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F1 British GP: Hamilton takes ninth Silverstone win as McLaren falters

Lewis Hamilton clinched his ninth British Grand Prix victory in a thrilling Silverstone race, prevailing in wet conditions to beat Formula 1 championship leader Max Verstappen to victory.

Hamilton pounced on Mercedes’ initiative to switch to slicks after a period of rain across the middle phase of the race, which carted him above long-time leader Lando Norris as McLaren was slower to respond to the conditions.

Equipped with soft tyres, Hamilton sought to preserve his newly acquired lead over Norris, one that spanned less than three seconds when the Miami Grand Prix winner emerged from the pits on the same red-walled Pirellis.

Although Norris started to log a series of quick laps to get closer to the Mercedes’ gearbox, it appeared that his pace was unsustainable; that ultimately proved true when Verstappen – who had been uncharacteristically slow throughout the race – came to the fore on the hard tyre.

Verstappen soon began to catch Norris, which helped Hamilton consolidate his lead as the two cars behind him began to stake their claim for second. Norris didn’t have the tyres to fight Verstappen and conceded second in Stowe at the end of lap 48, leaving Hamilton four laps to keep the lead from a rapidly catching Red Bull.

The two had to overcome traffic, but neither lost much time; Hamilton began the final lap with over two seconds in hand, which proved to be enough to cement his first F1 victory since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

“I cannot stop crying!,” Hamilton admitted after the race. “Since 2021, I just, everyday getting up trying to fight, to train, to put my mind to the task and work as hard as I can with this amazing team.

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

Mercedes had ultimately nailed the crossover period after losing the lead to the two McLarens amid the initial drizzle. None of the frontrunners responded to the first bout of rain, as the slicks were able to hang on amid the greasy conditions, but the McLaren drivers had the better car in this phase.

Norris and Oscar Piastri hit the front over Hamilton and polesitter George Russell, who had been passed by Hamilton on the 18th lap as the younger Briton struggled to contend with the first bit of rain.

When the second cell of rain arrived, Norris was followed into the pits by the two Mercedes cars, while Piastri stayed out; this pulled the Australian out of the lead battle as he struggled on the extra lap on slicks.

Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL38

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Russell was then the next to lose position, as Verstappen undercut the Mercedes driver by stopping a lap sooner to collect third place. Although the polesitter started to catch the Red Bull driver, he was asked to retire the car with a suspected water system issue.

Hamilton reported that the sun had come out at the start of the 37th lap and, by the end of the next one, the circuit had dried significantly. Mercedes took the initiative and pulled Hamilton then, and the Briton was followed by Verstappen. The two diverged; Hamilton took the soft tyre and Verstappen grabbed the hard in anticipation of higher degradation.

McLaren made the decision to keep Norris out, but the race leader was adamant that he had to come in on the following lap – a move that ultimately cost the lead, and second place, as the soft tyres started to wear considerably versus Verstappen’s harder compound.

He had to console himself with third place, and his wearing tyres meant that he fell six seconds behind Verstappen at the flag. Piastri rescued fourth after dropping out of the victory battle through his delayed stop for intermediates.

Carlos Sainz, who had earlier battled Verstappen when the Dutchman struggled in the opening two-thirds of the race, pitted late to set the fastest lap on a set of used softs, as he had enough in hand over Nico Hulkenberg to call in.
Hulkenberg collected his second consecutive sixth-place finish to boost Haas’ aspirations of catching RB in the constructors’ championship, while Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso finished seventh and eighth for Aston Martin.
Alex Albon overcame a difficult first-lap scuffle as Hulkenberg and Alonso checked up into Turn 4, but overtook Yuki Tsunoda to clinch ninth – Tsunoda completing the top 10 with a 10-second advantage over Logan Sargeant.

United Kingdom 2024 British Grand Prix

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