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10 issues we realized from F1’s 2021 British Grand Prix

Formulation 1, the British Grand Prix and a bought out Silverstone – it had the sensation of familiarity after the unknown and empty grandstands because the COVID-19 pandemic took maintain.

However the 2021 British GP was something however recognisable, beginning on the Thursday with the primary exhibiting of a full-scale 2022 F1 automotive mannequin after which a brand new weekend format which pivoted across the inaugural dash qualifying race.

All of it resulted in a dramatic and controversial victory for Lewis Hamilton after his lap one collision with Max Verstappen which despatched the F1 world championship chief right into a 51G influence with the tyre limitations.

Hamilton recovered from a 10-second time penalty for the incident to reel in shock chief Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and overtake him with simply two laps to go – maximising his benefit with Verstappen out and reducing the deficit within the standings to eight factors.

Whereas penalties and sportsmanship turned the foremost post-race speaking factors, it created a race weekend jammed with motion and memorable moments.

Listed here are 10 issues we realized from the 2021 British GP.

1. The primary main conflict of Hamilton vs Verstappen reveals true rivalry

Lewis Hamilton congratulates Max Verstappen after the Pink Bull driver’s dash race victory

Photograph by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Photographs

It’s simple to see why the Lewis Hamilton/Max Verstappen collision at Copse, which put the Pink Bull driver out in a scary, high-speed accident, is being described as ‘inevitable’ – as a result of, actually, it was.

They’ve already clashed as soon as in 2021 – at Imola. Then there was Verstappen’s divebomb in Spain, plus the ultra-on-the-line shut racing between them between Abbey and the method to Copse in each Silverstone races. However the motive why the grand prix conflict ended because it did is exactly due to the championship state of affairs Hamilton faces, in addition to the fierce nature of each driver’s on-track angle.

Hamilton got here into the British GP 33 factors down on Verstappen. This isn’t 2017-2021, when the Mercedes driver may afford to take a ‘large image’ championship-points-tally-consideration view in 50-50 strikes. He has extra to lose now if one thing goes incorrect, very important floor in a title battle the place he has a slower package deal, so merely can’t afford to provide an inch. And that’s Verstappen’s angle general – simply have a look at his response to Hamilton getting alongside at Abbey and Brooklands on Sunday.

Within the crash, Hamilton deserved a penalty for inflicting the incident, but it surely was nonetheless a fantastic name. Don’t count on this to be the final flashpoint of the 2021 title battle.

2. F1’s penalty system must be defined higher

Lewis Hamilton needed to sit stationary in his pitbox for 10s earlier than his mechanics may service him

Photograph by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Photographs

Pink Bull’s requires Lewis Hamilton to be given a race ban for his half within the opening-lap crash with Max Verstappen have been all the time going to fall on deaf ears.

However you may absolutely perceive its frustration that the 10-second penalty given to Lewis Hamilton for the conflict finally price the world champion nothing. Though it meant he needed to battle a bit tougher for the victory, he was nonetheless capable of come dwelling with the complete 25 factors.

Whereas that will appear unfair for Verstappen, who noticed his title benefit slashed massively, F1 is sort of proper to not dish out penalties primarily based on the implications of offences.

For doing it that method may open an excellent worse state of affairs the place drivers get heavy sanctions for comparatively minor rule breaches, however the e-book thrown at them when a tiny challenge has large penalties.

What maybe is most missing in F1 is definitely a definition of driving guidelines and etiquette – so followers are higher capable of decide incidents primarily based on the identical standards the stewards use. That will be massively useful in stopping the form of polarised opinions which have engulfed social media within the final 24 hours.

3. A spirited dash success, however the general verdict stays to be determined

Max Verstappen, Pink Bull Racing RB16B, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21, and the remainder of the sphere firstly

Photograph by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Photographs

Till the ill-fated conflict of the titans at Copse, the weekend’s greatest speaking level had been F1’s inaugural dash race (let’s name it what it was, we could?) which generated blended critiques.

From “bizarre” in keeping with Sebastian Vettel) to “I liked it” from Charles Leclerc, nearly all people had their opinion. Many welcomed the added pleasure it delivered to Fridays and the engineering problem of getting the set-up nailed in FP1, whereas others questioned the relevance of FP2 when the vehicles have been in parc ferme circumstances which meant evaluating tyres was the one possible motion.

OPINION: The successes and warning indicators from F1’s first dash race

The 17-lap distance allowed for variation in tyre methods which was seized upon by Fernando Alonso, whose star activate the delicate tyres undoubtedly enlivened the proceedings because the race for the highest 4 proved fairly static after the opening lap.

F1 now faces a call over whether or not to proceed its experiment past the 2 additional (as but unconfirmed) dash occasions deliberate for this season and, in that case, whether or not to make additional tweaks.

Sequence bosses are inspired by preliminary suggestions, and have an unspecified “job listing” to work by, however can not less than be happy that the format shake-up achieved what it got down to in constructing anticipation all through the weekend.

