Silverstone tops the 2019 attendance charts

Data provided by promoters shows that the British Grand Prix at Silverstone was the best attended race weekend of 2019.

As reported by Reuters.com, Silverstone topped the charts for 2019 with a total attendance of 351,000.

The event was one of only three to break the 300,000 mark alongside the Mexican Grand Prix (345,694) and the season-opening Australian Grand Prix (324,100).

Silverstone also topped the race-day attendance figures with a Sunday total of 141,000.

It was the Canadian Grand Prix which reported the biggest year-on-year attendance rise, with an increase of 14.69%. Next year the country will have both Lance Stroll and Williams newcomer Nicholas Latifi on the grid to get behind.

The sport’s owners Liberty Media also confirmed that a total of 4,164,948 people attended at least one of the 21 races in 2019, an increase of 1.75% on 2018’s also 21-race calendar.

Formula One managing director Sean Bratches said:  “We are delighted to see that over four million fans joined us at our 21 races, beating the attendance figures for last year, including a record-breaking Italian Grand Prix weekend attendance with 200,000 spectators.”

In total eight races attracted weekend crowds of more than 200,000.

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Pit Chat: All aboard the Rich Energy milk float

Rich Energy introduced us to William Storey’s milk float; Lewis Hamilton botched a crowd surf and Kimi Raikkonen literally took his C38 for a ride.

The Austrian Grand Prix arguably brought the 2019 season to life, and few expected the action to hot up even further at Silverstone – but it did.

Hamilton took the win, if not slightly fortuitous to do so, to secure a record sixth victory at his home circuit, while Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc picked up where they left off in Spielberg.

But first…

How not to do it…

It has been a difficult 2019 to say the least for Haas. Romain Grosjean was sent back to his Australia spec as the team tried to figure out what was going wrong for them. The problem was he couldn’t even negotiate the pit exit.

Things could only get better from here right? Well, we needed only one lap of the race to give us that answer.

An early retirement for both drivers in what was meant to be a valuable Sunday of data collecting.

With not even a Marcus Ericsson in sight, Grosjean had to think of a new approach to getting himself of the hook.

Principal Guenther Steiner was in no mood for pleasantries: “The best that our drivers could bring to the battle was a shovel – to dig the hole we’re in even deeper.”

Nobody quite knows what is going on with Haas and their title sponsor Rich Energy, or former title sponsor it now seems judging by this…

At this point Rich Energy are becoming a danger to Twitter – they’re a bit like a car crash, sorry Haas, you try not to watch but you just have to – please keep going.

But, they did take a moment to try and inform us why their relationship with the American outfit had turned so sour.

The charismatic shall we say, ‘leader’ of Rich Energy William Storey sports rather impressive facial hair, and it was this subject and pubes which caused the driver press conference to break down.

Lando beaches it…

The Brit certainly adhered himself to his home supporters at Silverstone, but not so much to McLaren after beaching the $250,000 720S in the gravel at Maggots and Becketts.

Maybe Johnny Herbert should have been behind the wheel?

The Honey Badger strikes…

Norris turned his attention back to racing, and though McLaren team-mate Carlos Sainz tried to do the same, Danny Ric had other ideas.

Still, the Spaniard got the last laugh in the race, keeping his rival at bay to record a P6 finish.

Kimi corner…

The weekend didn’t get off to the best of starts for ‘The Iceman’ after his Power Unit gave up in Free Practice 1.

The C38 needed quite the push to remove it from the circuit, but that’s what marshals are for right Kimi? You just put your feet up.

Last word…

We will leave you with race winner Lewis Hamilton as he celebrated that sixth victory at Silverstone.

A crowd surf was what he had in mind, but as our camera showed, it didn’t quite go to plan.

Next up, Hockenheim…

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Verstappen: Leclerc a little sore from Austria

Elbows out and wheel-to-wheel, Max Verstappen reckons Charles Leclerc was “a little bit sore still from Austria” as they fought for position at the British GP.

Leclerc was left smarting when he lost the Austrian Grand Prix win to Verstappen after the Dutchman pushed him wide and off the track to take the lead.

The Ferrari driver vowed to learn from that, and that’s what exactly he did.

Admitting that the racing was at times “borderline” but “always” within the rules, he battled Verstappen for much of the British Grand Prix with the two youngsters adding plenty of footage to the race’s highlights reel.

With neither giving an inch out on track, it was eventually strategy that put Verstappen ahead of his rival.

“I think he was a little bit sore still from Austria so he was defending really hard, but it’s fine, I’m all for that,” he told Autosport.

“I didn’t want to take too much risk in those battles to damage the car, because I knew we were quite a bit faster.

