Lewis Hamilton dissects the F1 British GP win along with Toto Wolff, as George Russell reflects on the missed chance.

It has been a long wait for Mercedes’ Hamilton to get on the top step and he did so eventually in F1 British GP in a topsy-turvy race where the Brit had to fight hard on track and undertake a correct strategy to keep himself in the hunt.

At the start he tucked behind teammate George Russell and stayed there until the rain started to fall for the first time where he went past him. But a wide moment allowed the McLaren pair of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri to get through him.

But the crucial factor in the first stint was Hamilton passed Russell to have track position and also first to get in the pits for a tyre change which was needed because Mercedes were forced to double-stack and him being in front helped his cause.

The timing of the second pit stop was crucial as well which allowed him to pick up the race lead from Norris. The soft tyre choice was marginal, but Hamilton eventually had enough to retain the lead against a charging Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Reflecting on the grand prix, Hamilton noted that he was destined to go long in the first stint but it never happened due to the rain. “I think probably at the end [it was best], naturally,” he said when asked about when was the best condition to drive. “I think at the end, I think the first stint, I was a little bit under-winged at the front, so I was under-steering, I think.

“But I was just managing, trying to make sure that, because you didn’t know how long he had to go. I was actually planning to go to a long way. I was supposed to go a lot longer than George. He had a really great pace, and he was trying, obviously, to break the tow, so I was trying to make sure that I stayed within 1.6 or two seconds. And then I knew that I could see the rain was coming.

“And when that rain came, I knew that that was the moment to pounce. And then we both went off and the McLarens came by. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t understand how they were able to generate so much heat still in their tyres or maybe it’s the aero or whatever. But then just trying to hold on to them.

“And then obviously that last stint, I think we timed it perfect. getting that undercut on Lando I think was really key and the team did such a great job with the pit stop as well,” summed up Hamilton, as he then expanded on the last stint about the threat from both Norris and Verstappen, especially the former had he got his pit stop right.

“It was really tricky conditions because it was wet from Turn 14 to 15 but then dry in places, Turn 9 was dry,” said Hamilton. “So the tyres, the whole left side was graining for both of us, I’m pretty sure for Lando as well. And at the beginning it was really difficult to close that gap. And then obviously I started closing that gap to him.

“But I think on those tyres, it was literally… It was starting to dry up and it was about just trying to get the right timing. And I think if Lando had stopped before us, it would have been very, very, very difficult to have got by. And I think the moment in which I came out of Turn 15 and I came in and he stayed out, I knew that this was the moment that I was going to have the chance to undercut him.

“And then after that, I think, I was able to just keep him… I could see him in my mirrors coming through a particular corner and I could just see him right there. Every now and then he put in a really quick lap and I couldn’t match their pace when they did do that lap, when they did a low, I don’t know what it was, a 20, I can’t remember what number the lap was, it was 0.3 something.

“And then at the end, obviously, when Max started to close in, again just trying to give it absolutely everything right on the edge, full attack to try and keep the gap at three seconds, whatever it was. And the tyres started to just drop off a little bit towards the end. So I think it was the perfect distance of a stint. If we had another five laps I don’t know if we would have held on to it but I’m grateful that we were able to,” summed up Hamilton.

While he could celebrate the win, it wasn’t as much joy for Russell who was forced to retire due to water system issue. Having led initially, he dropped outside the podium after the pit stop due to double-stacking, but he had decent pace to get back in the Top 3.

Despite the loss, Russell is confident about the performance of the car. “It’s always difficult when you’re the first out there,” he said. “I knew it was going to be a long race and sort of wanted to be patient. We were still in the fight, ten laps before the failure, I knew I had problems. I was losing power.

“And then, yeah. Water [system] failure. No water to the engine. McLaren were fast at that time [when they passed us], it was difficult but I wasn’t too flustered because I knew the race was long. Pretty surprise that there were no safety car, I knew we had pace in the car. Overall, it is incredible, we had the car, in normal dry circumstances, to be 1-2.

“We’re clearly back, and I think we’ll be fighting for race wins more often now. And within myself and the car, I’m feeling good. But obviously this is a real blow — to retire from any race, let alone your home Grand Prix, when you had the car to win.”

On the team side, Wolff was certainly pleased to secure back-to-back wins – one via some luck and other by showing performance. He was also happy to be able to see Hamilton on top with Mercedes again before he departs the team for Ferrari in 2025.

“It was so difficult over the last two years that we couldn’t really find performance, we couldn’t give the drivers a car that was able to go for the victories,” said Wolff. “And to make him win again, the British Grand Prix, in his last race for Mercedes here, it’s almost like a little fairytale.

“It was a difficult, we were really controlling the pace at the beginning that was very encouraging. When it started to rain, we could see the massive performance that McLaren had, in the rain they had the sweet spot of the tyre, but we came back. And then under good conditions, we had it under control.

“It is such a same that we didn’t have George, he had the pace and letting him down here with a…problem…it is not just great but I think we had a over arching result with Lewis, his last British GP with us and I think there will be more. Regarding my radio call, no, I think there wasn’t any need today.

“After the race finished, I said what I wanted to say and that’s good,” summed up Wolff, who then expanded on the tyre choice of soft and all the calls made by the pit wall with regards to the strategy and the timing of it.

“We did have the medium, that was very simple for us and we did didn’t believe that the hard was the right tyre to go,” continued Wolff. “In hindsight, probably the right call in priority would have been the medium, hard and soft, that’s would have been the blinkers but today we saved it at the end, I think our lap time was good out there to the McLarens and that sealed the victory.

“I think the communication with the drivers was very good and we kept the channel open all times. Among ourselves we kept discussing the pros and cons, we were monitoring the gaps and at certain stage the strategies, we believed the crossover was now and they were spot on. I think that was the perfect time to pit.”

Here’s moment between Mercedes drivers: https://www.formula1.com/en/video/2024-british-grand-prix-hamilton-snatches-the-lead-from-russell-before-both-run-off-track.1803932442409454224

Here’s Lewis Hamilton after the win: https://www.formula1.com/en/video/2024-british-grand-prix-emotional-hamilton-crosses-the-line-to-take-a-record-ninth-silverstone-victory.1803935265264147257

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