Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton fought through Lap 1 trouble and penalty to win F1 British GP from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Valtteri Bottas.
It was a mighty start to F1 British GP at Silverstone with title rivals, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, going wheel-to-wheel for half a lap, before the two collided at the entry of the Copse corner, which sent the Dutchman into the barrier.
The two had supreme battle until then, with Hamilton almost edging out Verstappen early on, but unable to stick it through. The Dutchman was shaken up and taken to the medical center as Red Bull and Mercedes continued to bicker on the radio to Michael Masi.
The incident was put under investigation, with Red Bull pressing for penalty, while Mercedes defending. The race was naturally red-flagged for barrier repair as Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc led F1 British GP at that moment from Mercedes’ Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
McLaren’s Lando Norris slotted in fourth from teammate Daniel Ricciardo, with Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel in sixth from Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon in the Top 10.
Red flag re-start:
The standing re-start saw Leclerc maintain his F1 British GP lead from Hamilton, but Norris passed Bottas for third with Ricciardo in fifth from Alonso, Sainz, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, Raikkonen and Ocon in the Top 10 at the end of the lap.
It was mixed fortunes for Aston Martin drivers, where Vettel spun on his own while battling Alonso and dropped to the back, while Stroll had a rocketing start to get himself inside the Top 10. Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, meanwhile, started to move up the field too.
After getting past Vettel, Alonso lost to Sainz a lap later, as replays showed Raikkonen having a moment at Turn 1. At the front, Hamilton was handed a 10s time penalty for causing a collision, which forced Mercedes to change his strategy.
The Brit pressed Leclerc for the race lead, but the Monegasque held onto it, with Norris and Bottas not far behind. The pit stop mania started with Norris first among the leaders to stop. It was, however, a slow stop after issues on his right-rear.
This allowed Bottas to jump on him but not by much as he was just ahead, with Alonso in the mix. It was Ferrari 1-2 at one moment with Leclerc leading Sainz after Hamilton decided to pit. The Brit eventually lost only two places to Bottas and Norris.
After a right-rear issue for Alonso in the pits, Sainz had an issue with the front-left but Leclerc didn’t, as he continued to lead F1 British GP from Bottas, Norris and Hamilton – all with a chance of a podium finish, with Ricciardo in the Top 5.
Despite the bad stop, Sainz was sixth from Alonso, Stroll, Perez and Gasly in the Top 10. It wasn’t going well for McLaren eventually, with Hamilton passing Norris for third at Copse, whereas Ricciardo came under direct pressure from Sainz in the fight for fifth.
With Leclerc leading F1 British GP, Bottas was a bit far behind where Hamilton was just behind. The team asked the Finn not to fight the Brit and let him go, which he did so. Norris steadied in fourth from Ricciardo, with Sainz still chasing.
Perez, meanwhile, stopped for the second time, while he was chasing Alonso and Stroll for seventh. At the back, Aston Martin decided to retire Vettel after his re-start spin. There was late drama as Gasly was forced to pit due to puncture and Raikkonen spun around.
The Finn was fighting Perez, and ran over the kerb to spin in the final corner, but managed to continue. At the front, Hamilton cut down the gap in his chase of Leclerc. He eventually went past him at the same Copse corner, where the Lap 1 incident happened.
Leclerc went wide in the corner which allowed Hamilton to take the F1 British GP lead and eventually win the grand prix to cut on the points lead of Verstappen. The Monegasque was second with Bottas rounding out the Top 3 – where Red Bull lost chunks of points.
Norris was fourth with Ricciardo in fifth, where the Australian fended off Sainz all-through, as Alonso was seventh, Stroll eighth, Ocon ninth and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda 10th. Red Bull decided to stop Perez to take away the one point for fastest lap.
Gasly was 11th from Williams’ George Russell, with Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi in 13th as Williams’ Nicholas Latifi ended up 14th from Raikkonen, with Perez 16th from Haas’ Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher in 17th and 18th – everyone from Russell to Schumacher ended up a lap down.
A statement from Red Bull noted that Verstappen was taken to hospital for precautionary checks: “Following a first lap incident at Copse Corner between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton at the British Grand Prix, we can confirm that Max Verstappen walked away from his car and was immediately taken to the Silverstone Circuit Medical Centre. Following an assessment by the trackside doctors at Silverstone Circuit Medical Centre, Max Verstappen has been taken to a local hospital for further precautionary tests. Further updates will follow in due course.”
DNF: Vettel, Verstappen