Hamilton takes ninth Silverstone win as McLaren falter

Lewis Hamilton claimed his ninth victory at the British Grand Prix in a thrilling race at Silverstone, beating Formula 1 championship leader Max Verstappen in wet conditions.

Hamilton took advantage of Mercedes’ initiative to switch to slicks after a spell of rain in the middle of the race, allowing him to pass long-time leader Lando Norris as McLaren reacted more slowly to the conditions.

Equipped with soft tyres, Hamilton attempted to maintain his new-found lead over Norris, which was less than three seconds when the Miami Grand Prix winner emerged from the pits on the same red Pirelli tyres.

Although Norris put in a few fast laps to get closer to the Mercedes gearbox, it looked like his pace was unsustainable. This eventually became apparent when Verstappen, who had been noticeably slow throughout the race, came forward on the hard tyre.

Verstappen soon began to overtake Norris, helping Hamilton consolidate his lead as the two cars behind him began to stake a claim for second place. Norris didn’t have the tyres to beat Verstappen and surrendered second place at Stowe at the end of lap 48, giving Hamilton four laps to maintain the lead from a quickly catching Red Bull.

The two had to fight their way through the crowds, but neither lost much time. Hamilton started the final lap with a lead of more than two seconds, which proved enough to secure his first F1 victory since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

“I can’t stop crying!” Hamilton admitted after the race. “Since 2021, I get up every day to fight, to train, to focus my mind on the task and to work as hard as I can with this great team.

“This is my last race here at the British Grand Prix with this team, so I really wanted to win this for them because I love them.”

Mercedes had ultimately won the crossover period after losing the lead to the two McLarens during the first drizzle. Neither of the frontrunners reacted to the first shower as the slicks held up in the greasy conditions, but the McLaren drivers had the better car at this stage.

Norris and Oscar Piastri took the lead, ahead of Hamilton and polesitter George Russell. Russell had already been overtaken by Hamilton on lap 18, as the younger Briton struggled with the first rain showers.

When the second rain shower arrived, Norris was followed into the pits by the two Mercedes cars, while Piastri stayed out. This took the Australian out of the lead battle as he struggled with the extra lap on slicks.

Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL38

Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL38

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Russell was then the next to lose position, as Verstappen undermined the Mercedes driver by stopping a lap early to take third place. Although the polesitter started to overtake the Red Bull driver, he was asked to retire the car due to a suspected problem with the water system.

Hamilton reported that the sun had come out at the start of lap 37 and that the track had dried out considerably by the end of the next lap. Mercedes took the initiative and then pulled Hamilton out, with the Briton being followed by Verstappen. The two separated, with Hamilton taking the soft tyre and Verstappen taking the hard tyre in anticipation of a higher degradation.

McLaren decided to keep Norris off the track, but the race leader insisted that he pit on the next lap. This decision ultimately cost him the lead and second place, as the soft tyres were wearing significantly compared to Verstappen’s harder tyres.

He had to settle for third, his worn tyres leaving him six seconds behind Verstappen at the flag, with Piastri salvaging fourth after his delayed stop for intermediates had taken him out of contention for victory.

Carlos Sainz, who had previously battled with Verstappen when the Dutchman struggled in the first two-thirds of the race, came in late in the race to set the fastest lap on a set of used soft tyres, as he still had enough of a lead over Nico Hulkenberg to overtake.
Hulkenberg took his second consecutive sixth place, bolstering Haas’s ambitions to overtake RB in the Constructors’ Championship, while Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso finished seventh and eighth for Aston Martin.
Alex Albon overcame a tricky opening lap confrontation as Hulkenberg and Alonso entered Turn 4 to overtake Yuki Tsunoda to take ninth place. Tsunoda completed the top 10 with a 10-second lead over Logan Sargeant.

United Kingdom British Grand Prix 2024

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