Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2020

2020 British Grand Prix Star Performers

2020 British Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc, Daniel Ricciardo and Pierre Gasly were RaceFans’ Star Performers of the British Grand Prix. Here’s why.


Charles Leclerc

Ferrari trialled a low downforce set-up to try to reduce their straight-line speed weakness. Leclerc delivered a fine lap and took advantage of Racing Point’s unexpected dip in form to qualify fourth, beating Vettel by nearly a second. He laid the foundations for a solid race by qualifying on the medium compound tyre – an impressive feat his team mate also couldn’t match.

Leclerc made a solid start in the race. He temporarily passed Verstappen on the opening lap but the Red Bull driver regained the place. From then one Leclerc was largely untroubled from behind and inherited third when Bottas suffered his puncture.

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton had the measure of Bottas
Hamilton’s run of dominance around Silverstone appeared to be in jeopardy as he struggled with handling throughout practice and had a rare spin in Q2, bringing out the red flag. He recovered and set a new lap record three tenths ahead of Bottas for pole position and over a second clear of Verstappen.

He resisted Bottas at the start and managed his lead over his team mate throughout the race. He controlled both Safety Car restarts and was stretching his advantage when Bottas’s tyre failed. Hamilton backed off in order to make it to the end but his front left tyre failed as well with half a lap remaining. As Verstappen pitted on the penultimate lap Hamilton had a 30-second lead and skilfully nursed his three-wheeled car to the chequered flag.

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, Silverstone, 2020
Ricciardo made some great passes
Renault appear to be quicker in the race than they are over a single lap in qualifying and Ricciardo took advantage of that. After qualifying eighth, two tenths of a second ahead of his team mate, he passed Stroll and Norris on the first lap.

On the second restart, Ricciardo was passed by Norris, but with four laps to go the Renault driver regained the position. When Bottas and Sainz suffered their punctures he jumped to fourth, equalling his best result yet with Renault.

Pierre Gasly

Qualifying 11th with an identical time to Lance Stroll’s Racing Point was a fine result. It allowed Gasly a free choice of tyres, but this advantage was erased by the early Safety Cars.

He fell back to 13th but made his way into the points. Over the final four laps of the race, Gasly passed Vettel and Stroll plus the tyre-troubled Bottas and Sainz to finish seventh.

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Alexander Albon

Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2020
Albon’s practice crash cost him time
Albon’s confidence took a hit in practice two when he lost the rear and slid into the barriers. For the second straight race weekend he was eliminated in Q2 and forced to play catch up in the race.

His hopes of rising quickly through the field took a blow when he made contact with Magnussen on lap one, putting the Haas driver out of the race. Albon was awarded a five-second penalty which he served during his pit stop on lap 30. He came out of the pits as the last running car and took advantage of fresher hard tyres to finish eighth, 28 seconds behind him team mate.

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2020
Vettel had a poor weekend
Vettel’s struggles were not helped by his car problems during practice, but nonetheless with was a disappointing performance by the four-times champion. He was well off Leclerc’s pace. Making matters worse, his best lap time in Q3 was deleted due to a track limits violation, which meant he started 10th instead of a potential fifth.

He never looked like recovering those lost places and ran out of the points for the majority of the race. Gasly eventually demoted Vettel to 11th but following the punctures, Vettel moved up to tenth and at least managed to resist Bottas in the final corners of the race to score a point.

Lance Stroll

Stroll struggled to find the race pace that Racing Point showed in the first three events of the season and he was out-qualified by both McLarens. He struggled even more in the race and slowly dropped through the order. Stroll was set to finish outside the points but after Sainz and Bottas retired he scored a couple of points in ninth.

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And the rest

Bottas was quicker than Hamilton in Q1 and Q2 but couldn’t continue his improvement and lost out in Q3. He stayed within a couple of seconds of Hamilton for the majority of the race and was set for a solid haul of points in second before a tyre failure dropped him outside the top ten.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2020
Extra pit stop cost Verstappen a victory chance
Verstappen finished second but was agonisingly close to a win after Hamilton’s last-lap puncture. The lead Red Bull driver stopped for fresh soft tyres with two laps to go after Bottas’ puncture to go for the fastest lap point. He got it, but had he stayed out he might have won – assuming his tyres could have lasted until the end.

