Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen, Silverstone, 2019

2019 British Grand Prix Star Performers

2019 British Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton were RaceFans’ Star Performers of the British Grand Prix. Here’s why.

Stars

Charles Leclerc

If Silverstone showed the standard of racing we can expect between Leclerc and his former karting rival Max Verstappen, then the future of F1 is very bright indeed. If Leclerc looked a little delicate in his handling of Verstappen in Austria, there was none of that at Silverstone, where the pair went at it with gusto.

Leclerc kept his nerve despite Ferrari, again, letting him down. He fell behind Verstappen when they pitted together at the end the first stint, but re-passed him with a superb, opportunistic lunge at Village. The team was outmanoeuvred at the next round of pit stops too, but Leclerc was dogged in pursuit of the podium finish he eventually got.

Max Verstappen

It was hard to argue Verstappen didn’t deserve a place on the rostrum. After a tricky Friday he qualified strong on the second row and took the fight to Leclerc in fine style during the race. Losing the position his team won him in the very pits was very un-Verstappen, but third place would have been his if it hadn’t been for Sebastian Vettel’s clumsy driving.

Lewis Hamilton

Although his team mate beat him to pole position, it was by a tiny fraction – just six-thousandths of a second. Hamilton was pleased with his race set-up and was in peerless form on Sunday, putting Valtteri Bottas under huge pressure.

Would he have won the race without the Safety Car? Almost certainly. He was that much quicker than Bottas, and had no need for a second pit stop. It would have been far more satisfying to see him win it that way, but that isn’t how the race panned out.

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Strugglers

Sebastian Vettel

Vettel continued his recent slump against Leclerc in qualifying, ending up six-tenths off his team mate and behind both Red Bulls.

the race started out more promisingly. He did a fine job stretching out his soft tyres and cashed in when the Safety Car appeared. But the collision with Verstappen was just woeful.

Romain Grosjean

Both Haas drivers deserved their knuckles rapped for adding to Haas’s problems at Silverstone. But Grosjean erred twice: not just the unnecessary and race-ending first-lap tangle with Kevin Magnussen, but his unfathomable spin into the pit wall on Friday morning when he was supposed to be testing Haas’s ‘downgraded’ VF-19.

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And the rest

Bottas’s questionable strategy was more the undoing of his race than the Safety Car; it’s hard to imagine he would have caught and passed Hamilton after his second pit stop given how strong Hamilton’s hard-tyre pace was.

Pierre Gasly had his best weekend so far for Red Bull: quick throughout practice, not far off Verstappen in qualifying and able to pick up the pieces in the race. He was a bit slow to heed the team’s call to let Verstappen pass him, however.

Lando Norris showed more verve at the start, passing Daniel Ricciardo, but his race was spoiled by the appearance of the Safety Car and a puzzling second pit stop. Carlos Sainz Jnr picked up the pieces, aided by the Safety Car timing, and despite failing to join his team mate in Q3.

Renault’s focus on Ricciardo helped him to seventh place but inadvertently hindered Nico Hulkenberg, who collected the final point for 10th. Kimi Raikkonen and Daniil Kvyat separated them at the flag, the latter recovering well having gone out in Q1. His team mate’s strategy was ruined by an unusual technical problem which prevented his team from being able to change his tyres.

Racing Point crossed the road back to their nearby factory with no points: Sergio Perez was caught out by the Safety Car and was stuck in the wrong brake map, which led him to hit Hulkenberg. Lance Stroll went out in Q1 again and came home 13th ahead of the Williams pair. Robert Kubica had a decent run but still followed George Russell home.

Antonio Giovinazzi blamed a technical problem for his spin into the gravel which prompted the Safety Car, while Magnussen joined Grosjean in retiring a few laps after the start following their collision.

Over to you

Vote for the driver who impressed you most last weekend and find out whether other RaceFans share your view here:

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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43 comments on “2019 British Grand Prix Star Performers”

  1. Stars: HAM, LEC, GAS, VER, SAI, RAI, and KVY.
    Strugglers: BOT, VET, Renault, and NOR.

    1. I don’t see how the polesitter and second place finisher could be a struggler…

      1. Bot rooted his tyres in clear air when Ham kept his in good condition despite being in dirty air within the DRS sub one second zone. Ham was able to do a quicker time on 32-lap old hard tyres that Bot managed on much fresher soft tyres.

        Ham out- delivered Bot in an identical car.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          18th July 2019, 14:31

          @gnosticbrian

          So just because Hamilton clearly did better in your opinion, should it be the case that one had an outstanding weekend, and the other a poor. Hamilton was better, but not by a margin or a star performer vs a struggler surely?

          1. Please don’t put words in my mouth.

            It is not a matter of opinion that Ham did better in the race – that is an established fact.

