Hamilton wins at home to end drought

Hamilton wins at home to end drought
Hamilton wins at home to end drought

The Mercedes driver said he couldn’t stop crying after winning his ninth race at Silverstone and moving level with Schumacher for the most wins at a single circuit

  • Reuters and AFP, SILVERSTONE, England

Of all the Formula 1 firsts Lewis Hamilton achieved on Sunday (and there were quite a few), the sobs over the radio and the tears in the arms of his father Anthony will live long in the memory.

The most successful driver of all time has enjoyed countless highlights since his sensational debut in 2007, but the long wait for his record 104th career victory was something else entirely.

The Mercedes driver’s first victory since the controversial 2021 season, a drought that lasted 945 days and 56 races, was a record ninth at Hamilton’s home race in Britain, ending a flood of pent-up emotions.

Photo: AFP Warning: Excessive alcohol consumption can damage your health

“I can’t stop crying,” the 39-year-old told his former teammate and 2009 champion Jenson Button in a pre-podium interview, when his compatriot said he had never seen him so emotional after a race.

“There have definitely been days between 2021 and now where I felt like I wasn’t good enough or that I wasn’t going to get back to where I am,” Hamilton said.

“I’ve never cried after a win, it just came out of me and it’s a really, really great feeling. I’m really, really grateful for it,” he later told reporters.

The seven-time champion finished 1.465 seconds ahead of the standings leader and three-time champion Max Verstappen.

In a rollercoaster race of changing weather and track conditions, Lando Norris finished third, ahead of McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg. Lance Stroll finished seventh for Aston Martin.

Hamilton gave a masterclass in tyre and race management to claim his 150th podium finish for Mercedes.

“I’ve been waiting for this,” shouted Briton Hamilton after crossing the finish line in his Mercedes to take his ninth victory at Silverstone, breaking the tie with Michael Schumacher for the most wins at a single circuit.

Hamilton will leave Mercedes for Ferrari after this season.

“This is my last British GP with this team. I wanted to win so badly for them. I love them so much. All the hard work they’ve put in,” he said.

Verstappen overtook Norris in the final laps.

“We just didn’t have the speed today,” Verstappen said. “I slowly dropped back when it mattered in the beginning. It really didn’t look good at one point, but we made the right decisions.”

Norris lost the lead after an incorrect pit stop.

“First of all congratulations to Lewis,” said Norris. “That crucial decision at the end, he just did it better, so hats off to him and Mercedes, they deserve it. It was tough. It was fun to fight against these guys and in these difficult conditions, risking a lot, on the edge.”

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