The most recent race of the 2020 Formula One race is outlined by our correspondent Nick van der Meulen in his report F1 Review Britain 2021.

The British F1 Grand Prix is special for Britons, but it is also special for fans who like the historical side of the sport. The first Grand Prix as part of the Formula One World Championship was staged at Silverstone in 1950, a circuit built on an old airfield used in World War II.

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New format

The formula has since gone from strength to strength and it is, again, at the British Grand Prix where we see a significant change to the format with the introduction of a sprint race. The sprint race has been devised in the hope that racing will be more exciting and its result will form the grid for the race proper. This idea will take place at two other events in the 2021 season. Read more about sprint qualifying here.

Quali on Friday

World championship leader Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing-Honda) looked strong in Free Practice 1, but lost out to reigning world champion (and seven-time British GP winner) Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) in qualifying for the sprint race. As it has been for the entire season thus far, the two were the class of the field. The other two Brits on the grid, Lando Norris (McLaren-Mercedes) and George Russell (Williams-Mercedes) both had good qualifying sessions leading up to the sprint race, with Russell impressing again by charging to eighth place on the grid.

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Dash to the line

The inaugural sprint race saw Verstappen get the drop over his archrival at the start, charging into the lead with the Englishman trying valiantly to wrest the lead away from him. It was not to be and the Dutchman cruised to victory, claiming three points and pole position for the main race. Hamilton finished second ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas, Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and the two McLarens of Norris and Daniel Ricciardo.

Fernando Alonso (Alpine) showed the world that he still had the tenacity and race craft to be in F1, however, his consistent weaving across the circuit is hardly the behaviour of a world champion. Russell had a strong drive to ninth place, but was penalised three positions for punting Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) off the circuit on the first lap. Sergio Perez (Red Bull Racing-Honda) had a nightmare sprint race, running off track and almost hitting the wall and being retired from the race on the final lap. He was to start the main race last.

Drama at the start

The main race began with huge drama, as Hamilton went in deep on the brakes into Copse corner at the end of the first lap in an attempt to wrest the lead from Verstappen. The Dutchman attempted to take the racing line, while his English rival missed the apex and the two made contact. Verstappen careened into the tyre wall (51 G), but managed to hobble away unscathed. The incident forced the race to be stopped such that the damaged area could be repaired. Hamilton was penalised a 10-second time penalty for his transgression.

Ferrari in front

Charles Leclerc took the lead at the restart and maintained his lead until two laps from the end, despite having engine issues (later reported as engine mapping issues) throughout the race. In the dying stages, the Monegasque just did not have the pace to fight off Hamilton, who dove on the inside under brakes into Copse, charging to his 99th victory and eighth at Silverstone.

Bottas finished a respectable third (without a drinks bottle), after managing to get past Norris in the pit stops after McLaren botched his stop, the Englishman chasing him to the chequered flag. Teammate Ricciardo crossed the finish line fifth ahead of Sainz, who recovered well after a disastrous stop by his Ferrari team on Lap 29.

Alonso finished a fine seventh, Lance Stroll (Aston Martin-Mercedes) claimed some points for his team for eighth after teammate Vettel spun out early on, Esteban Ocon (Alpine) finished ninth, while Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri-Honda) beat teammate Pierre Gasly to the final point on offer.

Next round

The F1 circus moves to Hungaroring, Hungary, for the last round of the world championship before the summer break. It is one of the slowest circuits on the calendar and does not stand out as a venue with many overtaking opportunities. Generally, as in Monaco, the driver who claims pole position will be difficult to beat on race day.