Wednesday July 17, 2024

Tearful Hamilton wins F1 British GP

Published : 08 Jul 2024, 11:49

  By Michael Butterworth, Xinhua
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton is in tears on the podium after winning the Formula One British Grand Prix at Silverstone on July 7, 2024. Photo: Xinhua by Li Ying.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton shed tears of joy as he won an enthralling Formula One British Grand Prix on Sunday, emerging victorious after a race-long battle with Max Verstappen and Lando Norris in changeable weather conditions.

Hamilton started the race second on the grid behind teammate George Russell, who led the field away, with Red Bull's Verstappen passing McLaren's Lando Norris to settle into third.

As drizzle began to fall around lap 15, Hamilton appeared to have more grip than Russell, and passed his teammate for the lead on lap 18, as Norris and his teammate Oscar Piastri also made their way past Verstappen.

With rain only falling on certain areas of the circuit, conditions were tricky to manage on dry tyres, and the McLarens seemed to be most at home on the slippery track, with Norris and Piastri passing both Mercedes to sit first and second by lap 20.

The rain then intensified, forcing the drivers into the pits to change to Intermediate tyres. While many of the leading runners did so on lap 27, Piastri stayed out an extra lap on slick tyres, which proved to be the wrong decision, as the Australian emerged only sixth after making his stop, with the top five now Norris, Hamilton, Verstappen, Russell and Ferrari's Carlos Sainz.

Russell then retired from the race with a water pressure issue on lap 34, and as the track began to dry, all the drivers had changed back onto slick tyres by lap 40, with Hamilton undercutting Norris to take a lead he would keep to the flag.

While Hamilton and Norris had fitted Soft compound tyres, Verstappen in third was on Hard compound rubber, and the Dutchman soon found his rhythm, catching and passing Norris on lap 48 of 52.

However, the Dutchman was powerless to do anything about Hamilton, who crossed the line to take a record-extending 104th Grand Prix win, and his first since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 56 races ago.

"Since 2021, every day I'm getting up and fighting to train to put my mind to the task and work as hard as I can with this amazing team," said a visibly emotional Hamilton, who becomes the first driver to win nine times at the same circuit.

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

"All the hard work they put in over these years. I'm forever grateful to everyone at Mercedes and all our partners. And to all our incredible fans. I could see you lap by lap. There's no greater feeling to finish at the front here."

Hamilton's win also made it back-to-back wins for Mercedes, after Russell had triumphed in Austria last weekend. Norris took third, but rued the decisions to stay out one lap longer than Hamilton before making his final pit stop, as well as choosing to fit Soft tyres instead of the more durable Medium compound.

Behind the top three, Piastri finished strongly to take fourth, ahead of Sainz, who also took home a bonus point for fastest lap. Nico Hulkenberg had a strong drive to take his second consecutive sixth-place finish for Haas, with the Aston Martins of Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso seventh and eighth.

Alex Albon finished ninth for Williams, with Yuki Tsunoda rounding out the top ten for RB.

Despite failing to win for the second consecutive race, Verstappen extended his lead at the top of the Drivers' Championship, and the Dutchman now has 255 points. Norris is second on 171 points, with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, who failed to score in Britain after a botched strategy call, still third on 150 points.

In the Constructors' standings, Red Bull extend their lead to 373 points, ahead of Ferrari on 302, and McLaren closing up on 295 points.

The 13th round of the 2024 F1 World Championship is the Hungarian Grand Prix on July 21.