Friday, July 19, 2024

2024 British Grand Prix: Hamilton Returns to Winning Ways at Silverstone

Lewis Hamilton returned to winning ways at the 2024 British Grand Prix, taking his 104th win and the ninth at Silverstone.

Hamilton last won a Formula 1 race in 2021, taking victory at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix but returns to winning ways just a week after Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team took their first victory of the season thanks to George Russell at the 2024 Austrian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen came in just behind the home hero, almost catching up to the seven time world champion but finishing just over a second behind. Lando Norris, who was leading the race at one point, was holding onto second place before Verstappen got past with just a few laps to go, meaning he had to settle for third.

It was heartbreak for Russell, who was leading the race for the entirety of the dry stint at the start of the race after qualifying on pole the day before. The two-time race winner was forced to retire with a water pressure issue, destroying his chance of a podium or potentially even a race win at his home Grand Prix. 

Pierre Gasly was forced to retire before the race even started, boxing on the formation lap. Once the race got underway, Russell got away well, with Hamilton staying behind his teammate. Norris had a shaky start and fell behind Verstappen despite staying ahead of the Dutchman through the first few corners. Alex Albon lost a few places on the start after Nico Hülkenberg ran wide, causing Fernando Alonso to take evasive action turning into Albon, who almost lost the car and hit Logan Sargeant. 

In the dry stage of the race at the start, the Mercedes duo were more than comfortable at the front with Russell leading and out of DRS range to Hamilton, who was around three seconds ahead of Verstappen. Norris then got ahead of the Oracle Red Bull Racing driver to move back into the position he started.

The two soft starters, Zhou Guanyu and Esteban Ocon started to fall back with the tyres losing all the grip they had around Lap 10. 

On Lap 15, Russell spoke to his race engineer and reported light rain on the circuit, and two laps later Verstappen was in even more trouble as he lost a place to Oscar Piastri moving him down to fifth. With the mixed conditions, Russell was struggling out front and the vastly experienced Hamilton was closing in. Down the Hangar Straight, Hamilton breezed past his teammate, with the help of DRS.

Photo: LAT Images

Both Mercedes drivers ran wide at Abbey as rain began to fell, causing Russell to fall down to third with Norris overtaking him. Within a blink of an eye everything had changed at the front with Norris and Piastri both making moves on Hamilton to move McLaren F1 Team into a 1-2 position.

Scuderia Ferrari made a poor strategy call as the rain began to fall, bringing Charles Leclerc into the pits for intermediate tyres – Zhou, Ocon and Sergio Pérez also fitted the green striped tyres. 

Lap 26 was the time to pit for the intermediate tyres, as Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. dived into the pitlane – McLaren called Norris in the next lap but left Piastri out for another lap despite having the time to drop back to allow the double stack to be sufficient enough. 

Piastri boxed on the next lap and returned back into the race far behind the leading pack, meaning his strategy cost him a podium for the second British Grand Prix in a row. Once everyone had pitted onto intermediate tyres, Norris was leading the way with Hamilton and Verstappen behind.

On Lap 32, the rain had all but stopped but the track was still damp meaning all the drivers were managing the conditions and attempting to keep their tyres cool. The race was going great for Mercedes but on Lap 34, there was heartbreak for Russell who was forced to retire with a suspected water system issue.

The first stops came on Lap 38, Daniel Ricciardo and Kevin Magnussen diving into the pits for soft compound tyres. A flurry of activity then followed with Hamilton and Verstappen stopping on the next lap, swapping onto the soft and hard compound respectively. 

Norris lost the lead of the race during the stops, staying out an extra lap and then skidding into his pit box costing him precious time to Hamilton, who took the lead of the race with around 10 laps to go.

The last few laps were nervy for all the British fans with Verstappen closing in on both Norris in second and Hamilton in first. Verstappen cruised up to Norris, but it took him a few laps to get past the British driver. The Dutchman closed the gap to Hamilton, who was out in the lead, but never got close enough to challenge and stop Hamilton’s long awaited 104th race win.

It was emotional scenes when the chequered flag waved, with Hamilton and Peter Bonnington (Hamilton’s long standing race engineer) sharing a heartfelt radio message. The win is Hamilton’s first since the back end of 2021 in Jeddah, but it’s also Mercedes’ second win in as many races as they hope to continue this upwards trajectory. 

Verstappen crossed the line in second ahead of Norris, while Piastri closed ten seconds on Norris in the final stint to finish fourth. Sainz took fastest lap and fifth, but with Leclerc out of the points, it was a weekend where Ferrari lost yet more points in the battle for the Championship with Red Bull and McLaren, which seems all but over for them now. 

Photo: Williams Racing

Hülkenberg did a fantastic job for MoneyGram Haas F1 Team and managed to return back up to sixth after a difficult start that saw him drop to ninth. This result moves Haas just four points behind Visa Cash App RB in the Constructors Championship.

Lance Stroll finished ahead of his teammate Alonsowith Aston Martin Armaco F1 Team securing seventh and eighth and their best race performance for some time. Albon did an excellent job to finish ninth, getting past Yuki Tsunoda in the last stint, who ended the day in tenth, rescuing a single point for RB. 

Sargeant recorded his best finish of the season to end in eleventh, ahead of Magnussen and Ricciardo. Leclerc ended the day down in fourteenth ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Ocon. The pressure will only be mounting on Pérez as he was well off the pace in his RB20, finishing down in seventeenth after being knocked out in Q1 on Saturday.

Guanyu Zhou was last of the remaining runners, with Russell and Gasly retiring from the Grand Prix. 

1 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 52 1:22:27.059 25
2 1 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT 52 +1.465s 18
3 4 Lando Norris MCLAREN MERCEDES 52 +7.547s 15
4 81 Oscar Piastri MCLAREN MERCEDES 52 +12.429s 12
5 55 Carlos Sainz FERRARI 52 +47.318s 11
6 27 Nico Hulkenberg HAAS FERRARI 52 +55.722s 8
7 18 Lance Stroll ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES 52 +56.569s 6
8 14 Fernando Alonso ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES 52 +63.577s 4
9 23 Alexander Albon WILLIAMS MERCEDES 52 +68.387s 2
10 22 Yuki Tsunoda RB HONDA RBPT 52 +79.303s 1
11 2 Logan Sargeant WILLIAMS MERCEDES 52 +88.960s 0
12 20 Kevin Magnussen HAAS FERRARI 52 +90.153s 0
13 3 Daniel Ricciardo RB HONDA RBPT 51 +1 lap 0
14 16 Charles Leclerc FERRARI 51 +1 lap 0
15 77 Valtteri Bottas KICK SAUBER FERRARI 51 +1 lap 0
16 31 Esteban Ocon ALPINE RENAULT 50 +2 laps 0
17 11 Sergio Perez RED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT 50 +2 laps 0
18 24 Zhou Guanyu KICK SAUBER FERRARI 50 +2 laps 0
NC 63 George Russell MERCEDES 33 DNF 0
NC 10 Pierre Gasly ALPINE RENAULT 0 DNS 0