Isla Public Media KPRG
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Lewis Hamilton edges Max Verstappen for a thrilling win at the British Grand Prix

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, right, celebrates on the podium after winning the British Formula One Grand Prix race at the Silverstone racetrack in Silverstone, England, on Sunday.
Luca Bruno
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, right, celebrates on the podium after winning the British Formula One Grand Prix race at the Silverstone racetrack in Silverstone, England, on Sunday.

SILVERSTONE, England — Lewis Hamilton held off Max Verstappen’s late charge to win a thrilling British Grand Prix on Sunday and secure his first victory since the penultimate race of the 2021 season.

Hamilton became the first F1 driver to win on any track nine times and also extended his F1 record to 104 wins. His last came at the Saudi Arabian GP in December 2021 — the year he lost the title to Red Bull driver Verstappen.

“You’ve got to continue to dig deep even when you are feeling the bottom of the barrel,” Hamilton said. “My fans around the world have been so supportive.”

It was a fitting way for Hamilton to end his last British GP with Mercedes, before joining Ferrari next year.

“This is my last race here with this team so I wanted to win this so much for them because I love them and I appreciate them so much,” he said. “I was coming round and there’s just no greater feeling than to finish at the front here.”

The seven-time F1 champion beat defending champion Verstappen by 1.5 seconds, with Lando Norris finishing third for McLaren ahead of teammate Oscar Piastri.

A tearful-sounding Hamilton thanked his team over radio and was still emotional several minutes later as he struggled to compose himself.

“I’m still crying,” Hamilton said as he addressed the crowd. “There’s definitely been days between 2021 and here when I didn’t feel I was good enough.”

There were high hopes for a home win at Silverstone, with Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate George Russell on pole position ahead of Hamilton and with Norris going from third and Verstappen fourth.

Russell’s hopes of a second straight F1 win ended on Lap 34 of 52 with a suspected water system issue on his car. A few laps later, McLaren botched Norris’ tire change.

Verstappen overtook Norris with four laps left but could not catch Hamilton, to the delight of most of the 164,000 fans attending the race.

Moments after crossing the line, Hamilton jumped into the arms of mechanics and then shared a long hug with his father. Then it was time to absorb the applause from the home fans. Carrying a British flag he jumped over a crash barrier and then held it aloft.

“I can see you lap by lap, there’s just no greater feeling,” he told the cheering crowd.

The start saw Russell and Hamilton get away cleanly while Verstappen overtook Norris.

Rain started falling some 25 minutes into the race and made the 5.9-kilometer (3.7-mile) track more greasy.

After Hamilton took the lead from Russell on the damp track, Norris took advantage of a Russell error to move into second.

Verstappen, Norris and both Mercedes cars pitted for new tires shortly after the halfway point of the race. But McLaren kept Piastri out a little longer, which ultimately cost him a chance of victory.

After the tire-change shakeup, Norris was just over three seconds ahead of Hamilton while Verstappen was drifting back at this point.

The next tire changes, with a little more than 10 laps remaining, proved crucial.

Verstappen, Hamilton and Norris made quick changes but McLaren took too long on Norris’ rears - 4.5 seconds - and he came out 2.4 seconds behind race leader Hamilton, with Verstappen now making up ground fast.

He couldn’t get close enough, though, and Hamilton’s win made it six different winners so far this season — compared to just three in 22 races last year.

Although Verstappen is not winning as much, he is still extending his gap because Norris is finishing behind him.

He is 84 points ahead of Norris in the standings, 255-171, with Charles Leclerc in third place with 150. Despite collecting 25 points for his win, Hamilton is eighth overall with 110.

Carlos Sainz Jr. finished Sunday’s race in fifth for Ferrari ahead of Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg, with Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin), Alex Albon (Williams) and Yuki Tsunoda (RB) rounding out the top 10.

Sergio Perez apologized to Red Bull after qualifying in a dismal 19th, and started from the pit lane as his team made multiple part changes. He finished 17th, while Leclerc started 11th and placed 14th.

Copyright 2024 NPR

The Associated Press
[Copyright 2024 NPR]