SILVERSTONE: Lewis Hamilton won his home British Grand Prix for a record eighth time yesterday after battling back from a 10-second penalty imposed for a first-lap collision that halted the race and left Red Bull rival Max Verstappen in hospital.
The Mercedes driver, now only eight points behind Verstappen after 10 races, passed Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc for the lead with two laps to go as a capacity 140,000 crowd rose to cheer him.
Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas was third after obeying team orders to let Hamilton through and chase Leclerc in a race halted after Verstappen’s crash and then re-started.
The win was the 99th of seven-times world champion Hamilton’s Formula One career and fourth of the current campaign. It was also the worst possible result for Verstappen, who had started on pole position with a 33-point lead but failed to complete a lap after suffering the biggest accident of his career when he crashed out at Copse corner.
Hamilton went down the inside, Verstappen moved across and they tangled wheels – the Red Bull’s rear right touching the front left of the Mercedes.
The stewards deemed Hamilton was to blame. Red Bull said Verstappen was battered and bruised and in hospital for further checks. Team boss Christian Horner criticised Hamilton for a mistake he deemed amateur, dangerous and desperate. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said, however, that the situation was more nuanced and “it takes two to tango”.
“This is a dream for me today, to do it in front of you all,” Hamilton told the biggest crowd to attend a sporting event in Britain since the start of the pandemic.
“I always try to be measured in how I approach, particularly with battling with Max, he’s very aggressive. And then today I was fully alongside him and he didn’t leave space.
“Regardless of whether I agree with the penalty, I take it on the chin and I just kept working. I was like ‘I’m not going to let anything get in the way of the crowd’s enjoyment of the weekend and the national anthem and the British flag’.”
There was no point awarded for fastest lap, with Red Bull’s Mexican Sergio Perez setting it but failing to secure the necessary top 10 finish to trigger the bonus.