This weeks’s rankings come after a hectic finish At the Silverstone Grand Prix last weekend.
Official Formula 1 Insta
1. Mercedes AMG Petronas (maintain)
Lewis Hamilton Qualified P1, Raced P1
Valtteri Bottas Qualified P2, Raced P11
Elation for Lewis Hamilton, heartbreak for Valtteri Bottas and yet another win for Mercedes. For Toto Wolff and his team, Silverstone very nearly became a huge disappointment. The front left tyre on both cars gave out very late in the race. Wolff blamed debris and Pirelli blamed stint length but either way it left Bottas pointless for the first time this season and had Hamilton on the edge of his seat as crawled past the chequered flag. Regardless of the drama, Mercedes maintained their lead at the top of the constructor’s standings and will be happy that their favourite driver nabbed the victory. Hamilton will want a cleaner victory next week but he still managed to break some records at Silverstone.
Hamilton reached 230kph on three tyres
Not only did the Englishman take a damaged car to 230kph on the Hangar Straight but Hamilton also set a record-breaking lap time for the second week running. The Briton also casually set the record for most races led from start to finish and became the driver to get the most wins at their home event. Hamilton now leads Bottas by thirty points and he, along with Mercedes, look destiny-bound for victory come season-end.
Better than the rest
2. Red Bull Racing – Honda (maintain)
Max Verstappen Qualified P3, Raced P2
Alex Albon Qualified P12, Raced P8
To fastest lap or not to fastest lap, that is the question. Max Verstappen, having raced well, maintained the hydration levels of his engineer and moved past Valtteri Bottas for P2, had a genuine chance to win the British Grand Prix last weekend. There is no doubt that Super Max would have caught Hamilton had he stayed out, But Christian Horner and Red Bull decided to play it safe and gun for the fastest lap instead. The Dutchman duly delivered on that bonus point but 25 is still more than 19 points. On the other hand, 19 is a lot more than zero and, given that Red Bull found roughly 50 cuts on the tyres that they brought in on lap 51, zero points was a real possibility. There was also a long groove in Verstappen’s front left tyre, identical to the grooves on the two Mercedes before they failed and Verstappen had been complaining of vibrations, just like Bottas and Hamilton. In reality, Red Bull made the right call and there are plenty of positives to take into next week. The RB16 finally seemed balanced and Alex Albon managed to overcome a crash in practice, a collision on race day and a lowly P12 on the grid to race his way up to P8. Albon will need a good performance next weekend and he absolutely needs to beat Pierre Gasly, but he will hope that an improved car and new race engineer, Simon Rennie, will help him do just that.
3. Scuderia Ferrari (up one)
Charles Leclerc Qualified P4, Raced P3
Sebastian Vettel Qualified P10, Raced P10
A tale of two drivers yet again for Ferrari as the Scuderia seem incapable of finding consistency. Charles Leclerc drove magnificently to get his second podium of the season as he made the most of Ferrari’s decision to strip the car of its downforce. Sebastian Vettel meanwhile was lucky to earn points in P10 as he struggled all weekend. The focus on Vettel is now where he will drive next year as this is his worst start in Formula 1 since 2008. Ferrari’s position on the podium in this ranking is likely a temporary one as other teams look to improve while Ferrari focuses on damage control. Every day there is a new headline about the Italian team’s personnel shuffles, their financial issues and the way they have treated an all-time great in Seb Vettel has been embarrassing to say the least.
Charles Leclerc is carrying the scarlet squad
Amidst all of that, Ferrari can still be happy with wonderboy Leclerc. Team president John Elkann has publicly stated that the team will not contend again until the technical rule changes in 2022. Until then, Leclerc will have to settle for hard-fought podiums.
4. McLaren – Renault (up one)
Lando Norris Qualified P5, Raced P5
Carlos Sainz Qualified P7, Raced P13
The midfield is unbelievably contested this season but McLaren take fourth here due to their superb consistency. The British team have been one of the few to avoid off-track dramas this season and instead made positive headlines when Lando Norris donned a heartwarming helmet for the Silverstone GP. Norris put smiles on faces with has racing as well, as he earned his third top five finish in four races. Teammate Carlos Sainz was running P4 until a Mercedes-like tyre failure ruined his drive. Sainz, like Norris, has scored points in three out of four races and McLaren as a team seem to always be in the mix. The Spaniard believes he still has room to improve and the orange and blues will be looking to top the midfield if he does.
Lando’s helmet, designed by Eva, age 6
5. Renault F1 Team (up one)
Daniel Ricciardo Qualified P8, Raced P4
Esteban Ocon Qualified P9, Raced P6
It feels strange to write this. What a brilliant weekend for Renault. After Hungary, Daniel Ricciardo claimed that his RS20 could compete with the other midfield cars for consistent top six placements. It seemed somewhat far-fetched at the time but fast forward to Silverstone, and both Renault’s find themselves in the top six. Admittedly, Ricciardo’s P4 and Ocon’s P6 were significantly helped by the failures of Bottas and Sainz. That doesn’t take away from the fact that this was Renault’s best performance since they rejoined Formula 1 in 2016. It was also a race that saw the Australian equal his best ever placing for Renault and had both drivers win impressive duels against rival drivers. Ricciardo out-drove his 2021 teammate in Lando Norris and was merely a second behind Charles Leclerc in P3. This also happened to be the first time both drivers finished in the points for the French team this season and neither driver had any troubles to speak of all weekend. A stronger performance in qualifying may see the French team top the midfield this weekend. Silverstone may just be a track that suits the RS20, or this upward trajectory may be a sign of things to come for Cyril Abiteboul and his team.
