kevin Magnussen, Antonio Giovinazzi, Kimi Räikkönen, Romain Grosjean, and Latifi - as both Giovinazzi and Raikkonen failed to make it out of Q1, Alfa Romeo remained the only team to not reach Q2 (the second part of qualifying) in 2020.

Two different strategies were used in Q2, with both the Racing Points and one of the Ferraris – that of Charles Leclerc – trying to get into Q3 (the third part of qualifying) on the more race-suitable medium compound tyre, and the other teams using the soft compound due to the top ten qualifiers having to start on the tyre used in Q2. Not all those using the medium tyres succeeded in reaching Q3 - Racing Point's replacement driver Nico Hülkenberg both to do so. Lance Stroll in 10th and Pierre Gasly in 11th set the same time, but since Stroll set it first, the latter in his AlphaTauri was consigned to going out in Q2. At the end of the session, the drivers eliminated were Gasly, Albon, Hulkenberg, Daniil Kvyat, and Russell.

Q3[]

As the cars were being sent out, there was an incident in the pitlane between Leclerc, Stroll, and Daniel Ricciardo, with Stroll complaining that Ferrari had released their driver in an unsafe manner - the stewards, after investigating the matter, decided no further action was necessary. Leclerc took pole by over 3 tenths on Lando Norris.

Qualifying Classification[]

Qualifying position Car number Driver Constructor Qualifying times Final grid position
Q1 Q2 Q3
1 16 Monaco.png Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:26.550 1:26.203 1:25.427 1
2 4 Britain.png Lando Norris McLaren 1:26.855 1:26.420 1:25.782 2
3 18 Canada.png Lance Stroll Racing Point 1:26.243 1:26.501 1:25.839 3
4 55 Spain.png Carlos Sainz Jr McLaren 1:26.715 1:26.149 1:25.965 4
5 3 Australia.png Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:26.677 1:26.339 1:26.009 5
6 31 France.png Esteban Ocon Renault 1:26.396 1:26.252 1:26.209 6
7 5 Germany.png Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:26.469 1:26.455 1:26.339 7
8 10 France.png Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 1:26.343 1:26.501 N/A 8
9 27 Germany.png Nico Hulkenberg Racing Point 1:26.327 1:26.566 N/A 9
10 26 Russia.png Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri 1:26.774 1:26.744 N/A 15 [1]
11 63 Britain.png George Russell Williams 1:26.732 1:27.092 N/A 16 [2]
12 20 Denmark.png Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:27.158 N/A N/A 10
13 99 Italy.png Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 1:27.164 N/A N/A 11
14 7 Finland.png Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 1:27.366 N/A N/A 12
15 8 France.png Romain Grosjean Haas 1:27.643 N/A N/A 13
16 6 Canada.png Nicholas Latifi Williams 1:27.705 N/A N/A 14
107% time: 1.32.280

Race[]

Pre-Race Ceremonies[]

A 'fight against racism' ceremony was held on the track before the race. All of the drivers were out in formation directly in front of the grid, all displaying anti-racism messages on their t-shirts, and with some taking the knee and others standing, as video messages of their support for the anti-racism message were played.

Following the singing of the national anthem ("God Save The Queen"), there was a flyover by a Spitfire with the message "Thank you NHS" painted on the underside of its wings, and accompanied by applause from those present, in recognition of the work done by the UK's public health services in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.

Race Report[]

The Racing Point team was unable to start Nico Hülkenberg’s power unit in the garage, forcing him out of the race prior to the formation lap. This was determined to have been caused by a clutch bolt having sheared off in the drivetrain and, where the bolt jammed, the engine was prevented from turning over.

Early Laps[]

On the opening lap, Carlos Sainz Jr. and Daniel Ricciardo, starting fourth and fith respectively, both made up two places by passing Lando Norris and Lance Stroll. 10th-placed Kevin Magnussen hit a kerb at the inside of turn 17, running wide. F1 driver Alexander Albon then attempted to overtake Magnussen at turn 18, the two cars collided and Magnussen was sent through the gravel and into the barriers. He was uninjured and the safety car was deployed in order to recover his Haas.

On lap 12, 12th-placed Daniil Kvyat spun at turn 10 as a result of a right-rear tyre failure and crashed heavily into the barriers on the outside of turn 11. Kvyat walked away from the accident and the safety car was deployed whilst his car was recovered. All drivers except Grosjean made pit stops during the safety car period, allowing Grosjean to jump to 2nd place. The order of the top 5 was: Charles Leclerc, Grosjean, Sainz, Ricciardo and, Norris.

