Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, finally secured his first win in five races at the British Grand Prix after he served a 10 second penalty following an incident which retired Red Bull driver Max Verstappen.
Verstappen lined up on Pole Position after the Dutch driver beat his championship rival, Hamilton, to the top spot after Saturday’s inaugural Sprint Race.
After the first lap incident between Hamilton and Verstappen, the Dutch Red Bull driver was sent to a local hospital for precautionary checks after he endured a 51G impact with the barrier.
It was a great start for the two championship contenders, Verstappen and Hamilton. The Mercedes’ number 44 had the inside line as the two went into the first turn but Hamilton had to back out. However, as the field raced around to the Wellington Straight, Hamilton had a great exit and gained the slipstream from Verstappen’s leading Red Bull. As the duo sped towards Brooklands, the number 44 Mercedes gave the Red Bull room on the inside line as Hamilton was clearly ahead and had to remain behind Verstappen.
When the two ventured towards Copse, Hamilton was side-by-side with Verstappen but the Briton collected the Dutch driver’s rear right tyre as he understeered out of the corner. As a result, this sent Verstappen into the barrier and the Aston Martin safety car was deployed, briefly, before the race was red flagged.
Fortunately, Verstappen was moving around outside his wrecked RB16B but he was soon sent off to a local hospital for precautionary checks.
As the race restarted, Hamilton lined up in second and pointed his car towards the leading Ferrari of Charles Leclerc. However, as lights went out, Leclerc was able to maintain the lead of the race which he inherited after Hamilton’s and Verstappen’s crash. Despite Sebastian Vettel’s great efforts to put his AMR21 into P6, the German lit up his rear tyres on the exit of Luffield and sent his car into a spin and nearly ended up in the national pits.
After the fourth lap, after the race restarted on lap three, the Stewards issued Hamilton with a 10-second penalty after the earlier incident between himself and Verstappen.
Despite the fact Mercedes have a better car, Hamilton struggled to overtake Leclerc who remained in the lead of the British Grand Prix as the race ventured into lap 15. Due to the abnormal high temperatures at Silverstone, with a 30°c air temperature and a track temperature of 50°c, Hamilton struggled to follow closely to the Ferrari’s SF21.
However, Leclerc was soon faced with reliability issues as the Monegasque suffered a loss of power from his power unit. As a result, Hamilton nearly closed in a second from the Ferrari’s lead. Fortunately, the Italian outfit were able to resolve the issue.
As McLaren’s Lando Norris suffered a six second stop, on lap 22, Mercedes pulled the trigger on Valtteri Bottas’ mandatory pit stop. The Mercedes Finnish driver came in a lap later, on lap 23, and stopped for 2.2 seconds and managed to overcut Norris in the pit lane.
Hamilton finally served his 10 second penalty on the 28th lap of the British Grand Prix as he came into the pits to swap his medium tyres for the hard compound. The Briton was stationary for 14 seconds. However, he was able to get out comfortably ahead of Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly in P6, but behind Norris in P4.
In the closing stages of the race, Mercedes team orders came in to play as Bottas was told to allow Hamilton to pass, which he did as the Mercedes duo sped towards Stowe (turn 12), on lap 40. This set the number 44 Mercedes free to chase after Leclerc in a bid to win the Grand Prix.
Vettel became the second driver to retire from the race, after Verstappen, as the team ordered the German to box due to reliability issues.
It’s hammer time! Hamilton had chased down Leclerc who had been leading the race since the restart, and he could see the red rear wing of the Monegasque’s Ferrari by lap 46. By the end of the lap 48, the Mercedes Briton had closed the gap to just a second and a half.
With a similar move at Copse, which saw Verstappen crash out of the race on the first lap, Hamilton took the inside line in a bid to challenge Leclerc for the lead of the race, on lap 50. However, Leclerc remained ahead until he ran wide on the exit of the corner, this allowed Hamilton to snatch the lead with ease.
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – Driver of the Day
- Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)