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Formula 1 British GP

Red Bull's explanation for "very weird" British GP

F1's top teams McLaren, Mercedes and Red Bull all proved quickest at different points of what Red Bull calls a "very weird" British GP

The fluctuating speed of Formula 1's top three teams in the British Grand Prix left many scratching their heads to work out how it was Lewis Hamilton who triumphed for Mercedes.

After a season that had Red Bull dominant at the start before McLaren emerged more recently with what many believe was now F1's faster car, Mercedes' turn to shine at Silverstone was a bit of a surprise.

But more baffling than Mercedes emerging on top was the way that the pace of the different cars varied through the grand prix itself – with the German manufacturer, Red Bull and McLaren all being dominant at various stages when the rain arrived and then dispersed.

As Red Bull team principal Christian Horner explained: "It was a very weird race."
He added: "I think if anybody can explain the pace of their car [the Mercedes] they would be doing very well because it seemed to move around.

"The Mercedes has always been strong in the cooler conditions, and they looked to have things pretty much in control.

"Then Lewis came alive as it started to rain, and then the McLaren really came alive and passed both of us. So, it was moving around depending on what was going on.

"In those conditions, you'd expect Max to then really come alive as well, but he was struggling at that point.

Watch: British GP Race Review - Hamilton Returns To The Top

"Then, as the circuit started to dry out, the pace arrived back and we were at times six, seven-tenths a lap quicker than Lewis and Lando [Norris]."

While engineers will now be poring over the race data to try to get a better understanding of the performance elements at play, Horner has his own theory about what was influencing things.

"I think it's all about tyres," he said. "I think it's all about the tyre working at a certain point in time, a certain condition – whether it's hot or cold.

"Different cars are working the tyres in different ways, and you saw an extremity of that as the circuit went from damp to wet and back to dry."

It is an idea that his competitors also believe explains why the pace of the cars shuffled around so much at different stages of the race.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said: "We were really controlling the pace at the beginning, and it was very encouraging.

"Then it started to rain, and you could see the massive performance at McLaren. They were simply in the sweet spot of the tyre.

"But we came back. And then under other conditions, I think we had it under control."

For McLaren itself, the pace of the top three teams at Silverstone was a source of interest – especially because it is coming off a run of races where people have labelled its MCL38 as the class of the field.

In fact, team boss Andrea Stella thinks that the British GP may have marked a change of the guard in terms of who now is on top in F1.

"There's this narrative around that McLaren has the best car, but I think we make good use of it, right?" said Stella.

"I would like to emphasise the good work of the people that prepare the car. We come to practice sessions and the car performs well. and we build well through the weekend.

"But we saw [in the British GP] that it is not necessarily that we have the fastest car. Because in the first stint where things were pretty regular, Mercedes, they were going!

"It's part of the positives. I think the team are working very well and when you race for the front positions, it just becomes much more visible when you still have some work to do."

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