Mid Race[]

The second safety car period ended on lap 19. Shortly after the restart, Vettel fell back behind Ocon, and Norris passed Ricciardo. Grosjean was soon overtaken by both McLarens, and was shown the black-and-white flag for unsportsmanlike conduct after being judged to have defended too aggressively from Sainz. Antonio Giovinazzi was issued a five-second time penalty on lap 36 for speeding under safety car conditions. On the same lap, Grosjean fell to ninth place having been passed by Ricciardo and Stroll. He was again investigated for moving too aggressively whilst defending from Ricciardo, but no action was taken. He made his first pit stop at the end of the lap, falling to the back of the field. Ocon passed Stroll on lap 46.

Closing Laps[]

In the closing laps Sainz started complaining of poor visibility due to vibrations. Kimi Räikkönen, last of the running cars in 17th place, suffered a front wing failure on lap 48 and returned to the pits for a replacement. On the following lap, Gasly passed Stroll and Ricciardo overtook Norris. Second placed Sainz suffered a front-left tyre failure. He returned to the pits and eventually fell our of the points by the finish line. Leclerc won the race with Ricciardo overtaking Norris again on the final lap for 2nd place.

Post Race[]

On his lap 12 accident, Kvyat claimed that he was "very, very distract[ed]" as issues with his car required him to change settings on his steering wheel immediately prior to the crash. AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost suggested that Kvyat's accident may have been down to a tyre puncture.

The tyre failures near the end of the race were investigated by Pirelli (the tyre supplier) and the FIA (the governing body) after the race. The company stated that the tyre failures were generated by two different causes: firstly, the 'extremely long' stints the cars were running on the demanding Silverstone circuit; and secondly, the increased pace of the 2020 cars which maximised the forces on the tyres, with the most stress on the front-left.

Renault also protested the legality of the Racing Point RP20's brake ducts for a third race in succession. The protest was upheld with Racing Point being reprimanded but the team and drivers allowed to keep their results.

Race Classification[]

Position Car number Driver Constructor Laps completed Time/Retired Grid Points
1 16 Monaco.png Charles Leclerc Ferrari 52 1:28:19.757 1 25
2 3 Australia.png Daniel Ricciardo Renault 52 +1.176 5 19 [3]
3 4 Britain.png Lando Norris McLaren 52 +3.803 2 15
4 31 France.png Esteban Ocon Renault 52 +8.463 6 12
5 10 France.png Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 52 +12.174 6 10
6 18 Canada.png Lance Stroll Racing Point 52 +18.837 3 8
7 5 Germany.png Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 52 +23.405 7 6
8 63 Britain.png George Russell Williams 52 +33.350 16 4
9 55 Spain.png Carlos Sainz Jr McLaren 52 +34.896 4 2
10 99 Italy.png Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 52 +35.731 11 1
11 6 Canada.png Nicholas Latifi Williams 52 +36.075 14
12 8 France.png Romain Grosjean Haas 52 +36.576 13
13 7 Finland.png Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 52 +1 LAP 12
Ret 26 Russia.png Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri 11 Puncture/Accident 15
Ret 20 Denmark.png Kevin Magnussen Haas 1 Collision 10
DNS 27 Germany.png Nico Hulkenberg Racing Point 0 Clutch/Power unit -
Fastest lap: Australia.png Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) – 1:29.482 (lap 49)

Championship Standings after the race[]

Drivers' Championship standings
Change Position Driver Points
+/- 1 Britain.png Lando Norris 61
+3 2 Monaco.png Charles Leclerc 56
+/- 3 Canada.png Lance Stroll 49
-2 4 Mexico.png Sergio Pérez 45
+1 5 Australia.png Daniel Ricciardo 43
Constructors' Championship standings
Change Position Driver Points
+1 1 Britain.png McLaren 99
-1 2 Britain.png Racing Point 91
+/- 3 Italy.png Ferrari 84
+/- 4 France.png Renault 64
+/- 5 Italy.png AlphaTauri 33

External links[]

Last Race Current Race Next Race
Hungary Britain 70th Anniversary
  1. Daniil Kvyat received a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change.
  2. George Russell received a five-place grid penalty for failing to slow for double yellow flags.
  3. Includes 1 point for fastest lap
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