Norris out-qualified Sainz and the two McLaren drivers were locked in battle with Ricciardo for the majority of the race. Sainz was set to finish fifth before his tyre failed on the penultimate lap and he fell all the way to 13th; Norris collected the place his team mate lost and remarkably lies fourth in the drivers’ championship.

Ocon was slower than Ricciardo in qualifying and the race but benefitted from tyre failures ahead to finish sixth, adding to Renault’s solid haul of points, and his best result since his return.

George Russell initially made it out of Q1 but following qualifying he was handed a five-place grid penalty for failing to slow sufficiently under yellow flags – a significant error which left him last. The yellow flag was deployed in Q1 thanks to Nicholas Latifi’s spin during his final run.

Antonio Giovinazzi out-qualified Kimi Raikkonen for the third time so far this season but both drivers were out after Q1 and started 16th and 17th. He was still ahead of his team mate when Raikkonen’s front wing failed and he was forced to pit with four laps to go.

Magnussen started ahead of Grosjean and made a great start until he ran wide at Club and was knocked out of the race by Albon. Grosjean took a gamble during the second Safety Car and stayed out but it backfired and his race was ruined, finishing 16th, and made no friends with his borderline defensive moves on Sainz and Stroll.

Daniil Kvyat exited the race on lap 11 when his right rear tyre failed and he hit the barriers hard. After a positive Covid-19 test ruled Sergio Perez out of the weekend, his replacement Nico Hulkenberg was out before the race even started after a loose bolt kept his engine from starting.

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

Josh Holland
USA-based Josh joined the RaceFans team in 2018. Josh helps produce our Formula 1 race weekend coverage, assists with our social media activities and...

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41 comments on “2020 British Grand Prix Star Performers”

  1. It doesn’t fit for Race Fans to have somebody left field do these driver ratings. It should be either Keith or Dieter or both.

    1. @josh5holland does these ratings very often.
      IMO the does a very good job, even though I often have a slightly different list of Stars and Strugglers.

      Some comments are ‘left field’ though.

  2. Also a struggler – Raikkonen

    Struggling to understand the rules of racing – Grosjean

    1. @keithedin I would agree that Raikkonen is a surprising omission from the list of strugglers – not only way he beaten in qualifying, he was being soundly beaten by Giovinazzi in the race and running last on merit after Latifi passed him on track even before his front wing finally failed.

      Overall, I’d have thought that Kimi’s performance merited being classified as a “struggler” more than Stroll’s performance did – I can’t really think of anything that could be said to be positive about Kimi’s performance that weekend.

    2. @keithedin Being a “struggler” basically tantamounts to not meeting expectations. Nobody with worthwhile F1 knowledge expects anything from Räikkönen nowadays, given as he is a completely washed driver in one of the weaker cars on the grid.

      1. @klon I don’t particularly like a definition of star or struggler that is based on your own expectations. Because everyone’s expectations of the drivers is different, so without knowing what the writer’s overall opinion of the driver is you don’t have a baseline to compare it against. By that definition, you could for example call Hamilton a struggler this weekend, because he spun in Q2 and you have sky high expectations of him because you think he’s the ultimate driver. This is the same as you not classifying Kimi as a struggler because you have low expectations of him. So an article based on expectations wouldn’t make sense to anyone other than the writer.

  3. Stars: HAM, LEC, RIC, and GAS.
    Strugglers: ALB, VET, STR, and RAI.

  4. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    5th August 2020, 12:29

    I wouldn’t say hamilton was a star really, other that the last lap in qualifying, bottas was pretty much on his pace the whole weekend. There is a lot mentioning how incredible it was the way hamilton finshed on 3 wheels… bottas and sainz would hae done the sameif they wereon the last lap. Bottas had to do a far longer distance with a puncture, so if anything, he should be getting as much or more credit in that regard.

    Vettel shouldn’t be judged imo. He had problemsall practice session and didn’t get the chace to set up the car to his liking. It looked an apsolute handful to drive. Leclerc looke to be where ferrari should be based on practice more or less. I think it was solid, but maybe not a star performer, especially since we couldn’t compare him to vettel.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      5th August 2020, 13:05

      It is also worth noting that Despite Kvyats 5 place grid penalty and starting 19th vs 11th for Gasly, he was in Gaslys DRS range by lap 12 just before he went off. This to me suggested that on race day, this team was possibly stronger than Gasly showed. So I almost think he also wasn’t really one of the star performers. I think there was only really one this weekend and that was Ricciardo. Ocon was also very close to Ricciardo and I was impressed with him too.

