Lewis Hamilton became an eight time British Grand Prix winner after an incredible comeback drive after a dramatic start at Silverstone, which saw a high-speed collision with title-rival Max Verstappen. Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team team-mate Valtteri Bottas rounded off the podium.
In what was one of the most intense opening laps to a grand prix in many years, Hamilton got the better launch off the line going into turn one. Verstappen did well to defend and continued to do so all the round to Copse corner, the pair both knew how important it was to lead early on.
Hamilton got brilliant drive coming out of Luffield and pulled the dummy on Verstappen, cutting to the inside of the Red Bull Racing driver as they headed into Copse at incredible speed. Drama then struck as neither driver prepared to yield as they entered Copse, Hamilton tagged Verstappen’s rear sending him flying into the barrier and experiencing impact at 51G’s of force, destroying his race and his Red Bull. Following the crash Verstappen went to the hospital for a check-up. The red flag was also flown.
The incident divided many people’s opinion, however there was still a race to be won. As a result of the crash Hamilton was awarded a ten-second time penalty to be taken during his pit-stop.
Incredibly as the grid lined up for the restart it was Charles Leclerc on pole from Hamilton. Hamilton sat behind Leclerc during the opening stint before taking his pit-stop. The stop saw Hamilton drop fourteen seconds behind leader Leclerc as well as drop the world champion to fourth behind Lando Norris and Bottas. Norris was easily overtaken by Hamilton, as too was Bottas who was instructed to let Hamilton by, this left Hamilton eleven laps to close what was then nine seconds to Leclerc.
With two laps remaining he did just that, taking the race lead through Copse, this time without incident as he completed his epic comeback to claim Silverstone win number eight and close the gap to Verstappen to eight points going into Hungary. Hamilton was overwhelmed with the result and all the hard-work being done by the team.
“I have been giving my all the past week, working in the factory, just giving it everything to uncover performance in this car with the guys and I am so proud of everyone for continuing to work, even though we had to recover a deficit. Today, as always, I tried to be measured in how I approached the race, particularly battling with Max – he’s very aggressive but I was fully alongside him and he didn’t leave me any space.
“Regardless of whether I agreed with the penalty, I took it on the chin and I just kept working. I was just like, “I’m not going to let anything get in the way of the crowd’s enjoyment of the weekend, the national anthem and the British flag”. I couldn’t have done it without the great teamwork from Valtteri and the amazing effort from the team so I’m very grateful and just so happy to deliver this result for the team and the fans.”
“It’s good to see every member of the team fighting so hard” – Valtteri Bottas
For Valtteri Bottas it was a much less eventful race compared to his team-mate. Bottas lost a place to Leclerc on the first lap before the restart and then found himself behind Norris. A slow stop for Norris however allowed Bottas to over-cut the British driver and move up to second, before allowing a much faster Hamilton past with eleven laps remaining.
It was a much stronger weekend on the whole for Bottas who is glad to see every member of the team working so hard.
“The main issue for me today was losing a place at the start; it was the same yesterday so it’s something we need to work on. During the race, we only had one option when Lando had a slow pit-stop: we had to pit as well, even though we knew the second stint would be long, and that’s how it proved – it was tough towards the end of the race with the tyres blistering badly.
“It’s good to see every member of the team fighting so hard for this championship. Today there were surprises everywhere – Ferrari looked very strong, McLaren were good on the Medium tyre so it’s great for racing and for the fans. Overall, we’ve improved the car coming into this weekend but we know there is still work to do.”