4. Two-day race weekends look reasonable choice to ease strain on rising F1 calendar

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, waves to followers after securing pole

Photograph by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Photographs

F1’s first dash race trial on the British Grand Prix could be considered as an general success. The increase in viewers figures on Friday, plus elevated curiosity for the Saturday 17-lap sprint that supplied just a few spills and thrills, have been precisely what F1 chiefs wished.

Certain there are some issues that want bettering – like the difficulty of Saturday’s last free-practice being just about of no curiosity to followers on TV – however that is only a case of tidying up moderately than ranging from a clear sheet of paper.

And, in fact, the earlier the FIA goes again to awarding pole place within the historical past books to the quickest driver in Friday qualifying, moderately than the winner of the dash, the higher issues shall be.

PLUS: Why F1’s pole data might be about to turn into meaningless

However the success of the compressed format has additionally reopened the talk on whether or not F1 truly wants to stay at three-day weekends. Hamilton urged a two-day schedule sooner or later can be the proper option to go.

It’s one thing that F1 has baulked at previously, and circuits will surely not be comfortable at dropping an additional day’s ticket gross sales. However may or not it’s one thing that proves preferable for some venues in change for holding certainly one of F1’s Grand Slam dash weekends?

5. F1 at its greatest with packed crowds as Silverstone roars once more

Followers cheer from the grandstands

Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Photographs

Questions over the deserves of letting a capability crowd – that totalled 365,000 at Silverstone over all the British GP weekend – collect throughout an ongoing pandemic ought to directed to the UK authorities, with the monitor itself understandably simply attempting to remain afloat in these terrible occasions. However the followers in attendance have been handled to an distinctive sporting occasion.

Friday night time qualifying produced two distinctive shows from British drivers in entrance their dwelling followers, with the response to George Russell’s Q3 lap the spotlight for this author given how the Williams racer was cheered from corner-to-corner. Then the dash race delivered properly when it comes to an attention-grabbing race, even when it wasn’t the all-out thriller some claimed. However it did arrange a grand prix that fizzled spectacularly all through – capped by the title rivals colliding and Leclerc almost holding on for a well-known against-the-odds victory.

However there’s an attention-grabbing footnote to Hamilton’s victory. Autosport was instructed there have been loads of new, youthful followers seen at Silverstone – with an obvious enhance in feminine spectators too.

Drive to Survive followers: In defence of a worthwhile F1 asset

It will likely be attention-grabbing to see if this may be backed up in official knowledge, however even anecdotally it suggests the ‘Netflix impact’, in addition to Hamilton’s laudable efforts to assist diversify motorsport are having an influence. And what a race they have been handled to, hopefully cementing lifelong motorsport fan standing.

6. Leclerc demonstrates Ferrari’s resurgence

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photograph by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Photographs

Leclerc was unbelievably near a shock victory on the British GP, however there wasn’t fairly sufficient within the tank to repel Hamilton’s late assault for the lead. However Leclerc had been stellar, and his opportunistic transfer to clear Hamilton moments after the Verstappen incident rewarded him with the higher hand for the restart.

PLUS: How Leclerc virtually defied Hamilton after F1 title rivals’ Silverstone conflict

His getaway from the pole spot and subsequent managing of the hole to Hamilton have been extremely well-judged and, regardless of dealing with engine cut-out points whereas within the lead, Leclerc was capable of climate the storm and discover sufficient in reserve to maintain Hamilton at bay. The seven-time champion’s restoration post-penalty, nevertheless, was an excessive amount of for Leclerc to withstand and his slight extensive second at Copse was the one blot on the Monegasque’s copybook.

In the meantime, Carlos Sainz Jr’s restoration within the dash and continued progress within the race additionally confirmed the tempo of the Ferrari within the pack, though his ascent was halted by a sluggish pitstop. That dropped him behind Daniel Ricciardo, whose McLaren proved to be a tricky cookie to overhaul.

Nonetheless, Ferrari has confirmed vastly improved type after a disastrous Paul Ricard race, and the upcoming Hungarian GP might be a race during which the Scuderia actually shines.

7. Perez suffers like these earlier than him in Pink Bull’s second seat

Sergio Perez, Pink Bull Racing, and Max Verstappen, Pink Bull Racing, on the grid, forward of the 2022 Formulation 1 automotive unveiling

Photograph by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Photographs

Sergio Perez appeared to have the Pink Bull assist function nailed after selecting up the items to win in Baku after which declare a deserved podium on the subsequent race at Paul Ricard.

However after being within the wars in Austria in opposition to McLaren’s Lando Norris and Leclerc, Perez’s efficiency within the British GP had shades of the struggles Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon endured earlier than the Mexican got here to Pink Bull’s rescue.

It have to be mentioned it’s all the way down to fantastic margins, however qualifying behind Leclerc on Friday night time set the wheels in movement for Perez’s downward spiral. Trapped within the midfield battle firstly of the feisty dash race, he was caught out by soiled air and spun off, to be condemned to the again of the grid for the primary occasion.

Regardless of Pink Bull F1 automotive tweaks made in a bid to assist his retaliation within the grand prix, but in addition which means a pitlane begin, Perez was making progress till he bought caught in DRS trains after which bought impatient and collided with Kimi Raikkonen.

