Friday, September 22, 2023

Max Verstappen wins the British Grand Prix

the dutch max verstappen (Red Bull) further increased his lead in the Formula One World Championship by winning the British Grand Prix this Sunday, the tenth of the championship, which was held at the Silverstone circuit (England); where the Spanish Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) and Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) finished seventh and tenth, respectively.

Verstappen, 25 years old and who clearly points to a third title in a row, signed his forty-third victory in F1, the eighth of the season and the sixth in a row, by winning -with a fast lap included- the British Grand Prix ahead of two Englishmen, Lando Norris (McLaren), who finished second; and the seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), who accompanied them on the podium of a race in which the Mexican Sergio Perez (Red Bull) He returned to lead the comeback, finishing sixth after having started fifteenth.

Being increasingly clear that only a tragedy separates the always voracious and talented ‘Mad Max’ from success, the local fans celebrated this Sunday the two places of honor they occupied, alongside the Dutch star, norris -that equaled his best result in F1– and hamiltonthat He was on the podium for the fourteenth time in a circuit in which no one equals his eight wins. Australian Oscar Piastri, by far the best rookie of the season, completed a sensational day for McLaren by finishing fourth and thereby signing his best result in his still short career in the premier class.

But the winner, once again, aboard the invincible RB19 designed by the stellar English engineer Adrian Newey -a true genius of aerodynamics- was Verstappen. that, for the moment, this year he wins eighty percent of the races in which he participates. A percentage that will still be able to improve, by far even, in the twelve races that remain before the World Cup closes, at the end of November, in Abu Dhabi.

This Sunday, the Austrian team, which will once again win the Constructors’ World Cup without problems, continued to shine its record. In 1988, McLaren, for which two legends such as the Frenchman Alain Prost and the Brazilian Ayrton Senna drove, won the first eleven races of the season. That mark is within a shot of one Red Bull, which this Sunday signed – adding that of the last test last year, which ‘Mad Max’ also won – its eleventh victory in a row.

The Dutch super-predator now leads with 255 points, 99 more than ‘Checo’ and with a 118 advantage over the Asturian double world champion; who advanced two places and did enough to finish seventh on a circuit with fast corners that choked, again, Aston Martin.

Absolutely no one would have bet on anything other than a victory for Verstappen; that he ‘warmed up’ on Friday by leading the two free practice time tables and that he had signed his twenty-seventh ‘pole’ in the premier class on Saturday: the seventh of the course and the fifth in a row.

Since Verstappen eats apart; the qualification decided who would start behind him this Sunday. With changing conditions, she had been exciting and moving; and decided on an unusual grid, in which McLaren -who confirmed his great performance on Saturday in the race- had placed Norris second and Piastri -who without the ‘safety car’ that went out on track this Sunday would surely have been on the podium-, third.

Behind the Monegasque Ferrari were ordered charles leclerc and of Carlos -winner a year ago and fifth in qualifying- and the Mercedes of George Russell -fifth this Sunday- and Hamilton.

Alonso started ninth, next to the Frenchman Pierre Gasly; and behind the Thai Alex Albon, who ended up crowning, with eighth place, a good weekend in the festivities that commemorate the 800th Grand Prix of his team, Williams; that they will really be fulfilled in Hungary, within two weeks, but that before the Emilia Romagna GP was suspended -because of the tragedy derived from the flood-, they were set for ‘their’ home test.

‘Czech’, after another unforgettable Saturday in which he was again eliminated in Q1, was looking for another comeback from fifteenth place -the same one from which he had risen to third in Austria-, and he succeeded, but it took time to start advancing through the group and had to settle for the sixth final place

The first twelve on the grid came out all with the medium tire except Russell, who did it with the soft one; and the German Nico Hülkenberg (Haas), who started with the hard ones.

Norris dared to question the authority of ‘Mad Max’ and passed him in a great start, in which the other McLaren, Piastri’s, almost also overtook him. Russell passed Sainz, sixth, ahead of Alonsowho had won a place when Hamilton went wide in the fourth of the 18 corners of the track that hosted, in 1950, the first race in the history of F1.

Verstappen put things back on track on the fifth of 52 laps, in which he passed Lando and took the lead of the race. Two before Sir Lewis overtook Alonso and placed himself between the two Spaniards; waiting for the light rain forecast to be confirmed; which did not come to pass. In a test in which not a few complained about the wind.

At 19 Leclerc stopped, to install the hard one and avoid an ‘undercut’ from Russell, which did not excessively degrade the soft one with which he had started. When Gasly continued to attack Alonso hard; and Verstappen began to mark fast laps.

A couple of laps later, Russell realized Carlos, much to the delight of Mercedes, from whose box Pep Guardiola followed the race, the brilliant coach from Santpedor who led Manchester City’s historic football ‘treble’ last season. Sainz stopped at 27 and put the hard. ‘Checo’, already in the points zone, installed the soft two laps later; when Russell put the middle, in a slow stop that brought him back onto the track behind Leclerc; to which, however, it took very little to pass.

In the 33 the engine of Kevin Magnussen’s Haas caught fire, for which a virtual ‘safety car’ was decreed, before the “real” safety car entered the track. Something that benefited Alonso, who had not stopped and took the opportunity to do so and put the soft with the shot to the finish line; and, above all, to Hamilton, who did the same and returned to the track third, behind Max and Lando, threatened by the soft tire carried by Sir Lewis’s Mercedes.

Piastri was fourth, ahead of Russell and Alonso. Sainz -with the hard one- was circulating seventh, before facing a finish that left the Ferraris in the last two points places; still far from where they would like. With ‘Checo’, another of the beneficiaries of the safety car, eighth.

The ‘safety’ left with fourteen laps to go. Without the DRS, Norris defended himself as he could, but blocked Hamilton, so Verstappen said goodbye at the first exchange, heading for his eighty percent triumph so far this year.

Carlos, with the hard, lost position with ‘Checo’, with Albon and, finally, with Leclerc; that he would finish ninth, one place ahead of him. Hamilton tenaciously attacked a Norris who defended himself like a cat belly up and that, at the age of 23, he ended up climbing a podium in F1 for the seventh time; category in which he equaled his best result to date.

Alonso suffered from ‘Checo’ and with five laps to go he gave in to the Mexican, in a crazy finish in which there were several excesses of the track limits and in which a DRS train formed behind the Asturian double world champion; that he once again demonstrated that he has a computer on his head and that his hands are made of gold.

None could with him; and, on a track adverse to the performance of the green car -in which he celebrated two of his 32 victories in F1-, he once again optimized resources to finish seventh.

The great Asturian pilot will once again aim for his long-awaited victory ’33’ in two weekendsat the Hungaroring, home of the Hungarian Grand Prix: where, almost twenty years ago, he astonished the world by signing the first.


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