Formula 1

Controversy at Copse as Hamilton takes it home at Silverstone

3 Mins read
Credit: Mercedes Archive/LAT Images

Lewis Hamilton won the British Grand Prix at Silverstone for a record 8th time in highly controversial style after a lap 1 clash with Max Verstappen. The Briton battled back from a ten second penalty to win the Grand Prix, but was very lucky not to have gotten a more costly penalty after the incident.

Hamilton and Verstappen sparred spectacularly throughout the opening lap of the race but made contact at Copse when Hamilton tried to make a pass up the inside of the corner. This attempt ended with Verstappen spinning hard into the barriers and out of the race. He was then brought to the hospital for precautionary checks due to the force of the crash, which reached 51G. Hamilton damaged his front-wing in the incident but was able to repair the car during the subsequent Red Flag required to fix damage to track structures.

Charles Leclerc lead the eventual restart having passed Valtteri Bottas into Village on the first lap. From the start, Leclerc aced his getaway in order to stay in front, with Bottas, Lando Norris and Hamilton following behind. Sebastian Vettel had originally made a strong start to the race, but all that was undone after he spun coming out of Luffield. Leclerc managed to maintain his advantage over the chasing cars despite incessant pressure, but was heard reporting engine cut-outs on lap 16. The issue recurred intermittently for the Monegasque throughout the race but he still managed to keep his cool. Norris held well in third but a slow wheel on his pitstop on Lap 21 cost him around an extra four seconds, allowing Bottas to scrape through.

On Lap 27 Hamilton came in for his Pit-stop and to serve the ten second time penalty he had recieved for the Lap 1 incident, subsequently coming out in fitfth behind Norris. Leclerc was having a sensational race and showing his true talent up front, but behind, Hamilton was on the charge, passing Norris for third on Lap 31. He had moved up to second place by Lap 40 with some help from his Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team teammate and was now just 7.3s adrift of the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow car. Hamilton lapped relentlessly fast – and despite Ferrari giving Leclerc access to every inch of power that the car had, Hamilton had wound the gap down to just a second by Lap 50.

Then, the moment that the British crowd had been praying for all weekend came, as at the same corner where Hamilton had ended Verstappen’s race earlier, he sent his black Mercedes down the inside of Leclerc’s Red Prancing Horse, ending the Monegasque unable to hold onto his grip, catching the kerb and taking to the run-off as Hamilton swept into the lead. From here, he eased to victory, taking a Union Jack along with him as he passed the checkered flag and running to the infield section to celebrate this major turning-point in the championship, as Verstappen’s lead was cut to just eight points.

Leclerc will be disappointed with this just being a podium and not a win, but can take heart in the fact that he won Driver of the Day. Bottas backed up the Mercedes team game and was able to take third and close the gap to the Red Bull Racing Honda’s in the Constructors Championship. The McLaren F1 Team had a fine day with Norris taking fourth place and Daniel Ricciardo taking fifth place, managing to just about hold off Carlos Sainz Jr. behind. Fernando Alonso took his fine form in yesterday’s Sprint Race into today and ended up in seventh in front of Lance Stroll, Esteban Ocon and Yuki Tsunoda – Tsunoda taking just his fourth points finish of the year.

This race marked yet another thrilling twist in this amazing title fight, but it was a controversial twist too as arguably Hamilton got off very lightly for his mistake in taking out his rival. Hamilton was able to repair his damage under the Red Flag, and only had to make up a ten second gap in the end, which he did with ease. This writer believes that the Stewards should have been harsher and awarded a stop/go given that Hamilton was able to fix his damage and keep his car relatively close to the position he had been in when the accident happened. With Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner continuing to rage about the decision post-race, you can be sure this isn’t the last we have heard about this decision.

Pos#DriverNat.TeamLapsTime/GapPoints
144Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team521:58:23.28425
216Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow52+3.871s18
377Valtteri BottasFINMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team52+11.125s15
44Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team52+28.573s12
53Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 Team52+42.624s10
655Carlos Sainz Jr.ESPScuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow52+43.454s8
714Fernando AlonsoESPAlpine F1 Team52+72.093s6
818Lance StrollCANAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team52+74.289s4
931Esteban OconFRAAlpine F1 Team52+76.162s2
1022Yuki TsunodaJAPScuderia AlphaTauri Honda52+82.065s1
1110Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri Honda52+85.327s0
1263George RussellGBRWilliams F1 Team51+1 lap0
1399Antonio GiovinazziITAAlfa Romeo Racing ORLEN51+1 lap0
146Nicolas LatifiCANWilliams F1 Team51+1 lap0
157Kimi RaikkonenFINAlfa Romeo Racing ORLEN51+1 lap0
1611Sergio PérezMEXRed Bull Racing Honda51+1 lap0
179Nikita MazepinRUSUralkali Haas F1 Team51+1 lap0
1847Mick SchumacherGERUralkali Haas F1 Team51+1 lap0
195Sebastian VettelGERAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team40DNF0
2033Max VerstappenNEDRed Bull Racing Honda0DNF0
Final Result

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About author
Michael is a young writer from Drogheda in Ireland. He has watched Formula 1 since 2010 and fell in love with Formula 1 after the Canadian Grand Prix in 2011. He previously hosted a little known podcast called "The Commentary Box" for 4 years on Belfield FM. He is a newcomer to sports writing and cut his teeth in with Political Opinion pieces in his college newspaper. He won the 2021 SPARC Journalism Award for Best Political Piece and hopes to build on his achievements over time.
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