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Hamilton Ends Drought With Emotional F1 British GP Victory

f1 british grand prix 2024
Hamilton Scores Emotional F1 British GP VictoryNurPhoto - Getty Images

The battle of the Brits was influenced by a mid-race rain shower – of course, it’s Silverstone – and it was Lewis Hamilton who ended his long, long wait for victory by triumphing at the British Grand Prix for a record ninth time. Autoweek rounds up the talking points as Formula 1 reaches the mid-point of 2024.

Elated Hamilton Sends Silverstone Wild

The 104th victory of Lewis Hamilton’s career has been a long time coming.

The 103rd was achieved during the peak of his intense title battle with Max Verstappen, in Saudi Arabia, in December 2021, with the prospect of another win – and potential eighth crown – snatched away on the infamous final lap in Abu Dhabi the following weekend.

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Mercedes’ struggles through 2022 and 2023 limited Hamilton to podiums but its recent rejuvenation has catapulted the team back into victory contention, and at Silverstone its W15 was firmly on the pace.

Hamilton slotted into second off the line behind pole-sitting Mercedes team-mate George Russell, and remained in the hunt through a mid-race rain shower in which McLaren’s Lando Norris vaulted to the front, with nearly all of the leaders having moments.

The crucial juncture came when the circuit reached the crossover point for slicks, with second-placed Hamilton stopping one lap earlier, facilitating him in re-taking the lead from Norris.

f1 grand prix of great britain
Hamilton last won in December 2021. Kym Illman - Getty Images

Hamilton resisted the threat from Norris during the closing stages – and then a fast-charging Max Verstappen – to send Silverstone wild, ending his 945-day wait for a win, and becoming the first driver to take nine wins at a single grand prix, at an event which he loves, and where the fans adore him. Hamilton also became the oldest winner since Nigel Mansell in 1994, at the age of 39.

Hamilton was in tears on his in-lap, emotionally embraced both of his parents, and was joined on the podium by his long-term race engineer Pete ‘Bono’ Bonnington.

“It feels different to previous races, and particularly races where you’re having race after race after race, or seasons where you’re having multiple wins,” Hamilton said. “I think with the adversity we've gone through as a team, and that I personally felt that I’ve experienced, those challenges, the constant challenge like we all have to get up out of bed every day and give it our best shot. There are so many times when you feel like your best shot is not good enough, and the disappointment sometimes that you can feel. We live in a time where mental health is such a serious issue, and I’m not going to lie, I've not been… I have experienced that. There’s definitely been moments where the thought that this was it, that it was never going to happen again. So to have this feeling coming across the line, I think honestly, I've never cried coming from a win. It just came out of me. It’s a really, really great feeling. I’m very, very grateful for it.”

f1 grand prix of great britain
Nico Hulkenberg of Germany driving the (27) Haas F1 VF-24 Ferrari on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone Circuit on July 07, 2024 in Northampton, England.James Sutton - Formula 1 - Getty Images

Hulkenberg And Haas Thrive Again

Another grand prix, another sixth place for Nico Hulkenberg and Haas. The team introduced a sizeable upgrade package at Silverstone – mainly targeting its medium-speed weaknesses – and Hulkenberg used it to qualify an excellent sixth. A tricky first lap relegated Hulkenberg to ninth but he grouped, he and Haas made the right calls in a difficult grand prix, and wound up in sixth place, replicating last Sunday’s result in Austria. It means that in the space of successive Sundays Haas has not only given itself breathing room over Alpine in the standings, but has closed to within four points of RB in a battle for sixth in the standings that had appeared done and dusted.

“I’m very happy for the team, eight more points on the board – super valuable,” Hulkenberg said. “More importantly, the performance is there with this update and that makes me optimistic for the remainder of the season. We’re definitely in the fight now for the fifth-fastest team, which is obviously positive and nobody expected that a few weeks ago.”

Kevin Magnussen was 12th in the old-spec VF-24 but still had a strong race from his grid spot of 17th.

“It’s an excellent day,” said Haas Team Principal Ayao Komatsu. “It's a shame we couldn’t score points with both cars as had Kevin not had that graining issue on the softs in the last stint, he would’ve been close to scoring points. Overall, P6 at two races in a row, what more can I ask for. The updates have worked again and Nico felt it straightaway on Friday, his qualifying on Saturday showed it and his race pace today showed it. Kevin in the old spec car was happy, but I think he had damage from FP2, so all in all today, these are results to be proud of. It wasn’t an easy race, there were changeable conditions and it’s easy to say you only have to put the right tires on at the right time, but it’s much more difficult to do, but we achieved that. It’s been a huge team effort so I’m really proud of them.”

f1 grand prix of great britain
Charles Leclerc finished 14th Sunday. Kym Illman - Getty Images

Leclerc’s Phase ‘Worse Than A Nightmare’

Charles Leclerc described his current phase as “worse than a nightmare” as a wrong tire call skewered a British Grand Prix that was already in underwhelming territory for Ferrari. Leclerc was 31 points behind Max Verstappen after his Monaco win but that deficit has now swelled to 105 points after a dismal run of races. Ferrari reverted to its previous specification package at Silverstone as while its newest updates – introduced in Spain two rounds ago – delivered on the anticipated numbers, the SF-24 still encountered bouncing at high speed.

“At a track like this we decided it was probably better having a bit less performance but having more the consistency and I think it was the right choice,” Leclerc said.

Leclerc was only seventh when Ferrari pitted him for intermediate tires when the initial rain started to fall, but the track remained sufficiently dry, and it proved the wrong call.

“I was told the rain was going to be heavy so I stopped to anticipate, but the rain came eight or nine laps later, so that was obviously the end of our race, very frustrating, another weekend to forget and it starts to be a lot,” Leclerc said. “I don’t really have the words to explain it but it’s been four races that have been worse than a nightmare, so I hope we can come back soon.”

Carlos Sainz took fifth place in the other Ferrari but was not in contention up front at a circuit where he claimed his maiden victory in 2022.

“Everyone in the team, including me, is impatient to get some good results,” said Ferrari Team Principal Frederic Vasseur.

British F1 Grand Prix Results

1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 52 1:22:27.059 25 2 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT 52 +1.465s 18 3 4 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes 52 +7.547s 15 4 81 Oscar Piastri McLaren Mercedes 52 +12.429s 12 5 55 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 52 +47.318s 11 6 27 Nico Hulkenberg Haas Ferrari 52 +55.722s 8 7 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes 52 +56.569s 6 8 14 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes 52 +63.577s 4 9 23 Alexander Albon Williams Mercedes 52 +68.387s 2 10 22 Yuki Tsunoda RB Honda RBPT 52 +79.303s 1 11 2 Logan Sargeant Williams Mercedes 52 +88.960s 0 12 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 52 +90.153s 0 13 3 Daniel Ricciardo RB Honda RBPT 51 +1 lap 0 14 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 51 +1 lap 0 15 77 Valtteri Bottas Kick Sauber Ferrari 51 +1 lap 0 16 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault 50 +2 laps 0 17 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT 50 +2 laps 0 18 24 Zhou Guanyu Kick Sauber Ferrari 50 +2 laps 0 NC 63 George Russell Mercedes 33 DNF 0 NC 10 Pierre Gasly Alpine Renault 0 DNS 0

Pos

No

Driver

Car

Laps

Time/Retired

PTS

* Provisional results. Note - Sainz scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race.