6. Racing Point BWT – Mercedes (down three)
Lance Stroll Qualified P6, Raced P9
Nico Hulkenberg Qualified P13, DNS
From borderline contenders to back of the midfield pack. Silverstone did not go well for Lawrence Stroll’s project F1 team. It started off in unfortunate circumstances, with Sergio Perez testing positive for COVID-19, ruling him out of the weekend. The pink panthers responded well, recruiting Nico Hulkenberg in a move that made just about everybody happy except reserve driver, Esteban Gutierrez. Hulkenberg had to adjust to some strange knobs but looked very comfortable in his new RP20, racing well in practice and qualifying despite arriving just seven minutes before FP1. Hulkenberg looked very comfortable indeed, until his car failed to start and the fairy-tale comeback fizzled out before the German had even raced a lap.
Despite the heartbreak, it was still good to see Hulkenberg’s return
All the attention on Lance Stroll then, and the Canadian responded by racing a sluggish, jerky race that saw him cop a black and white flag for braking under movement and eventually limp over the line in P9. Stroll had no clue what the issue was but Otmar Szafnauer believes it was strategic error rather than driver error. IF Racing Point can nail their strategy this weekend, regardless of who drives their second car, they will expect much better results.
The teams that are in between
7. AlphaTauri Honda (maintain)
Pierre Gasly Qualified P11, Raced P7
Daniil Kvyat Qualified P19, DNF
“AlphaTauri has been hampered by mechanical issues in 2020.” This was true again at Silverstone as Daniil Kvyat was the first of five drivers to suffer from a punctured tyre. Kvyat’s, as usual, was considerably more destructive than the others as he crashed out of the race, but he isn’t the story for AlphaTauri. The story is Pierre Gasly. Gasly currently sits 12th on the driver standings, ahead of Sebastian Vettel. The Frenchman is arguably a bona fide member of the midfield but will need stronger performances from his teammate if he is to carry AlphaTauri into that conversation. Regardless, the often underrated Gasly was over the moon with his performance at Silverstone and will look to replicate that this weekend. The 24 year-old performs well whenever his AT01 stays intact and his strategy isn’t horrible, so AlphaTauri need to make sure these things happen every week if they are to climb out of their lonely position in seventh and become a midfield team.
The race for last place
8. Williams Mercedes (up one)
George Russell Qualified P20, Raced P12
Nicholas Latifi Qualified P18, Raced P15
Williams still sit dead last as the only constructor not to score a point this season. Regardless, Silverstone was a huge success for the historic team. Finally, their qualifying pace translated to race pace as both drivers actually gained places on race-day. Latifi overcame a puncture to reach P15 and George Russell overcame a grid penalty to drive his way to P12, overtaking a non-Williams car for the first time ever in the process. That is correct, George Russell has driven 25 races for the English team, last weekend was the first time he had ever successfully passed a rival driver. Russell’s performances this season has the F1 world on notice but the car itself has improved mightily.
The FW43 has been steadily improving
This is the first time in a long time that the English team have been genuinely faster than their immediate opposition and Claire Williams must be chuffed with the performance of the FW43. The upgrades brought in ahead of Silverstone have clearly worked wonders and if the team continue to improve, Russell may well be getting his first point this year as well.
9. Haas Ferrari (down one)
Kevin Magnussen Qualified P14, DNF
Romain Grosjean Qualified P17, Raced P16
Based on results alone, Haas was the worst team at Silverstone. Kevin Magnussen was racing well until a collision with Alex Albon ended his race prematurely. Magnussen blamed Albon and Albon blamed Magnussen but reagrdless of whose fault it was, it took Haas’ best driver out of the race. There is absolutely no doubt that Magnussen is the best driver for the American constructor either.
Magnussen is the hope for Haas
Romain Grosjean was the beneficiary of a unique pit-strategy that found him up to fifth early on in the race. From there, a steady decline and yet another pit-stop error saw Grosjean quickly slip out of the points and out of contention. The real issue however, was the way in which he tried to stay in the points. Late swerves on Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz saw Grosjean receive a black and white flag for dangerous driving and the F1 world wholeheartedly agree. Mark Webber came out to say that Grosjean was, “borderline out of his depth,” at F1 level. David Coulthard agrees and Grosjean defended himself by comparing his driving to 2016 Max Verstappen and simply stating that he didn’t care about the complaints. Ricciardo has said that he will take up the issue at the next driver’s meeting and the entire situation is really embarrassing for the head of the GPDA, a guy who should know the rules inside and out. Haas, theoretically, should be the best of the backmarkers, time will tell if that is actually the case.
10. Alfa Romeo (maintain)
Kimi Raikonnen Qualified P16, Raced P17
Antonio Giovinazzi Qualified P15, raced P14
There is not a whole lot to say about this team. Alfa Romeo is clearly the worst team on the grid. Coming into the weekend, Kimi Raikkonen felt that he would break duck at Silverstone, a track that he had scored points on five years in a row. Instead, Kimi suffered from a damaged wing and was the only driver to get lapped over the course of the race. The narrative around the Finn is now firmly that his time is up in F1. For a legend like Raikonnen, it is truly a shame but there is no doubt that this year has been disastrous for him and Alfa Romeo. The situation was summed up when the 40 year-old was called in to pit, a decision that was rebuffed seconds later despite Raikonnen already driving through pit lane. Raikonnen is angry, Giovinazzi hasn’t looked like genuinely competing since week one and Alfa Romeo have some serious work to do.