“So I just needed to pick my moment, but then luckily the team did it for me with a good strategy, and then it was all looking good of course for a good result.”

It all came to naught when the other Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel later ploughed into the back of Verstappen, pitching him into a spin and damaging his RB15.

The Red Bull driver would go onto to finish P5 while Leclerc joined the Mercedes team-mates on the podium.

But having at least enjoyed his battle with Leclerc, Verstappen hopes the race stewards continue to allow hard racing.

“[It} would be good, yeah,” he added. “I think it was nice racing.”

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Red Bull set new pit stop record at British GP

Red Bull’s pit crews were on fire at the British GP, not only allowing Max Verstappen to jump Charles Leclerc but also setting a new pit stop record with Pierre Gasly.

Formula 1 grands prix can be decided by the slimmest of margins, across the line or, in this case, in the pits.

Sunday’s British Grand Prix saw Verstappen follow Leclerc into the pits but grab a metre advantage over the Ferrari driver as they drove down the pit lane, ultimately giving him track position.

That, though, wasn’t Red Bull’s only great stop of the afternoon.

Gasly’s one and only stop of the afternoon came in at 1.91s, beating the previous record of 1.92s that Williams set in Baku in 2016.

Red Bull also managed the day’s second fastest stop at Silverstone, a 1.96s with Verstappen.

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Gasly: By far my best race weekend

Just missing out on podium at Silverstone, Pierre Gasly reckons the British Grand Prix was “by far the best” weekend he has had since joining Red Bull.

The Frenchman on form throughout the British Grand Prix weekend and even had Max Verstappen’s measure in the practice sessions.

He qualified fifth to his team-mate’s P4 but beat the Dutchman on the Sunday.

Circumstances aside, it was the first time this season that Gasly finished ahead of Verstappen in a grand prix.

“By far the best weekend of the year so we can be pleased,” he said.

“There were quite a lot of things going on after Austria, a lot of meetings with the team checking the whole weekend and how to improve things.

“We made a lot of changes and I am pleased that from the first session we could see the big step forward.

“It was a strong Friday, strong Saturday and strong Sunday.

“I just enjoyed the whole weekend a lot more so I think we can be pleased with the step we made.”

4.5s off the podium on Sunday, Gasly hopes the British Grand Prix is just the start of a good run.

“I am pleased with fourth place but of course as a competitive guy I am a bit disappointed to miss out on the podium by a couple of seconds.

“I think we need to look at the whole picture and the whole weekend which was a big step forward.”

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British Grand Prix driver ratings

Lewis Hamilton rose to the occasion that is the British GP while Sebastian Vettel went from podium step to punishment stool.

Here are the driver ratings from our friends at Late Braking…

Lewis Hamilton: By Hamilton’s standards, this might not have been the most dominant win he has ever achieved but once again he has the wherewithal to put himself in the right position at the right time.

The safety car clearly played a large role, whether he would have won the race without it is tough to say, but staying out longer on stints does lend itself to an increased chance of a safety car or VSC. Hamilton did not need to be asked twice when presented the opportunity.

The cherry on the top of the cake was secured with his last-gasp fastest lap points on old tyres, a sublime effort. 9

Valtteri Bottas: It’s tough not to feel for Valtteri, at a time he can seldom afford things to go against him, he was powerless as the safety car ruined his afternoon and made a win almost impossible to achieve.

There are positives to take away, a pole against Lewis in his home country is a fine achievement and his elbows-out move at Copse on his teammate was superlative. It proves that Bottas will not give up on this fight and isn’t afraid to push around his weight when necessary. 9

Charles Leclerc: It seems pretty clear that neither Ferrari nor Red Bull had enough in the tank to threaten the Mercedes duo at Silverstone, in which case P3 was the maximum Leclerc could have wished to achieve.

He went the long way around doing it and was helped by the Verstappen/Vettel crash but credit needs to be given where it’s due as his dogged defensive efforts throughout the afternoon were rewarded. 9

Pierre Gasly: After some dismal races, this must go down as Gasly’s best weekend to date as he proved himself to be competitive within the top 6. Getting stuck in with both Ferrari drivers, Gasly’s best moment of the season happened as he worked his way past Sebastian Vettel into Brooklands.

Ultimately, the Safety Car didn’t really work in his favour as he stayed out on Hard tyres. With those around him committing to a two stop race, it would have been interesting to see how Gasly’s one stop would have worked. 7

Max Verstappen: Renewing his battle with Charles Leclerc, once again the two young guns proved that F1 is in great hands moving forward and the potential title battles between the two are an exciting prospect.