            My opinion is that Ham set up his car for race performance [in my opinion he planned a one stop all along]; that Bot chose all out qualy set up. The result is that in the race Bot ‘struggled’ [if you prefer that word] with tyre management. The ‘struggle’ was largely down to his choice of set up.

            Just my opinion. I will lose no sleep if others take a different view.

          2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            18th July 2019, 16:28

            Yea fair enough if we disagree then. Sorry for taking it as far as i did.

    2. In what world would Norris be a struggler here.

      He qualified excellently, outpaced his teammate but was screwed by strategy and a bad safety car timing.

      Struggler implies the driver did bad, not the team around him! Norris did great for his first home race, shame circumstances didn’t agree/

  2. What does RAI need to do to be a start? He is regularly punching above Alfa’s weight.

    1. Keith hates Kimi. Hence the lack of approval

      1. Funny, Keith does not right up the star performers and strugglers articles

      2. Oh boy, i stand corrected, he did with this one !

        1. He’s probably a bit harsh indeed on raikkonen but gave him austin 2018 I believe, not monza.

  3. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    18th July 2019, 14:29

    I agree with Verstappen and Leclerc being a star performer and with Vettel being a Struggler. But would remove Hamilton and replace Grosjean with Perez.

    Hamilton may have been close to Bottas in qualifying, but he made a mistake and didn’t get pole. He had more pace than Bottas, no doubt. But he failed to get past in the first stint and Bottas put up a real fight. Hamilton didn’t build up a gap when Bottas pitted to pull out in front when he himself pitted. Without the safety car that is. This did help hamilton win by a larger margin allowed him to show more of his speed. Due to the fact Bottas made no errors this weekend, It is almost certain he will have been able to keep Hamilton behind him in the 2nd stint too. And also, this likely will have worn Hamilton’s tyres enough so that he won’t have been able to be quick enough to set fastest lap at the end. But Hamilton still will have won. But he didn’t do any impressive overtake this race. His only stand out moment was his decision on strategy and tyre management.
    I don’t think he did enough to be worthy of a star performer this weekend. Especially given Bottas out qualified him and will have been ahead of him the vast majority of the race if not for the safety car.

    I don’t know why Grosjean should get put down as a struggler. Practice shouldn’t really count towards being a struggler for the weekend. Plenty of times Verstappen or Hamilton have crashed in practice and then gone on to be a star performer for the weekend. This was a silly mistake by Grosjean, but if anything, it showed the team that their old speck wing is better. However, I don’t want to make it sound like I’m giving credit to Grosjean for this. But however, he did get through to Q2, which is actually quite impressive compared to what Magnussen did. In the race, any sort of incident seems to be automatically against Grosjean these days. Magnussen went to the outside of Grosjean and drove onto the kerb. I don’t see why Grosjean will have expected such a risky move from a team mate. I blame magnussen for this easily. The speed advantage magnussen had as he came out of that corner was easily enough to get by Grosjean at the end of the straight anyway. It was pointless doing what he did.
    Neither were good this weekend, but I think the reasoning for Grosjean being a struggler isn’t that good really. Mangnussen looked as bad or worse if you just base it on qualifying and race day.

    How can Perez not be a struggler? I am reading he had some issues related to the safety car… But he did attempt a lunge that just looked like a normal lock up and misjudgement. I haven’t yet seen any article mentioning Perez’s issues. But after that contact, he finished 10 seconds behind a williams and 45 behind Stroll. Surely they would have retired his car if he had a problem. I think he just misjudged the move and had no pace after that. Anyway, Stroll looked as quick or quicker than him at the start of the race. Perez was slowly falling back from Sainz lap after lap. Stroll was in DRS range of Kimi, while Kimi had DRS on Perez. Even after pitting, Stroll looked to catch up with Perez before his crash. Peres to me looked poor this race. Even in qualifying he only got through to Q2 by 0.013 seconds. And Stroll was only a tenth of a second further than this behind him.

    1. Hamilton didn’t need to build a gap after Bottas’s pit.
      He was going for a one stopper alreday.

      And he was on worn tyres against Bottas’s brand new ones. It is too much to want him to open a gap on this conditions. We are not on the refuelling era and Bridgestone tyres, when this used to work, anymore.

    2. Probably did the lap of the season on the final go around and harassed the leading car in a way we just havent seen without a huge tyre or performance defecit all while keeping his rubber in much better nick and you wanna deny that’s impressive… take your essays elsewhere.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        18th July 2019, 16:34

        Well here is my opinion. Tyre management on race day is what makes a racing driver one of the most impressive drivers over the weekend….? No successful overtakes. It wasn’t exactly racing. That is what I personally think is a bit of a stretch. We saw a mistake from him in qualifying and the 1 overtake he did wasn’t a successful one. Bottas’s defending constantly was excellent and the way he retook the lead was too. Hamilton will have got ahead due to the way he managed his tyres (which was excellent) But he intact got ahead by the safety car far earlier.

