2019 British Grand Prix: The Rookie Report

by Ed Spencer

The 2019 Formula 1 British Grand Prix will go down as one of the better races at Silverstone, stacked full of thrills, spills and great wheel to wheel combat. As for F1’s rookies, all four came away from Silverstone with zero points despite good qualifying performances for Lando Norris and Alexander Albon who both reached Q3.

In the race itself, Norris and Albon lost out through the safety car coming out following Antonio Giovinazzi‘s frightening moment at the chicane, opposite the pit entrance when his Alfa Romeo’s rear end brakes locked up causing him to suffer a high-speed spin off of the circuit and into the gravel trap, whilst George Russell drove sensibly to secure his best result to date in Formula 1.


LANDO NORRIS | MCLAREN F1 TEAM

QUALIFIED: EIGHTH | RACE: ELEVENTH


Credit: McLaren Media Centre

Coming into Silverstone, F1’s resident meme lord and certified milk lover was on a roll of good point-scoring finishes and approached the race on the verge of making it a hat-trick of top ten finishes.

In qualifying, Norris out-qualified his more experienced teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. for the fourth consecutive race and was the best placed of the rookies on the grid.

On race day, Norris was cheered on by a banner celebrating the contract renewal of Silverstone and the British Grand Prix until 2024, with the usage of the quote ‘You Mean Like Forever?’ which was later acknowledged by Norris on Twitter

At the start of the race, Norris got off the grid well and began to challenge Pierre Gasly for sixth as they approached Village, but Norris ending up losing the fight to the much-maligned Frenchman before coming under attack from Daniel Ricciardo as they approached the old start & finish straight.

The pair battled into the Maggots and Becketts complex with Norris retaining his seventh position and forcing Ricciardo to back off.

But it was downhill from then on in, with Ricciardo getting the jump in the pits, the safety car put the first nail in the coffin in the hunt for points, with Norris swarmed by both Renault drivers and Albon at the restart, before falling out of the points completely after his second stop with Norris finish in eleventh.

Norris will be hoping to regain momentum when the F1 circus goes to Germany in two weeks time.


ALEXANDER ALBON | SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO

QUALIFIED: TENTH | RACE: TWELFTH


Credit:Red Bull content pool and Peter Fox of Getty Images

Alexander Albon’s hopes of ending his points drought at Silverstone came and went when the safety car was brought out whilst the marshals were retrieving Giovinazzi’s beached Alfa Romeo.

The Brit-Thai driver was having a strong weekend after equaling his best ever qualifying position of tenth and was running comfortably in his grid position, and even ran as high as ninth spot whilst his F2 rival Norris was being chased by the Renault drivers of Hulkenberg and Ricciardo.

The safety car ended Albon’s hopes of ending his points drought, as drivers behind Albon came into making their stops, whilst the Britsh-Thai driver stayed out and stopped later in the race, dropping him to twelfth and out of the points.

Silverstone extends Albon’s pointless run to four races and puts him down in fifteenth in the driver’s championship and five points behind his Toro Rosso teammate Daniil Kvyat.


GEORGE RUSSELL | WILLIAMS RACING

QUALIFIED: NINETEENTH | RACE: FOURTEENTH


Credit: Williams media

Silverstone promised to be another tough weekend for Russell, but there were reasons to be optimistic after a solid drive to fourteenth in what has been Russell’s best Formula 1 weekend to date.

Qualifying was again the usual standard fare of what seems to be a season ticket for the back row of the grid where he once again out-qualified his more experienced teammate Robert Kubica by +0.468.

On raceday Russell would spend the first half of the race at the back end of the pack in sixteenth with the Brit making progress through the field courtsey of other cars falling by the wayside.

In the latter stages of the race, Russell would rapidly move up the order to secure his best result of the season in fourteenth after through driving cleanly, and keeping a cool head whilst other more experienced drivers were losing theirs.

Russell heads into Germany still without a point in his maiden season, but the Brit will have hope that things could be on the up for him, Kubica, and Williams as F1 approaches the second half of the season.


ANTONIO GIOVINAZZI | ALFA ROMEO RACING

QUALIFIED: ELEVENTH | RACE: DID NOT FINISH


Credit: Sauber Group.

After the euphoria of Austria, Silverstone was another ‘what if’ weekend for Giovinazzi, whose race ended with the Italian taking an early bath with just over a quarter of the race gone.

Qualifying had been a solid yet unspectacular so far this season for Giovinazzi, but at Silverstone, he was able to out-qualify teammate Kimi Raikkonen for only the fourth time this season, however he was narrowly knocked out of qualifying by Sebastian Vettel in the dying minutes of Q2.

In the race, Giovinazzi made a poor start, and subsequently lost four places in the opening five laps of the race, where fell as low as sixteenth on track.

With some drivers ahead making pitstops Giovinazzi made his way slowly up the order despite him yet to make his pitstop, before a spin down on the exit of Vale, opposite the pits halted his charge and brought out the safety car.

Silverstone marks the first race that Giovinazzi has failed to finish this season, and sees him languishing in eighteenth spot in the drivers standings as the series heads to Germany. The Italian must up his game to banish all worries of his seat being taken by one of Ferrari’s young guns.

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