      As some others point out, Kimi wasa really poor. He looked a lot worse than his team mate who has been awful this year. He should certainly be a struggler and probably replace Stroll. I’m not sure RP know how to make the most out of this car, and I don’t think it is to do with their drivers. It seems to go from excellent to poor at different stages of the weekend. i don’t think the drivers are that bad. If Stroll was poor this time out and worthy of a struggler, Perez certainly was last time out. He was 30 seconds down the road to Stroll and went off several times. I think the finishing position was irrelevent as the car looked far stronger in hungary than here.

      While Grosjean did break the rules, I agree thta he wasn’t a struggler. His pace was very good in the race. He managed to keep Leclerc, Sainz, Norris and Ricciardo behind for longer than I expected despite having a far slower car with far more worn tyres. Despite a couple of dirty moves, his pace was strong here so I wouln’t class his weekend as struggling. Due to not gaining under the safety car as well as having issues in the pits, it is understandable that he came out in last. But he admittedly didn’t seem as strong here and only managed to pass Kimi, But he didn’t have as much time to do this.

      This year, I really do seem to be disagreeing with a lot of the choices on this site for star performenrs and strugglers.

    2. @thegianthogweed

      I wouldn’t say hamilton was a star really, other that the last lap in qualifying, bottas was pretty much on his pace the whole weekend.

      Right. So pulling a lap out of the bag when you’re on the backfoot and putting 3 tenths on your team mate who is supposedly ‘on your pace’ isn’t anything special. Odd logic.

      There is a lot mentioning how incredible it was the way hamilton finshed on 3 wheels… bottas and sainz would hae done the sameif they wereon the last lap.

      This is conjecture. You don’t know that for certain- what we do know is Hamilton managed it while under pressure from a rapid closing Verstappen. That is star material.

      Rather get the sense that not much Hamilton does/can do impresses you- not that it matters of course.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        5th August 2020, 17:13

        Your first pont, i said other than that lap… his pole lap was impressive. Most of the race, bottas kept hamilton pushing, so i don’t hink Hamilton’s weekend was that strong pace wise. With a tyre going out as neat as it did, it isnt that surprising that he as as quick as he was. Bottas got his puncture in turn 1 and still managed to the pits and even managing to hit the apex on pretty much every corner (hamilton also). So my pont being, bottas and sainz would likely have managed the same as hamilton had it happened on the same lap. And the way Hamilton’s tyre delaminated was also lucky which he highligted himself.

        1. The reason the Merc tyres failed is because Bottas was going balls to the wall and not managing his tyres, thats why he was on Hamilton’s pace. Hamilton managed to keep one eye on his teammate’s pace and one eye on his tyre wear and thats why he managed to finish the race on those tyres. Your assessment is that of a casual observer who doesn’t understand the intricacies of the sport, disappointing from you.

          1. @RB13

            Your assessment is that of a casual observer who doesn’t understand the intricacies of the sport, disappointing from you.

            This is a bit petulant.

            The reason the Merc tyres failed is because Bottas was going balls to the wall and not managing his tyres, thats why he was on Hamilton’s pace

            And Hamilton had to respond to Bottas thus also pushing his tyres- which Merc later confirmed they were concerned about but chose not to interfere.

            So, who is the casual now?

          2. @RB13
            Apologies for my retort- thought this was the OP’s response.

  5. After four races, Verstappen’s count is still 0, while he annihilates his team mate and is trailing Bottas by just 6 championship points in the 3rd best car. ( RP is 2nd best, it makes Lance Stroll look good…)

    Interesting. Of course it is very subjective, what do others think?

    1. @trid4udi. I think you are totally right. Without enige failure in first race he would have split the Merc drivers in WC standings with a far lesser car. I don’t see the differences in Max and Leclercs performance other than Leclerc is more lucky and Max his performance performance is in line what we all expects from him: super fast. Compairing the performance of Gasly and Albon, the RB might not even be the third fastest car.

    2. Agree, ver did what he had to do with a much trickier car.
      If he had not pitted he would be the star of the race.
      Lec, did nothing special. His teammate was plagued with technical problems during the weekend.
      Ricci did great.

    3. That’s because Max makes the car look much better than it actually is. Now it looks like a regular job to be 3rd easily and Albon looks terrible.

