Hamilton took a popular victory at his home Grand Prix despite a collision with his main championship rival on the first lap. Verstappen retired without points, giving Hamilton a huge gain in the championship. Leclerc almost took a sensational victory but was denied with 3 laps to go.
Chaos at Copse
Hamilton was immediately challenging Verstappen and was unable to find his way past into turn 1. The battling continued all the way through sector 2 until the two had a colossal collision coming into copse corner. Verstappen slammed into the barrier at near full speed while Hamilton was able to continue.
The red flag was called and the session was stopped. It was at least 15 minutes before the stricken Red Bull was removed from the barrier.
35 minutes later, the session was set to restart, but no ruling had been given on the incident.
Leclerc started 1st on the standing restart, after managing to find a way past amidst the chaos from earlier.
Leclerc stormed from the lead and Hamilton maintained 2nd. Behind, Norris lunged into 3rd ahead of Bottas, who was now having to defend from Ricciardo. However, the Australian driver soon had smoke pouring from his engine.
Hamilton was awarded a 10 second penalty for the incident with Verstappen. This would have to be served in the pits, but was a huge blow for the Briton.
At 10 laps, Hamilton was unable to break the DRS of Lecelrc in front and behind, Norris was maintaining the gap.
The action petered out before the first stops as the drivers attempted to maintain their tyres for open strategy choice. Leclerc remained ahead of the DRS gap, but there was no certainty in the result for any of the drivers.
On lap 17, Leclerc started to suffer with engine difficulties, Hamilton had now broken DRS territory and started hounding the back of the Ferrari. Leclerc had to change modes during the race, which gave him back to back fastest laps and a healthy lead from Hamilton.
Perez and Raikkonen pitted first and this lead to a huge battle on their outlap, despite side by side racing, Raikkonen was unable to keep the Red Bull behind.
Pitting from 3rd, Norris had a slow stop, ruining his attempt of an undercut. Bottas pitted a lap later and was able to come out in front, but behind Alonso, yet to pit. Bottas was infront by the next DRS zone, while Lando had to wait a lap to find his way past.
Hamilton eventually pitted on lap 28 and served his penalty. This dropped him to 5th, 5s behind Norris. Sainz pitted from 2nd but suffered an incredibly slow stop. Leclerc pitted from the lead a lap later and thankfully didn’t suffer any issues. He now had a 7s lead over Bottas.
Hamilton closed the gap to Norris within 3 laps. On lap 31 he breezed past going into Copse. Hamilton was now 3rd, trailing his team-mate by 3 seconds.
But, Hamilton temporarily plateaued, unable to close the gap to Bottas and not being able to truly shake Norris from his tail.
With 15 laps to go, numerous blisters started appearing on the cars, most notably Bottas. Most cars appeared to try and maintain a one-stop, but after Hamilton’s 3-wheeled win last year, nerves were starting to show.
Suddenly, Hamilton began a charge with 11 laps to go and Bottas in front was told not to defend from his team-mate. As Hamilton cruised past, Leclerc was 8s up the road. Norris, in 4th, was over 9s behind, out of touching distance.
Hamilton was closing rapidly, setting numerous fastest laps in the process. Hamilton was lapping a 1s a lap faster, as time was running out. With 5 laps remianing, the gap was only 3s.
With 2 laps to go Hamilton forced Leclerc into an error by Copse and managed to take the lead, to the colossal cheers of the Silverstone crowd. Leclerc was unable to fight back and came across 2nd, ahead of Bottas, a distant 3rd.
Many have celebrated a ‘great’ victory for Hamilton. But it is at least controversial. Hamilton takes a win he was desperate for, but this desperation has sent his championship leader to hospital in the process.
F1 will return at the Hungaroring in two weeks.
- Leclerc + 3.871
- Bottas +11.125
- Norris + 28.573
- Ricciardo + 42.624
- Sainz + 43.454
- Alonso + 72.093
- Stroll + 74.289
- Ocon + 82.065
- Tsunoda +82.065
- Gasly +85.327
- Russell +1 Lap
- Giovinazzi +1 Lap
- Latifi + 1 Lap
- Raikkonen + 1 Lap
- Perez + 1 Lap
- Mazepin + 1 Lap
- Schumacher +1 Lap
- Vettel RET
- Verstappen RET
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