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F1 British GP: Why Lewis Hamilton’s Silverstone mastery marked one of his most magical F1 victories

F1 British GP: Why Lewis Hamilton’s Silverstone mastery marked one of his most magical F1 victories
F1 British GP: Why Lewis Hamilton’s Silverstone mastery marked one of his most magical F1 victories

If you had made the same good decision 103 times before, do you think the 104th time would have affected you most?

Would it feel as special, or even more special, than the very first time? Would it hit your heart so hard that you would lose all composure in the blink of an eye? Would your limbs turn to jelly when things started to settle down afterwards? Would you cry like a little boy in front of your family, friends, and coworkers?

Probably not. But hey, you’re not Lewis Hamilton and you haven’t just won your 104th Formula 1 race.

READ MORE: British Formula 1 Grand Prix Results: Hamilton Beats Verstappen in HISTORIC Race at Silverstone

At the British Grand Prix on Sunday, the seven-time world champion, who had not won a race in two and a half years, delivered one of the best performances of his career, taking the chequered flag in front of his home crowd and showing the world that he is still at the peak of his powers.

“Thanks so much guys, it means a lot to get this,” he said on the team radio afterwards through an audible flood of tears.

It was his ninth victory on home soil, a record for a driver at a single circuit in the 74-year history of Formula 1. He achieved the trademark combination of brilliant decision-making, supreme opportunism and sheer speed that has characterised the career of the sport’s most successful driver ever.

Hamilton started second behind Mercedes team-mate George Russell and dominated the tumultuous conditions, switching from dry to wet and back again, with little chance for the drivers to adapt. He was able to shake off challenges from Russell, McLaren duo Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri and arch-rival Max Verstappen.

Lewis Hamilton’s performance at Silverstone on Sunday was stunning

The Mercedes was the fastest car in qualifying on Saturday, but the McLaren looked to have the upper hand for much of the race on Sunday, with Norris and Piastri passing Russell and Hamilton with ease as the track became increasingly wet thanks to their machines’ better balance through the corners.

But when it came time for the final change, the moment when each driver had to decide when to ditch the intermediates and switch back to slicks, Hamilton not only chose the right moment but also the right rubber to fulfil his dream of returning to the top step.

While Norris stayed out a lap too long and fell behind, Verstappen opted for hard tyres compared to Hamilton’s soft tyres and closed the gap in the final few laps. Had the race been a few laps longer, the Dutchman would undoubtedly have made the overtaking manoeuvre and taken the win.

READ MORE: Hamilton moved to TEARS after breaking a winless streak – Top three verdict

But that decision to opt for used soft tyres instead of new hard tyres ultimately gave Hamilton the victory.

They gave him the speed on the outlap to punish Norris’ stupidity by staying out longer, and at the same time they let him keep a lead over Verstappen in third. The three-time world champion didn’t have enough time to reduce it once he had passed Norris and Hamilton’s soft tyres started to lose grip.

Throughout the race, Hamilton skillfully kept himself in the DRS range of the cars in front of him to maximize the life of his tires. He drove aggressively at the right points to first close in on his opponents and then extend his lead over them. Furthermore, he punished his rivals’ mistakes mercilessly.

Hamilton’s sheer intelligence makes this performance one of the most impressive he has ever achieved.

Hamilton mastered the conditions perfectly and won in front of an adoring home crowd

When you combine the quality of his performance with the time that has elapsed since he last crossed the finish line in first place, you can understand why Hamilton was so emotional afterwards.

In his post-race interview with former McLaren teammate Jenson Button, he said: “I can’t stop crying. Since 2021, I’ve given up fighting every day, training and working as hard as I can with this amazing team. I wanted to win this for them so badly, because I love them so much. I’m eternally grateful to them. “The most important thing is to keep digging deep, even when you feel like you’re at rock bottom. There were definitely days when I didn’t feel good enough or like I wasn’t going to get back here.

He later added: “It’s surreal. My heart is racing. I’ve had so many great times here, but when I crossed that line, it released something inside me that I’ve been holding on to for a long time.

“This is the most emotional end to a race I’ve ever experienced. There were so many thoughts and doubts in my head along the way (since 2021) – sometimes I didn’t want to continue. Being successful is honestly the best feeling I can remember.”

For the most successful man this championship has ever known, a one-off victory in a season where he is nowhere near a title contender is a testament to the sheer magic of elite sport. It can send the most legendary superheroes into waves of bewildered ecstasy, even when they least expect it.

Sometimes you do something so many times that the magic disappears. And sometimes you do it a 104th time and you feel more alive than ever before.

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