    4. I don’t think Max will be a star performer with these conditions. For to do that Max need to beat Lewis and Bottas in qualiflier and race which is hard todo with the second fastest car

      Max pitted after RB heared Max had some vibriations with his fronts. So they pitted him for reds then they heard Lewis car suffered also a puncture. It could that Max also go a flat tyre but they tried to get the maximum instead of betting if Lewis tyre went.

    5. @trib4udi ‘Solid Dependable Max’, who would have thought it? :)
      He clearly hasn’t lost any of his talent, I’m pretty sure we’ll see him turn in some star performances, car permitting, in the rest of the season.

      1. @david-br
        ‘Solid Dependable Max’, who would have thought it?
        Anyone who has kept an eye on him since Monaco 2018…. :)

    6. @trib4udi I think an issue for him is he’s spending a lot of races in no mans land – not having the pace to keep up with the Mercs unless they have issues, but way faster than anyone else, including his teammate. So he hasn’t had many opportunities to do anything other than have great pace, which makes it harder to appreciate what he’s doing.

      1. That’s exactly what Lewis is doing too, with the one exception that he has the best car, so he is alone in front.

        1. @aapje, @keithedin

          The difference in qualifying between Lewis and Valtteri was 0.3s and Valtteri lines up 2nd with Lewis in 1st.
          The difference in qualying between Verstappen and Albon was also 0.3 seconds, but VER lines up 3rd and Albon 12th…

          The Merc is such a class above the field it isn’t even funny anymore and either driver should finish 1 or 2 in every race bar flat tyres, mechanical issues or testing positive. Lewis then only has to be better than Bottas to win the title and we all know he is a tier above the Fin. So yeah, kinda of a non challenge and hard to put in a standout performance imho.

          1. +1 Insightful

          2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            7th August 2020, 21:53


            Q2 with verstappen and Albon is a bit unfair to judge a representative gap though I’d say. Verstappen was 3rd on his outlap on his last run of Q2, Albon was 10th. Verstappen didn’t need to simply go for it to remain safe. I’m not sure if he even attempted to complete the lap as he didn’t improve. Albon did try and failed – and was 0.401 behind, not 0.3 (though that isn’t that different, but further apart than Bottas and Hamilton) And as I said, that gap in Q2 isn’t representative, as Albon pushed on his 2nd run, while Verstappen didn’t by the look of it.

    7. Max is doing generally a good job but didn’t really stand out last race as Albon has been relatively poor recently.
      If we get a warmer race this weekend (foreces says yes) and they use the softer tyre, Max might try and risk a 1 stopper, so he could win………..

    8. I think it’s a joke.
      Thanks to Verstappen we had the bonkers end to what was otherwise a total borefest. Had he not been driving that car, Lewis and Vallteri would have pitted both and finish in their starting order, depriving us of those last three historic laps, leaving us to only bemoan Carlos.
      I cannot comprehend why anyone who delivers more (which he practically does every race) than we can reasonably expect, doesn’t get star performer.
      His quali was flawless, his race was flawless.

  6. I would say that the Red Bull is comfortably the 2nd fastest car (especially on race pace). Albon has made it look a handful, but when it runs smoothly Verstappen finishes way way clear of the midfield (last weekend, he had a free pit stop on the cars behind even with a mid race safety car)

    1. We just don’t know.
      Consider this though: It is hard to imagine that Stroll would extract more out of a car than Gasly or Albon. I hope we agree on that?
      Stroll even relies on a senior teammate to setup the car. Possibly that is why RP was poorer last weekend than it should have been.
      So simply add 0.4s (conservatively) to Stroll’s time and you know what the RP is capable of.

      Furthermore, If you swapped Max and Stroll in their cars in Hungary I bet Max would have finished 2nd in a RP.

      1. @trib4udi Those are fair points, and I think I definitely overstated it by saying “comfortably 2nd”.
        Yeah I definitely agree with you that Stroll would be in the same/slightly worse state than Gasly or Albon in the 2nd Red Bull.
        With respect to the time loses (like you say, minimum 0.4s), I do agree in qualifying I think the Racing Point is the better car and should be ahead of the Red Bull (Verstappen will definitely be making a huge difference here).
        I think in race trim the Red Bull does has a bigger advantage though, and I take this view from Albon’s results:
        – Taking the Syrian GP, despite Albon having a total shocker against his teammate, he was only caught by Perez with a couple of laps to go and well clear of Stroll (there is the factor here that RP qualified further back than they should have).
        – In Hungary, Stroll had probably his best weekend in F1 (still beaten by Verstappen), however, Albon was still ahead of Perez despite issues in qualifying.
        – Then in Silverstone, despite Albon starting in 12th, hitting Magnussen which forced an additional stop and a penalty, he still managed to finish ahead of the sole Racing Point which had no issues (except Stroll driving!)

