RACE DEBRIEF

    Admit it, you didn’t see the ending to the 2020 British Grand Prix coming, did you? And what an ending it was, as Lewis Hamilton secured victory with only three functioning wheels on his Mercedes W11. But was it enough to win over our judges? The scores are in…

    HOW IT WORKS

    • Our five-judge panel assesses each driver after every Grand Prix and scores them out of 10 according to their performance across the weekend – taking machinery out of the equation

    • Our experts’ scores are then averaged out to produce a race score – with those scores then tallied up across the season on our overall Power Rankings Leaderboard (at the bottom of the page)

    OUR BRITISH GP TOP 10

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    Cripes alive, Lewis Hamilton is a hard man to beat. This is a driver who can spin in Q2 and then set two laps in Q3 both good enough for pole position. And a driver who led comfortably for 99.9% of the race, and yet still managed win despite a tyre letting go with over two miles of Silverstone left to negotiate, Hamilton judging his pace to perfection on the stricken rubber to take his third win in a row. This, too, is Hamilton’s third straight race at the top of the Power Rankings. Ominously good.

    VIDEO: Watch and listen to Hamilton ‘fight for survival’ on last lap of British GP

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    ‘Taking machinery out of the equation’ is the key phrase that underscores our Power Rankings, and on that basis, Charles Leclerc’s performance at Silverstone – in a Ferrari SF1000 that looked extremely hard to drive in the hands of four-time champion, and two-time Silverstone winner, Sebastian Vettel – may have been one of his best in Formula 1 yet, as the Monegasque secured his second podium of 2020.

    READ MORE: Leclerc thrilled with British Grand Prix podium, but admits P3 finish was ‘lucky’

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    Daniel Ricciardo had felt that big points were coming his way at some point in 2020, and he got them at Silverstone. It would have been nice to see Ricciardo being a bit more, er, Ricciardo in clearing the Haas of Romain Grosjean slightly quicker than he did. But he made amends after that, closing up to the McLarens and forcing them to use up their rubber, meaning he could pick off Lando Norris with three laps to go, before inheriting fourth place when Carlos Sainz’s tyre went. A nicely judged race from the Australian.

    READ MORE: Ricciardo hails ‘top 6’ pace of R.S.20 at Silverstone as he finishes just 1.1s off the podium

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    There’s a bittersweet quality to how well Pierre Gasly’s been driving in 2020, given the trials and tribulations he suffered last year. But at Silverstone – a track he thrives at, and where he had his most convincing performance as a Red Bull driver in 2019 – he was really in fine form, as he went marauding in the latter half of the race, picking off a Ferrari and a Racing Point on genuine pace to end up a delighted P7 at the flag.

    READ MORE: Gasly hails P7 Silverstone drive as ‘one of my best races’

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    There’s not really much more Max Verstappen could have extracted from the British Grand Prix weekend. He said himself that third was the best he could get in qualifying, and got it. Then in the race, his pace was such that he was able to open out a pit stop’s worth of buffer over Leclerc while never letting the gap to the rampant Mercedes grow to more than 10s until his late pit stop – a fantastic effort in itself. Meanwhile, anyone saying that Red Bull threw away an easy win for the Dutchman clearly didn’t check where Valtteri Bottas or Carlos Sainz finished the race…

    READ MORE: ‘No guarantee Verstappen would have got to the end’, say Red Bull as they stand by pit stop decision

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    Had his tyre held on a few more laps, Carlos Sainz would likely have enjoyed his best result of the season at Silverstone. As it was, what looked to be the same issues that befell Hamilton and Bottas got him too, meaning he ended up P13. Before that, though, it had been a great performance from the Spaniard, who made up for being outqualified by team mate Lando Norris by passing him on Lap 1 before an energetic, fighty team leader’s drive.

    READ MORE: ‘Luck hasn't been with me' says Sainz after last-gasp tyre drama robs him of points at Silverstone

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    Whenever there’s bad luck to be had in the Mercedes camp, it seems Valtteri Bottas gets the worst of it, while his team mate somehow manages to find a way to still get a result. But tyre woes aside, Bottas’ performance in the British Grand Prix was entirely worthy, the Finn never allowing Hamilton to build a significant gap in the race, albeit never looking as though he was about to unleash a scintillating pass for the lead either. Despite Bottas’ best efforts, Hamilton now enjoys a 30-point advantage in the drivers’ standings over the Finn, who's getting on to the idea that Formula 1 can be a pretty cruel sport...

    READ MORE: Bottas tyre issue 'cruel' says Wolff as he suggests debris likely to blame

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    Lando Norris appears to be a bit magic on a Saturday, as he netted fifth place on the grid with a lap he described as one of his best in F1. Bedecked in his fan-designed helmet, he perhaps looked a quarter of a step behind Sainz in the race, but still drove well to be fifth at the flag, meaning that only once so far in 2020 has he finished outside of the top five.

    READ MORE: Norris surprised by ‘much better pace’ of Renaults at Silverstone

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    Russell, like Norris, looks to have the right stuff in qualifying, as he bagged his third successive Q2 appearance in 2020. And despite a grid penalty that meant he started last, Russell beavered away to make it to P12 by the chequered flag, leaving the first Silverstone race with the feeling that Williams are starting to get their race pace on a par with their quali pace. Points surely can’t be far off for George Russell... can they?

    READ MORE: Russell revels in Williams being 'on the attack' at Silverstone

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    There’s still a slight sense that Esteban Ocon is getting up to speed on his F1 return year, but the British Grand Prix was definitely a step in the right direction, the Frenchman enjoying a near race-long battle with the ‘stronger-on-paper’ Racing Point of Lance Stroll before securing his best race finish of 2020 – while our judges duly handed him his best score for the season too.

    READ MORE: I warned Stroll ‘I’m coming for you’ on the grid before British GP, jokes Ocon

    MISSING OUT

    Ah, Nico Hulkenberg, what might have been, eh? The German driver had a rollercoaster weekend after being called up as a late replacement for Sergio Perez – and despite not even racing one lap on Sunday, our judges were so impressed with how he acquitted himself across the weekend that they handed him the 11th best score of all, a 7.3 that left him comfortably ahead of Alex Albon, who scored a 6.6 after his strong recovery drive in what was otherwise a weekend to forget.

    THE OVERALL STANDINGS

    Charles Leclerc is the biggest leaderboard mover after the British Grand Prix, as the Monegasque rockets up the order into ninth, having been a lowly 17th after Hungary. Kevin Magnussen and Sergio Perez are the two drivers to drop out – Perez unsurprising as he was unable to compete – while Albon’s score was good enough to pull him back into the top 10.

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