Lewis Hamilton returns to a familiar spot in F1, Victory Lane

After two and a half years away, Lewis Hamilton returned to the top step of the podium to win a remarkable ninth British Grand Prix and to set a new record for the most victories at a single event Sunday.

In tricky, mixed conditions at Silverstone, seven-time champion Hamilton put in a finely judged drive to navigate rain showers, critical tire choices and to hold off a later charge by Max Verstappen to take his 104th win in Formula 1 and his first since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

“I can’t stop crying,” said a visibly emotional Hamilton afterwards. “I think, it’s been since 2021, just, every day getting up, trying to fight, to train… I’m very grateful to everyone in this team, everyone at Mercedes, and all of our partners. And I just want to say thank you to all of you for being here with us today. And then otherwise to all our incredible fans. I could see you lap by lap as I was coming around, and there’s just no greater feeling than to finish at the front here.”

When the lights went out at the start, polesitter George Russell got away well to take the lead ahead of Hamilton. Verstappen also made a good start and as Norris struggled for grip off the front row, the Dutchman snatched third as they swept through Turns 3 and 4. Behind the top four, Mclaren’s Oscar Piastri held fifth but Nico Hülkenberg dropped from sixth down to ninth as Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc jumped up to P8 from 11th on the grid.

With rain on the horizon and with drivers carefully managing the life of their starting tyres in case they needed a long stint ahead of the wet weather, the order at the front froze. By lap 14 Russell was 1.5 seconds clear of Hamilton, while Verstappen, struggling for pace, had allowed the gap to the Mercedes cars to grow to 4.5s. Norris was just under a second behind the Red Bull with Piastri still in fifth ahead of the Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Leclerc.

On lap 15 Norris closed in and on the run to Stowe he powered past Verstappen to retake third place. The Red Bull driver’s pace was now flagging and on lap 17 Piastri made the same move into Stowe and Verstappen slid to fifth as the rain began to fall across Silverstone.

At the front, Russell was beginning to struggle in the increasingly treacherous conditions and on lap 18 Hamilton roared past his team-mate to take the lead. Russell tried to fight back with the result that at the start of lap 19 both went off at Turn 1. That allowed Norris to slip past Russell and on the following lap the McLaren driver muscled past Hamilton on the pit straight to take the lead.

The McLarens now appeared to have huge amounts of grip in hand and as Norris began to stretch ahead, Piastri powered past both Mercedes to rise to second place.

Further back, Ferrari gambled on heavier rain arriving sooner than expected and they pitted Leclerc for Intermediate tires. It was replicated by Red Bull, who fancied the idea of heavy rain vaulting 16th-placed Sergio Pérez up the order, but as the rain abated both were severely hindered by the slower Inters, and their chances of major points disappeared.

As second, heavier shower eventually arrived and Verstappen and Sainz seized the moment, pitting for Intermediate tires ahead of the pack. Norris then pitted from the lead at the end of lap 27, followed by both Mercedes. That briefly propelled Piastri into the lead on Medium tires, but the Australian pitted on the following lap and when he came out he dropped back to sixth place.

Russell, slowed by being the second car in a stacked Mercedes stop also lost time and after the changes, Norris led ahead of Hamilton with Verstappen in third with Russell now in fourth ahead of Sainz. However, Russell’s race went from annoyance to furious exit soon after. On lap 34 the Mercedes was given the message to box and retire his car due to a water system issue. The Briton’s exit boosted Sainz to fourth, nine seconds behind Verstappen

As the race entered its final third, the conditions began to improve and that sparked a move back to slick tires.

On lap 38, Hamilton and Verstappen made their moves with the Mercedes driver taking Softs and Max moving to Hard tires. Norris, though, stayed out, and the delay cost the McLaren driver dearly. Slower on his in-lap and then slow in the pits as he overshot his marks, Norris rejoined just as Hamilton swept through to take the lead once more.

It was Verstappen, though, who appeared to have made the best call. With 11 laps to go the champion was just 2.7s behind Norris but surprisingly lapping much quicker than the Soft tire pair ahead of him.

Over the next seven laps, the Red Bull driver stalked Norris and on lap 48 he outdragged Norris down the Hangar Straight before sweeping past the McLaren around the outside through Stowe.

Verstappen began to chase down Hamilton and with three laps to go he was just three seconds off the leader. However, although the Red Bull driver managed to halve the gap, Hamilton held on to take a stunning ninth British Grand Prix win and the new record for most wins at a single circuit.

“It’s so tough, but I think the important thing is just how you continue to get up and you’ve got to continue to dig deep even when you feel like you’re at the bottom of the barrel,” said Hamilton afterwards. “I mean, there’s definitely been days between 2021 and here where I didn’t feel like I was good enough or whether I was going to get back to where I am today. But the important thing is I had great people around me continuing to support me. And my team, every time I turn up and see them putting in the effort that really encouraged me to do the same thing.”

Behind Norris, Piastri took fourth ahead of Sainz and Haas’ Nico Hülkenberg, while Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso took seventh and eighth respectively. Alex Albon took ninth place for Williams and the final point on offer went to RB’s Yuki Tsunoda.


F1 British GP Results

Pos No Driver Car Laps Time/Retired PTS
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 52 1:22:27.059 25
2 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT 52 +1.465s 18
3 4 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes 52 +7.547s 15
4 81 Oscar Piastri McLaren Mercedes 52 +12.429s 12
5 55 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 52 +47.318s 11
6 27 Nico Hulkenberg Haas Ferrari 52 +55.722s 8
7 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes 52 +56.569s 6
8 14 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes 52 +63.577s 4
9 23 Alexander Albon Williams Mercedes 52 +68.387s 2
10 22 Yuki Tsunoda RB Honda RBPT 52 +79.303s 1
11 2 Logan Sargeant Williams Mercedes 52 +88.960s 0
12 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 52 +90.153s 0
13 3 Daniel Ricciardo RB Honda RBPT 51 +1 lap 0
14 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 51 +1 lap 0
15 77 Valtteri Bottas Kick Sauber Ferrari 51 +1 lap 0
16 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault 50 +2 laps 0
17 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT 50 +2 laps 0
18 24 Zhou Guanyu Kick Sauber Ferrari 50 +2 laps 0
NC 63 George Russell Mercedes 33 DNF 0
NC 10 Pierre Gasly Alpine Renault 0 DNS 0

Note – Sainz scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race.


Greg Engle