After the highs of victory on home soil last weekend in Austria, the Team’s local race was a frustrating affair, with Daniel finishing fifth and with Max’s race ending after 46 laps.
The Bulls opened brightly with fifth-on-the-grid Max, climbing to third and Daniel slotting into fourth place in a dramatic start that saw Sebastian Vettel snatch the lead as polesitter Lewis Hamilton got away badly. Hamilton was then tagged by third-placed starter Kimi Räikkönen in Turn 3, and after spinning off the Mercedes driver dropped to P17, leaving the way clear for Max and Daniel to move forward.
Räikkönen snatched fourth place from Daniel at the end of the first lap, however, and Daniel settled into fifth as the first stint found a rhythm.
At the front Vettel was pulling away from second-placed Valtteri Bottas and Max and by lap 10 the German had a six-second cushion to the chasing pack.
Further back, Hamilton was scything through the field and by lap 10 the Briton was back up to sixth place, 13.0s behind Daniel.
Räikkönen, though, was handed a 10-second time penalty for causing the collision with Hamilton at the start and on lap 13 the Finn pitted to serve the penalty and to then take on medium tyres for his second stint.
That briefly pushed Daniel back to fourth place, but the Team soon decided to bring both Max and Daniel in for new tyres, with Max pitting on lap 17 for medium tyres and Daniel repeating the move a lap later. Vettel and Bottas then made their initial stops and the order now saw the championship leader first, with Bottas second and Hamilton, who needed to pit, in third place. Max was now fourth ahead of Daniel and Räikkönen who had recovered from his penalty-induced drop to P10 to sit in sixth place.
Hamilton finally pitted on lap 25 and emerging in P6 it looked like Max, in third, and Daniel, in fourth, might be battling for another podium finish. However, the complexion of the race quickly changed. First, Daniel pitted for a second time on lap 30, taking on soft tyres, and then on the next lap Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson crashed heavily at Abbey, a smash that brought out the Safety Car for the first time.
Our race in numbers:
- 10 – Career fifth places for Daniel now. It’s far from his most regular finishing spot. That honour goes to the final step on podium, with Daniel finish third 16 times.
- 65 – points from the triple header. Only Ferrari scored more across the three weekends. We’re now on 199 points.
Vettel, Max and Räikkönen elected to pit for softs under the caution, while Bottas and Hamilton stayed out. Daniel, whose stop had just preceded the Ericsson crash, was left to rue the timing of the SC period. Bottas now led from Vettel, Hamilton, Max, Räikkönen and Daniel.
The re-start saw Bottas hold the lead but the SC was swiftly back on track due to a collision between Renault’s Carlos Sainz and Haas’ Romain Grosjean.
When the action resumed again Bottas once more controlled matters well, but he soon came under pressure from Vettel.
Further back Max was also coming under pressure on two fronts, from Räikkönen and also from a brake issue. The dutchman went off track through Chapel on lap 42 and the Finn was able to get passed. Max then spun off track under braking and dropped to P12 before being forced to retire from the race with brake-by-wire problems.
Daniel thus moved up to fifth place and on lap 46 Vettel finally managed to get past Bottas to retake the lead. The Finn then swapped places with Hamilton on the next tour, and when Räikkönen passed his compatriot for third place on lap 48 the order was set.
Behind Daniel, Nico Hulkenberg was sixth for Renault, while Esteban Ocon took seventh for Force India ahead of McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly.
British Grand Prix - Race - Top 10:
- Sebastian Vettel
- Lewis Hamilton
- Kimi Räikkönen
- Valterri Bottas
- DANIEL RICCIARDO
- Nico Hülkenberg
- Esteban Ocon
- Fernando Alonso
- Kevin Magnussen
- Sergio Perez
DNF - MAX VERSTAPPEN