        To your last point, yes I agree, a Stroll Verstappen switch and Max would finish 2nd in the RP. However, I think if you had a Red Bull Max and RP Max competing against each other, the Red Bull Max would win.

  7. @burden93
    “I would say that the Red Bull is comfortably the 2nd fastest car”
    Correction: I would say that the Red Bull Max is driving is comfortably the 2nd fastest car, because Max is driving it.

    “Furthermore, If you swapped Max and Stroll in their cars in Hungary I bet Max would have finished 2nd in a RP.”
    He and lewis would have lapped the field.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      5th August 2020, 18:04

      I sort of agree, but sort of don’t. Verstappen and his car suits him perfectly. I agree that he is extremely strong in it. However, if he moved to another team such as RP, i do not believe he would instantly be comfortable and be as high as you claim. I think the team are yet to understand how to set up the car to make the most of it being so good. They seem excellent at some points of the weekend, and poor at others and I don’t think this is to do with the drivers being inconsistent. They seem to have been weak somewhere every weekend.. Red Bull seem to have the car suit Verstappen perfectly. I actually expect he will initially struggle when he moves team, but will get back to his standards pretty quickly. But the racing point really wasn’t 2nd best in qualifying or the race. To me it looked quite obvious that it was at best even with Ferrari, Mclaren and possibly even Renault. I think Stroll just underperformed a little. I don’t think he was that bad. the car suited last weeks track far more.


        well you obviously missed a lot then.
        The current RB is a trickie thingie.. VER is able to drive it, but not able to squeeze some wins for some time.
        Albon is struggling a lot with the same car. It needs a very skillful driver.

        1. oeps.. wrong link in C/P
          This one

          Red Bull seem to have the car suit Verstappen perfectly.

  8. @thegianthogweed
    “Verstappen and his car suits him perfectly.”
    No, it doesn’t. He hasn’t been happy with his car this entire season, and he, just like most drivers, prefers a car that is well balanced, predictable and fast. Really standard stuff. Only some drivers can adapt immediately, and he is one of those drivers.

    “However, if he moved to another team such as RP, i do not believe he would instantly be comfortable and be as high as you claim.” I actually expect he will initially struggle when he moves team, but will get back to his standards pretty quickly.”
    Hmm, are we talking about the same driver who, at the age of 18, switched cars mid-season and was immediately comfortable with it, despite him not even have a proper fitting seat, and win his first race?
    The same driver who, at the age of 16 and with only 8 months of single seater experience, stepped into an F1 car in Japan and was up to speed within 10 minutes?
    Come on Ben, now you’re just making stuff up for making stuff up.
    No one in the paddock agrees with you on this subject.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      5th August 2020, 23:10

      Those two teams were partly related though which will have helped verstappen a lot IMO. With verstappen getting more and more used to this car and the way the team sets it up for him, I think going to a totally different team will be noting like going from toro Rosso to red bull.

      Surely you don’t think it is unreasonable for me to have the opinion that going to a totally different team will take him just a bit of time to get used to?. I stated that I thought he would quickly be up to his usual standards…

  9. Hamilton & Bottas as expected walked away from the rest of the field in cars that are a level above the rest. When they had the tyre issues their experience/maturity and the drivabilty of a modern F1 car paid off. Verstappen was pretty much alone most of the race in a car that is 2nd or 3rd fasted. He found himself in the right place at the right time he certainly didn’t make any mistakes he done his job.
    I think Leclerc done a very good job with a bad car, had he been in the RB he may have won the race. Same goes for Ricciardo who got a lessor car past more favoured rivals to equal his best finnish so far in a Renault.

    RP’s huge drop in performance was a surprise at a track that should have suited it well, it will be interesting to see how they go this weekend.

  10. Albon is struggling but I really hope he gets to grip with the car because being that far behind is not helping his cause. Stroll being a struggler was a bit eye opening. That car should be way up the grid and I feel the drivers art doing that car justice. I know Perez is out, but before that I feel they should be doing better

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