Hamilton, the return!

Hamilton, the return!

In a rain-disrupted British Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton defied the conditions to claim his first victory since 2021. The Briton beat Max Verstappen and Lando Norris to the checkered flag.

Lewis Hamilton has been waiting for this for almost three years. The day after a qualifying session for the British Grand Prix that allowed Mercedes to lock out the front row of the grid, the Briton demonstrated that he had lost none of his driving skills in sometimes tricky conditions. When the lights went out, George Russell was able to keep Lewis Hamilton behind him but Max Verstappen, incisive in the first few corners, was able to grab third position from Lando Norris. But very quickly, the threat of rain appeared on Silverstone. The positions remained fixed until the 15th lap. It was at this point that the McLaren driver decided to change his time to come back to Max Verstappen. On the inside at the Stowe corner, the Briton dislodged the triple world champion from the podium.

Three laps later, as the crowds gathered in the aisles of the circuit began to cover themselves, it was Oscar Piastri who took the lead over the championship leader. The track being partially wet, it was the drivers’ feelings that made the difference. In this little game, the most comfortable was Lando Norris. After taking second place from George Russell, he closed in on Lewis Hamilton to take the lead on the 20th lap. Oscar Piastri, meanwhile, took third place at the expense of the pole position holder this Saturday before also overtaking Lewis Hamilton. The change in conditions pushed several drivers to opt for intermediate tires on this same 20th lap, notably Charles Leclerc and Sergio Pérez but The bet didn’t work out, it was too early.

McLaren could have believed in victory for a while

Indeed, The rain intensified six laps later and that’s when the slicks had to be swapped for grooved rubber.. While Mercedes opted for a double stop for Lewis Hamilton and then George Russell, McLaren sacrificed Oscar Piastri to favour Lando Norris’ chances.
Having stayed on track for one more lap, the Australian dropped from second to sixth place as he left the pit lane. For Mercedes, hopes of a one-two were dashed when George Russell was called back into the pits at the start of lap 34 and retired, apparently due to a hydraulic problem with his W15. After the rain, the good weather returned to Silverstone and a dry track quickly appeared. While Kevin Magnussen and Daniel Ricciardo led the way, it was at the start of the 39th of 52 laps that the leaders dove into the pits.

Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Oscar Piastri stopped at the same time but the tyre choices diverged. While the Briton chose well-used softs, the Dutchman took new hards while the Australian left with new mediums. On the following lap, Lando Norris followed suit and made the same choice as the six-time world champion, that is to say the softest rubber available this weekend. However, having stopped beyond his marks, the stop was longer than expected and he resumed the track behind Lewis Hamilton.
From then on, the question was who would be right. But, with twelve laps still to go on a track that was demanding on the rubber, the advantage very quickly went to Max Verstappen’s hard tyres.

Hamilton did more than hold off Verstappen

The Dutchman passed Lando Norris without a hitch on lap 48, with just over three seconds to make up on the leader. However, that was without counting on Lewis Hamilton, who was eager to get back to winning ways in front of his home crowd. Getting the most out of a Mercedes that had clearly returned to the forefront, the six-time world champion claimed his 104th F1 victory, his first since the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in 2021. For the ninth time, the Briton crossed the checkered flag as the winner at Silverstone with a little less than a second and a half ahead of a Max Verstappen who was unleashed until the end. Lando Norris completed the podium seven and a half seconds behind his compatriot. Oscar Piastri could do no better than fourth place ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr, who saved the day for Ferrari when Charles Leclerc, weighed down by his strategy, took an anonymous 14th place.

Nico Hulkenberg took points again for Haas with sixth place ahead of the Aston Martins of Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll. Alex Albon and Yuki Tsunoda completed the top 10.
While Sergio Perez once again drowned in 17th place, Esteban Ocon could do no better than 16th place for Alpine. The French team could only count on one single-seater this Sunday. Pierre Gasly was unable to start from last position due to a gearbox problem on the formation lap. In the championship standings, Max Verstappen takes three points from Lando Norris and leaves Silverstone with an 84-point lead. After three Grands Prix in three weeks, the drivers now have a date in Hungary after a rest weekend.

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