The hopes of a podium were dashed in an instant as contact between himself and Seb Vettel ended his chances but he recovered well from the gravel to secure P5 and as a result he keeps P3 in the championship. Another brilliant effort from the leader of the Orange army. 9

Carlos Sainz: We often see it in the midfield and it’s happened again where a driver actually benefits from not making Q3 on Saturday. Regardless, Sainz drove a wonderful race and cemented his position as the best of the rest.

Starting on the medium tyres, Sainz worked his way through the first stint and benefitted from pitting under the safety car. From there it was a case of defending his position from the ever-threatening Daniel Ricciardo. 9

Daniel Ricciardo: Not quite the best of the rest tag that Ricciardo would have wanted from the weekend but he picks up some more points and in the process goes ahead of his teammate in the standings. Renault made the correct strategy call to pit under the safety car and he was therefore able to beat all midfield rivals bar one. 8

Kimi Raikkonen: A fairly quiet, yet impressive race for Raikkonen who continues to prove his worth to the Alfa Romeo team. Starting outside the top 10, Raikkonen pit just a few laps before the safety car made an appearance. Undeterred, Raikkonen worked with his slightly older tyres to score 4 points. 8

Daniil Kvyat: I doubt Kvyat gave himself much of a chance of scoring points after a tough qualifying session saw him start towards the back of the grid, but Kvyat produced a great performance. His second half of the race was scintillating as he pushed his way through to points. 9

Nico Hulkenberg: Involved in an incident with Sergio Perez, Hulkenberg was not quite able to capitalise on the pace Renault had during the weekend. He did eventually get into the points but it is just one that he takes away from Silverstone. 7-8 lap older tyres than those around certainly didn’t help towards the end. 7

Lando Norris: Norris has shown enough promise this season that it feels safe to say he will have many more opportunities to score points at his home Grand Prix, but that will do little to comfort him in the short term.

A wonderful start gave him a great chance to beat the rest of the midfield but Mclaren failed to pit the youngster under the Safety Car. A fateful decision. He nearly recovered to points but will have to settle for P11. 8

Alex Albon: Plenty of impressive signs for Albon but it will hurt that there is nothing to show for it. Strategy played a massive part in the tale of the midfield and Albon wound up as the unluckiest of the lot. Left to fight on old medium tyres was never going to work well and he couldn’t quite hold on to points as he slipped away in the final stage of the race. 8

Lance Stroll: A typical brilliant start to the race for Stroll gave him a slight chance of points but progress was difficult to come by as he faded into mediocrity. P13 doesn’t look too bad on paper but realistically the only drivers he beat on pace were the Williams guys. 6

George Russell: No doubt Russell is level-headed enough to know that points at his home Grand Prix was a pipe dream and nothing more but he can be content with the P14 he achieved. Taking advantage of a few situations around him, Russell beat his teammate as well as Perez and Vettel. 7

Robert Kubica: Slightly more encouraging for the Pole this week as he remained within touching distance of his teammate but the fact that 10 seconds away from Russell classifies as a good weekend says enough. 6

Sebastian Vettel: Staying out longer than the rest of his rivals seemed to work a treat for Sebastian Vettel on Sunday as he jumped those around him to claim P3. Then came the incident. Under braking Vettel stormed into the back of Max Verstappen which effectively ended his race.

Sebastian-Vettel-and-Max-Verstappen-British-GP-crash-PA

The incident will do little to answer critics questions about his wheel-to-wheel capabilities and the opportunity of a podium goes firmly in the ‘spurned’ category. 5

Sergio Perez: Usually such a consistent presence in the midfield, Perez was in the hunt for points at one stage but he ended all hopes of that when he collided with Nico Hulkenberg going into Brooklands. One to forget for Perez and for the team situated just over the road from the race track. 5

Antonio Giovinazzi: Giovinazzi has undoubtedly improved as the season has gone on and outqualifying his teammate has become something of a routine rather than an abnormality but here it was experience and consistency that seized the day as Giovinazzi was forced into an early bath. 6

Romain Grosjean: Haas must have been hoping for a strong weekend to take the conversation away from their ongoing battle with Rich Energy. That didn’t happen. 3

Kevin Magnussen: Haas are finding it hard enough to fight, let alone when they make it even more difficult for themselves by crashing into one another. These poor team performances can only go on for so long before something must be done. N/A

The British Grand Prix driver ratings are courtesy of the good folks at Late Braking. You can check them out in the following places:

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Whiting: Driver’s choice to use DRS

Charlie Whiting believes drivers who had incidents through Silverstone’s new DRS zone have only themselves to blame as it is a “driver choice” to open the flap.

Romain Grosjean was the first big casualty as the Frenchman crashed in Friday’s practice after failing to close his DRS.

