Martin Brundle on British GP: Lewis Hamilton’s relief at Silverstone and Lando Norris’ McLaren strategy regret | F1 News

Martin Brundle on British GP: Lewis Hamilton’s relief at Silverstone and Lando Norris’ McLaren strategy regret | F1 News
Martin Brundle on British GP: Lewis Hamilton’s relief at Silverstone and Lando Norris’ McLaren strategy regret | F1 News

What. A. Race. Toto Wolff summed it up perfectly when he described Lewis Hamilton’s epic drive as a fairytale victory.

Hamilton’s relief was clear for all to hear and see with his initially uncontrollable crying and heartfelt radio messages. The demons of Abu Dhabi 2021 and the lack of wins over the past 56 races in a reluctant car had finally been extinguished to some extent for him and the Mercedes team. It was a tearjerker.

Lewis has somehow found the motivation and dedication to continue training, learning, travelling and believing in himself over the past two seasons, surrounded by much younger drivers.

And when the opportunity arose, he didn’t let it pass him by.

The British 1-2-3 pitch that provided the stage

Silverstone put on a fantastic four-day all-encompassing festival, despite the best efforts of the dreadful weather. Fortunately, on race day it was a light shower, but more like a heavy downpour, which livened up the Grand Prix nicely.

Three Britons occupied the top three grid positions, after a great performance from George Russell for pole position, narrowly beating team-mate Hamilton, and the ever-popular Lando Norris in third. It was exactly what the vast majority of the crowd expected.

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Karun Chandhok compares George Russell and Lewis Hamilton’s fastest laps during qualifying for the British Grand Prix

Max Verstappen was precariously fourth on the grid, despite damage to the aerodynamic floor after a run through a gravel trap. He was driving a Red Bull that no longer looked the fastest car. And he was a difficult driver at times, given the improvements of McLaren and Mercedes.

Ferrari lacked ultimate speed and have had a miserable run since that glorious Monaco win, even having to roll back their aerodynamic updates to get rid of the bouncing. Charles Leclerc has had a particularly tough time, having scored just once in the four races since Monaco.

That Ferrari was outclassed by their customer team Haas in the hands of Nico Hulkenberg was extra painful for them. However, the team believes that they will quickly get the problems under control.

Drivers’ epic skills on display during early wet chaos

There was so much going on in the race that I couldn’t remember the chronology of events. It was such chaos. We were completely absorbed in the commentary box, keeping up with the live action as it unfolded. The race had constant ups and downs.

Four drivers are convinced and credible that they should have won.

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George Russell retains lead from Lewis Hamilton as Max Verstappen moves into third place ahead of Lando Norris on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix

Russell led perfectly from pole and held the lead. When rain started as predicted, he struggled a bit as Hamilton used him as a reference point and overtook him on lap 18. Although Norris would pass them both on lap 20.

Russell’s Mercedes began to lose water pressure and alarms went off on his steering wheel for a few laps before he was unfortunately forced to retire on lap 33. But not before he had lost the lead and then pitted behind Hamilton for a double stack, which always means waiting for the crew to regroup and prepare the tyres, which costs valuable time.

Just a reminder here that each team only has one pit stop station for both cars, so if they are close together in the race and it rains or there is a safety car for example, the second of the two drivers will have to wait in line for service or do another lap. In some pit lanes there is not enough room to stack, but it happens anyway.

There was a phase around lap 16 where the track was wet and only drivable with slicks, but too dry for intermediate groove tyres. However, this stopped Leclerc and Sergio Perez from taking the gamble and fitting them anyway, before immediately regretting it.

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Lando Norris makes the most of the slippery conditions at Silverstone as he overtakes both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton for the race lead

It was now clear that the McLaren drivers had more confidence and grip as the Merc boys both took on the vast tarmac run-off into Turn One. The driving skills on display were epic in such challenging conditions, as they piloted the hugely powerful cars around Silverstone’s terrifyingly fast layout.

The key strategic decisions McLaren got wrong

As the rain continued, the time had come to finally pit for intermediate tyres. Verstappen and Red Bull, along with Carlos Sainz and Ferrari, and Hulkenberg at Haas, did well on lap 26. Meanwhile, Hamilton, Russell (still in the race at this point) and Norris all pitted a lap later, which was still fine.

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Silverstone Race Highlights for the British Grand Prix

For some reason McLaren decided not to double stack their cars and instead of letting Oscar Piastri slow down a bit in the second-and-a-half back to Hamilton, and let him wait a few seconds for service, they sent him around again. The track was now too wet for slicks and he lost heavily.

Looking at Piastri’s pace in the final stages of the race on new, medium compound, dry tyres, the young Australian is the second driver who can say he could have deservedly won the race but still finished fourth.

With the Mercedes and McLarens running so close together, Red Bull had more freedom to let Verstappen make optimal decisions during his pit stops, as Perez was far behind after starting from the pit lane and then making that early mistake of switching to intermediate tyres.

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Listen to the cooling room where Lewis Hamilton gives advice to a dejected Lando Norris on McLaren’s strategy during the British GP

The next decision was when to park the badly damaged intermediate tyres on a drying track and what compound of the dry slick tyre to use until the end of the race.

Unfortunately, McLaren and Norris would get this wrong on two counts. Lando pitted on lap 39, a lap later than Hamilton, Verstappen and Piastri, but overran his damp pit area and had to stop more slowly.

To make matters worse, the team had asked him whether he wanted to protect Max on the new hard tyres or Lewis on the soft tyres used.

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Lando Norris believes he lost the race win by making the wrong tyre choice and needs to make better decisions instead of missing out on wins.

This was odd, as the team had specifically saved two new sets of the favoured medium compound tyres for the race for both drivers. Norris decided on soft compound tyres, but this should not have been his decision with all the other facts available.

As mentioned above, Piastri literally flew with his new medium tyres and now in Norris we have a third driver who can rightly claim he should have won the race.

‘There is no doubt that we are now in for a truly epic 18 months’

Verstappen lacked dry pace in his Red Bull in the early stages and says he was aiming for fifth or sixth place. But he persevered, worked well with his engineer and got his new hard compound tyres up and running very well to chase down Norris and Hamilton in the closing stages.

He easily beat Norris, who was struggling to balance on the soft tyres, and then moved to within a second and a half of Hamilton when the chequered flag flew on lap 52 to a wildly enthusiastic crowd reaction.

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The funniest moments from the British Grand Prix including a roast dinner chat, Stormzy’s Martin Brundle song and some CarLando appreciation!

Max is not the fourth driver who thinks he should have won the race. He was pleasantly surprised with second place and thus extended his lead in the championship again, to a healthy 84 points.

The fourth driver who could have won, of course, did so, and in style.

Hamilton managed his tyres well over the final 14 laps to hold off his old rival for his ninth victory at Silverstone, some 17 years after his first Formula 1 win. This gives him 104 wins and 199 podiums in his career to date.

He also became the sixth winner in the 12 races so far this season. We only had three winners in total last season, and I have no doubt we are now in for a truly epic 18 months of F1 racing before the brand new 2026 cars arrive.

The next Formula 1 race is the Hungarian Grand Prix, which will be held in Budapest from 19 to 21 July. You can watch every session live on Sky Sports F1. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month membership – No contract, cancel anytime