        I won’t deny he was impressive, but as I said, I thought it was only his management that was. And I don’t think that is enough to justify him as a star performer really.

        1. Given your exacting standards that doesn’t allow the winner and guy who set the fastest lap of the race (a lap that even the top minds at Mercedes can’t explain) to make the list of star performers; lets look at Max with the same standard set. Finished lower down then when he started because he doesn’t know how to keep out of trouble; throws away a place that the team bent over backwards to give him during the pit stop because he decides to take the long way round a corner for no particular reason; and gets pushed off the track by Leclerc like he’s a novice at the kart track.
          I see the errors that Max made during qually are totally ignored; in the same way that you ignore Hamiltons fastest lap in Q3. You would think if you wanted to highlight Hamilton’s slowest Q3 lap, you would have compared them to the other Q3 drivers slowest laps. Double standards?
          Still on the plus side I see Max just managed to beat his teammate in qually and the race.

          1. Hey Ian….
            Do you actually realise it was Vettel bumping back Verstappen which made him finish lower than started…..after 29 races finishing equal or better than started…?

            Max may not know to keep out of trouble… ehm, name one driver who (ever) did a streak of not finishing lower than started over 29 consequtive races.

            For all I care you could have wrote down, ‘don’t like Verstappen’ cause that’s what you’re trying to say, your motivation though is way, way off.

          2. Hey Matn, Read it again. I was applying hogweeds ‘standards’ to the issue. I could have added pushed wide by Leclerc twice; or even added ‘at least Hamilton passed Bottas on his superior strategy and speed. Unlike Max he didn’t need team orders to get his teammate out the way.’

            Now if you want to know my opinion. Man of the match-Leclerc. Star performers -Max and Lewis.

        2. Bottas’s defending constantly was excellent

          Bottas destroyed his tyres guaranteeing that he would have to 2 stop and lose the race with that defending so to call it excellent is a massive stretch.

      2. @thegianthogweed

        Hamilton didn’t build up a gap when Bottas pitted to pull out in front when he himself pitted.

        Hamilton’s race strategy was to go longer on the first set of mediums and then the hard tyre, so he wasn’t looking to set one or two rapid laps and then pit. He pitted because of the SC.

        But he didn’t do any impressive overtake this race.

        Except he did, only Bottas recaptured – in large part because Hamilton decided not to defend aggressively. I agree with RB13, his pressing of Bottas at the start was something we haven’t seen for ages at the front between team mates with equal setups, and it ate into Bottas’s tyres more than his own. For me worthy of a star performance along with Leclerc and Verstappen, the three drivers who made the race so good.

    3. @thegianthogweed Hamilton utterly crushed Bottas. He was just as fast (if not faster) over the whole stint on hard tyres vs medium tyre while Bottas was supposed to be a lot faster since he was going to stop once more. The again Hamilton was faster on worn hard tyres vs Bottas on newish soft tyres.

      Bottas went for a Q3 strategy and got pole. By a tiny margin even. Hamilton went for a race setup and blew Bottas away on race day.

      So yes Hamilton being only 6 milliseconds behind a guy who set up his car for Q3 only, makes Hamilton better for the weekend

    4. Someone get hog weed man a drive at Ferrari… comments like that show he belongs with the best!

  4. Sainz did a superb race to take p6… in fact I think any driver who takes best of the rest deserves a star performer shout out

    Giovinazzi a struggler from that amateur mistake. I love how they vaguely labeled at as a technical problem, other drivers and teams should take note.

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      18th July 2019, 15:56

      Giovinazzi was punted by Ericsson. Why did anyone see it?

    2. Ipsom, that is inevitably one of the risks of a system such as this though – the potential that a driver is given the award due to their prominence, or equally that a driver is perhaps judged overly harshly, when there might have been those lower down the grid who either put in either a performance that was well above what they might be expected to do, but were mostly ignored by the cameras in favour of the bigger names and therefore overlooked, or equally struggled around near the back than a bigger name driver, but are equally overlooked.

      As others have noted, whilst Grosjean might have been criticised for hitting Magnussen, it has been pointed out that Magnussen was not having a great weekend himself – outqualified by Grosjean, and some have suggested that Magnussen was not without fault for the collision with Grosjean either, given that his move was on the optimistic side and given that he did also come close to colliding with Grosjean himself only moments earlier (having locked up whilst trying to lunge down the inside of Grosjean at the Village corner).