Two days later it was Marcus Ericsson who was buried in the barriers, the Swede revealing he failed to hit the button resulting in his crash.

As such F1 race director Whiting reckons the new zone, which led onto the already flat-out Turns 1 and 2, was very much in the hands of the drivers and it was their “choice” whether to take the chance.

He said: “I think the incidents where drivers lost control through Turn 1 because they had their DRS open through Turn 1 is a driver choice, just like any other choice you make on a car.

“It’s like any car that is challenging to drivers, and sometimes they try to do it flat when it’s not really flat, and they spin.

“It’s the same thing, it’s their choice. If they thought they could do it, they can try it. It’s not a requirement to do it.

“It’s like any other choice that teams and drivers make.”

However, whether it is there next year remains to be seen as Whiting concedes it didn’t help with overtaking.

“I don’t think it actually helped,” he said.

“The idea was that drivers might get a little bit closer than they would have done otherwise and therefore be in a better position to attack on the straights between Turns 5 and 6.”

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Perez ‘pleased’ with Gasly penalty

At a time when F1’s stewards are coming in for some stick, Sergio Perez has praised their decision to penalise Pierre Gasly at the British Grand Prix.

Gasly was in the thick of a late-race battle with Perez that saw the Toro Rosso driver collide with the Force India man and forced him off the track.

Gasly was slapped with a five-second time penalty that dropped him to 13th and elevated Perez to P10.

But while the Frenchman called the penalty “bullshit”, Perez says he is pleased his rival was punished for his antics.

“With two laps to go, Gasly pushed me off track,” he said.

“I gave him enough space but that was not enough: we still made contact and I lost the place.

“I believe it was an unfair move. I’m pleased that the FIA took action after the race to penalise Gasly, which gave me back the final point.”

But despite his top-ten showing, Perez says he was still unhappy with his Sunday at Silverstone.

“I cannot be totally happy about the race.

“The incident at the start compromised my race: I lost the rear end trying to avoid the incidents ahead, spun and suddenly I was at the back of the field.

“After that, our race was pretty strong. We had good pace and overtook a lot of cars. We made the most of the various safety cars and made it back into the points.”

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Hamilton: Kimi said sorry, I accept it and we move on

Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton has accepted an apology from Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen and recognised that their first lap collision in Sunday’s British Grand Prix was a racing incident and not deliberate.

The Mercedes driver, who fought back from last to second after being sent spinning at the third corner by the veteran Finn, had spoken immediately after the race of the Italian team’s ‘interesting tactics’.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff had suggested two collisions between Ferraris and his cars in three races were either deliberate or incompetent.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel also collided with Mercedes Valtteri Bottas in France last month.

“Kimi said sorry and I accept it and we move on. It was a racing incident and nothing more,” Hamilton posted on Instagram. “Sometimes we say dumb shit and we learn from it.”

Wolff’s comments had angered Ferrari principal Maurizio Arrivabene, particularly as he had referenced former Ferrari technical director James Allison, who is now working for Mercedes. “In James Allison’s words, ‘do you think it is deliberate or incompetence?’. So this leaves us with a judgement,” the Austrian had said.

Arrivabene told Sky Italia after the race that Allison should be ashamed if he had said that, “We’re here in England, sometimes they want to teach us how to be gentlemen, and he should start first. Really, this annoyed me so much.”

“It’s been a beautiful battle, a battle that I think the audience appreciated, there will be other battles where most likely Mercedes will win and this is a lesson for us to stay classy, a thing that they haven’t done today.”

Mercedes defended Allison on Twitter, emphasising he had not spoken to media and there had merely been a ‘jokey conversation’ during the race that Wolff repeated and that had been misinterpreted.

“We know it was just a stupid mistake on Kimi’s part. Like Seb in France. It’s the race but it’s still annoying twice on three GPs,” the team said.

Vettel now leads the championship standings by eight points and Ferrari top the constructors’ table by 20, leads that increased at Silverstone, the tenth round of the championship.


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Hamilton: ‘Sometimes we say dumb sh*t’

Lewis Hamilton has posted on his Instagram page saying that Kimi Raikkonen has apologised to him after the Lap 1 incident at Silverstone on Sunday.

Hamilton was tapped by the Finn, and spun round.

The four-time World Champion was P18 at the end of the first lap, but came through the field to finish on the podium at the British Grand Prix in P2.

However, he stormed off after the race, and was not interviewed in parc ferme. Instead, Martin Brundle caught up with him on the podium where he suggested that Ferrari were using ‘interesting tactics’ to get the victory.

After reflecting on it overnight, the Brit seems to have calmed down, and understood the situation of the high-pressure scenario.

He said on his Instagram post:

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