When Valtteri Bottas pitted on lap 18, the Finn made up 1.1 seconds on the Red Bull in front as he attempted an undercut of his own, but it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t by a lot though and the clue to how close it would be up front came a few laps earlier as Daniel Ricciardo and Charles Leclerc made their stops. The Ferrari had been passed by Ricciardo on track but made his place back with incredible pace following a stop on lap 15.
Ricciardo also gained on those ahead and by the time Carlos Sainz and Pierre Gasly pitted and rejoined the following lap, the McLaren driver made up over 2sec to clear both, underlining just how powerful the undercut was.
Following Bottas’s stop, Hamilton was told to go around once more with around a 3sec gap in a strategy that may have worked a few seasons ago, but with the performance levels between Red Bull and Mercedes being as close as they are, left the door wide open for the Dutch driver to seize the lead and initiative in the race with a stellar out-lap.
Another costly strategic error on the Mercedes pit wall.
Stroll’s surge through the order
A torrid qualifying session meant Lance Stroll started from P19 having not set a time on Saturday but after Friday practice suggested Aston Martin’s race pace wasn’t strong at all, many would have been forgiven if they’d expected the green cars to trundle around outside the top 10 all race.
That was far from the case though on race day as the Silverstone team put together a fantastic race both on the pit wall and in the cockpit. Sebastian Vettel pulled some great moves on his way to a ninth place finish, but team-mate Stroll went even better to rise from his starting position to claim a point by the end.
Both Astons elected to start the race on the hard compound tyre, a move that proved to be the right call as the tyre degradation seen during the race was much higher than anyone expected, making the medium tyres too fragile for a one-stop for some teams.
The Canadian gained further places as others ahead pitted before he made his sole stop on lap 34 from sixth place and fed out into 14th. He then made up 14sec in the remaining 18 laps to overtake his way to a point on a strong afternoon for the team.