      Equally, Sainz Jr does deserve credit for his recovery drive, even if it was assisted fairly heavily by the safety car – nevertheless, he had to fend off Ricciardo in the closing laps – and similarly Kvyat also managed to make up quite a few places during the race, and was close enough to pressure Kimi in the closing laps as well. I do think that there were some decent performances further down the field that have only got a passing mention, when perhaps they were better than some of the bigger names in the field – similarly, some other drivers were perhaps underperforming themselves, but as their moments were not as dramatic as others, their failings were overlooked.

  5. To me, Verstappen was actually a struggler oddly enough. The fighting was great to watch but VER didn’t actually succeed.

    He tried but failed to get passed Leclerc on track. His team then did his job for him by getting him passed Charles in the pits, but he makes a mistake and loses the position again… Then he gets in front of Leclerc off-track again, this time with help from Ferrari pitting Leclerc too late during the Safety-Car period, only to be punted off from behind by Vettel (not VER’s fault obviously).

    1. @jeffreyj I agree that it was surprising that Verstappen didn’t get past Leclerc and probably should have. Obviously that was mitigated by the Ferrari being fastest in a straight line, and some really borderline (in the past!) defending from Leclerc, and Silverstone not really having a ‘late breaking’ overtaking corner, but even so he should have gotten past based on speed. Then made the error. Not really a star turn.

      His pace was phenomenal though. And if you have to anoint three ‘star performers’, as Keith does, then he was still in the top three best performing drivers.

      1. @hahostolze Yes that was very Verstappen unlike, but he needed to find an as good as possible exit out of T4 and then lost the grip and went wide. Wouldn’t Leclerc’s Ferrari be that good on the straights and on traction, things would have been probably different.

    2. If you see VER as a stuggler after this master piece with Leclerc, you dont understand what racing is. Only a few can make this racing happen. Some people just don’t understand this.

    3. @jeffreyj

      Lewis was outqualified by- and failed to pass Bottas…struggler?

      1. No because Hamilton won the race, whilst Verstappen finished 5th behind his teammate.
        It wasn’t his fault, sure… tough luck.

        I do agree ‘struggler’ might be a bit harsh but failing to pass Leclerc (although in spectacular fashion) and then losing a position on track to that same Leclerc isn’t enough to make you a ‘star performer’ in my book. Maybe ‘others’ would have been a better qualification.

        1. Sure Hamilton won the race, but the guy is driving a Mercedes Benz.

        2. (@jeffreyj
          If that makes you sleep better, whatever dude, but anyone here knows it has nothing to do with his performance and all to do with your disliking of Verstappen. He could have started last, finished first and you’d still find a reason for him not a star performer.
          Claiming there are “reasons” for you not ranking him as a star performer is beyond laughable, and if you ask me, borderline childish.

          1. @jeffreyj
            And btw, Leclerc falling behind Verstappen…tough luck maybe?

    4. By that standards each driver attacking another driver must get in a succesfull move or else is struggler, by that theory Lewis is a struggles just as well…he got in front of Bottas down to strategy…same goes for Verstappen versus Leclerc.

      Anyone noticed the fight between Ver/Lec was interupted by a safety car… their fight was far from over and there really was no rush as tha race was only 19 laps old. On the soft tyres Leclerc obviously had an advantage and the Ferrari is still mighty fast on the straights….. and they need to attack at the end of those straights.

      Verstappen would have taken the fight to Bottas with a realistic shot at P2 if Vettel wouldn;t have ruined it, to label him a struggler is ignoring what’s F1 is about…racing.

  6. If Vettel keeps it up you will have to give hum a honorary place

    Although I’ve heard that Ferrari will have a digger at the German GP to excavate the real Vettel that is still under the gravel over there

    1. it’s a conspiracy @johnmilk, a conspiracy i tell you! Vettel was killed on impact and it is all being covered up by jean and his Ferrari friends to protect the reputation of the halo aka todt-thong. Badoer has been doubling as Vettel ever since! it all makes perfect sense!!!

      1. adoer has been doubling as Vettel

        @mrboerns oh fu… that makes perfect sense

        1. Although he still seems a little too fast to be badoer!

  7. HAM won the race after attending the Mercedes team meeting in the morning. Mercedes strategy was that the first place car would go with a 2 stop strategy. The 2nd place car could use the same strategy or an alternative strategy. HAM did pass BOT early in the race but BOT “won” the position back. As the 1st place Mercedes, BOT had to follow the 2 stop strategy whilst HAM in 2nd could switch strategy which he did.
    The haters have HAM only winning because of the safety car but have LEC being top driver because of his driving. On tv it looked like LEC was 5th before his teammate went Prince Philip on the car in front of him which gifted LEC 3rd place.

  8. Why isn’t George Russell getting the semi-gold Star? His Williams finished ahead of Vettel’s Ferrari! We don’t to wait until 2021 for the performance gap to close. Parity is just a too-late braking moment away.

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