A P10 end was nearly as good because it was going to get till Pink Bull sacrificed that solitary level to pit Perez for softs to take the quickest lap level away from Hamilton – although ending exterior of the highest 10 meant he would not earn the purpose himself.

PLUS: British Grand Prix Driver Rankings

Perez has slipped again to fifth place within the standings and is ready to play ‘who could be one of the best assist driver’ in opposition to Valtteri Bottas for the remainder of the 12 months.

8. Previous canine Alonso makes essentially the most of recent tips

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M, and Sergio Perez, Pink Bull Racing RB16B

Photograph by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Photographs

Alonso demonstrated he’s misplaced none of his racecraft together with his beautiful begin to the dash. The Alpine driver’s cost from eleventh to fifth was aided by his delicate tyre gamble, however the TV onboard footage was harking back to the previous Alonso – carving by the pack and discovering gaps few others can.

As his softs pale and left him seventh for the beginning of the primary occasion, the double world champion held his nerve in opposition to an early assault from Vettel, earlier than his previous rival spun off on his inside at Woodcote, and went on to take seventh to increase his points-scoring run to a fifth race.

The British GP marks Alonso’s final race earlier than his turns 40 and after a gradual begin to his F1 comeback, slowed by his pre-season coaching accident and adapting to his Alpine environment, he feels more energizing and prepared – a warning that the previous canine has realized new tips.

PLUS: Why the F1 title-winning Alonso is again, each on and off-track

“After the accident firstly of the 12 months, within the first couple of races, there was nonetheless part of the stress of coming again to the game. I used to be involved concerning the jaw, concerning the shoulder as nicely that I had the small damage with,” Alonso mentioned after the British GP. “However now, I am tremendous match and I’m 200%.

“Subsequent week is one other quantity. So we’ll eat some cake. However aside from that, it will be a really regular weekend. I really feel 25. So no matter quantity it says within the passport it is not what I really feel.”

9. Williams progress clear however Russell is making the distinction

George Russell, Williams, waves to followers from Parc Ferme after Qualifying

Photograph by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Photographs

Hamilton’s qualifying triumph on Friday stole the headlines, however one of many greatest cheers from the group was reserved for Russell’s lap of honour in his one and solely Q3 run.

The Williams driver made the ultimate section of qualifying for the third race in a row with the eighth quickest time, elevating questions over whether or not the FW43B ought to be thought-about a Q3 automotive henceforth.

The group’s head of car efficiency Dave Robson reckoned it was “a bit of too early to say whether or not that is going to be one thing that is an everyday incidence”, admitting he anticipated Williams would discover it tougher than in Austria however the “very calm circumstances” on Friday night performed to the automotive’s strengths. Regardless of the Hungaroring requiring a very totally different set-up, Robson predicts “there is a good probability we’ll be there or there abouts”.

However even when it’s not, Russell could be counted on to make the distinction. Whereas his weekend went downhill after qualifying – a first-lap tangle within the dash with Sainz resulted in a “harsh” three-place grid penalty for the grand prix that he couldn’t recuperate from in opposition to vehicles that stay faster in race-trim – Russell is within the type of his life proper now.

“I feel there’s a component for him of getting on that upward spiral,” defined Robson.

The query now could be, how excessive can it go?

10. What the 2022 F1 present automotive hints at

The 2022 Formulation 1 automotive launch occasion on the Silverstone grid

Photograph by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Photographs

Though F1’s imaginative and prescient for 2022 has been lengthy outlined after the revealing of the all-new laws (initially deliberate for 2021) again in 2019, the championship’s promoters unveiled a full-size mannequin of its interpretation of subsequent 12 months’s chargers.

In fact, it got here with all of the bells and whistles anticipated for subsequent 12 months: the low-slung nostril straight hooked up to the entrance wing, the simplified bodywork and give attention to ground-effect aerodynamics all featured on the automotive wrapped in a particular holographic livery.

That being mentioned, there have been just a few small variations between the bodily mannequin and the render, notably across the entrance finish; the nostril tip sat in the course of the main entrance wing factor, moderately than protruding past them, hinting on the variation the groups can make use of. Though F1 elected to select a illustration of subsequent 12 months’s guidelines largely primarily based on aesthetics, it will possibly solely be anticipated that the groups will take a extra pragmatic view of the principles and won’t essentially persist with the spirit of them.

There is a higher give attention to prescribed designs and single-spec parts to chop prices and develop the aero impact that F1 has studied and earmarked as the best way ahead for nearer on-track racing, however these results will certainly be a bit of diluted in the case of the precise vary of vehicles subsequent 12 months.

Regardless, it is an thrilling new path for F1; though some have questioned the need of the brand new guidelines as 2021 continues to intrigue us all, the British GP nonetheless confirmed the difficulties of racing throughout the present degree of soiled air. The brand new guidelines ought to cut back that downside, ought to every thing go to plan.

By Alex Kalinauckas, Jonathan Noble, James Newbold, Jake Boxall-Legge and Haydn Cobb

Drivers group photograph with the 2022 F1 automotive

Photograph by: Liberty Media

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