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British GP 2021

JULY 19, 2021

Race Analysis - Crash and win

Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen,British GP 2021
© Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

By Dan Knutson

A tangle on lap two of the British Grand Prix sent Max Verstappen into the barriers and set up Lewis Hamilton's victory in his home grand prox. This is how his win unfolded.


Verstappen qualified his Red Bull on pole for the fourth consecutive time after winning the Sprint Qualifying on Saturday.


Hamilton started second in his Mercedes.


Next in the line-up came Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), McLaren teammates Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso (Alpine), and Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin).


A sellout crowd packed the Silverstone circuit.


With Verstappen having a slightly faster car, Hamilton knew it was crucial to take the lead as soon as possible. The pair dueled wheel-to-wheel on the first of 52 laps.


As they went into Turn 1, the 180 mph (290 km/h) Copse Corner to start lap 2, Hamilton dived for the inside. Hamilton's left-front wheel clipped Verstappen's right-rear. Verstappen slammed into the tire wall. Hamilton kept going, but he was now second behind Leclerc.

"Today, as always, I tried to be measured in how I approached the race, particularly battling with Max - he's very aggressive," Hamilton said, "but I was fully alongside him and he didn't leave me any space."


"I have reviewed the footage many times," said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, "and still cannot help but feel that putting a wheel up the inside at Copse, one of the fastest corners in this World Championship, was ill-judged and a huge risk by Lewis to both drivers.

"He was not significantly alongside Max as you can see from the point of contact, Lewis' front left to Max's right rear."


Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff saw things differently.

"It's a high speed corner and that's why these things are nasty to look at," he said, "but there is a clear regulation that is black and white on paper - if the front axle is over the middle of the car on the outside, it is your corner."


The race was red flagged for 36 minutes so that the wrecked Red Bull could be repaired and the barrier repaired.


Leclerc took the lead on the restart ahead of Hamilton, Norris, Bottas, Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz (Ferrari).


The stewards decided that Hamilton was to blame, and they handed him a 10 second penalty, which he would have to serve on his pit stop.

"Regardless of whether I agreed with the penalty, I took it on the chin and I just kept working," he said.


Leclerc's power unit started to act up around about lap 15. But the engineers coached him on what setting adjustments to make, and it seemed to cure the problem.


Hamilton pitted at the end of lap 27 to switch from the medium to the hard compound Pirelli tires. With the penalty, it was a 14.2 second stop. That dropped him to fourth behind Leclerc, Bottas and Norris.


On the start of lap 31 Hamilton passed Norris.


On lap 40 Bottas followed team orders and let Hamilton into second place.


With 10 laps remaining, Leclerc was 6.5 seconds ahead of Hamilton.


Hamilton closed in, and he took the lead on lap 50.

"Unfortunately, Lewis was just more competitive on the hards," Leclerc said after finishing second. "I could feel his pace as he approached me and there was not much I could do. On the upside, we were quicker than anyone else on the mediums, which we did not expect."


Bottas finished third.

"During the race," he said, "we only had one option when Lando (Norris) had a slow pit-stop: we had to pit as well, even though we knew the second stint would be long, and that's how it proved - it was tough towards the end of the race with the tires blistering badly."


Hamilton went on to win the British Grand Prix for the eighth time.


Hamilton now has 99 F1 victories.


Verstappen, who had been taken to the hospital, was released at 10 p.m.