BRITISH GP – Max Verstappen wins a thrilling race four seconds ahead of Lando Norris

Testing & Race Reports

Max Verstappen has beaten Lando Norris by nearly four seconds to take his sixth win in a row at the British Grand Prix. The Red Bull driver looked still to be the driver to beat however his dominance shown this season didn’t see him just drive off into the distance.

The Dutchman made a poor start wheelspin off the line allowed Norris to overtake the Red Bull at the start after diving down the inside at Abbey. Once he had repassed Norris, he looked unstoppable going off into the lead, converting his pole into victory, despite dominating it was not as dominant as some of his victories this season.

Red Bull’s eleventh consecutive win equals McLaren’s record from 1988, as well as opening nearly a four-race win advantage at the half way stage in the season as he looks to be on course for a third consecutive title.

Norris impressively held the lead in the opening stages but was powerless to deny Verstappen once DRS was enabled on lap four, with the RB19 cruising into the lead on the Wellington Straight a lap later. Then Verstappen steadily built an advantage while taking good care of his tyres.

But it always looked unlikely that the Englishman could have taken a maiden win and after Verstappen passed him five laps later showed huge progress for McLaren as he then was able to hold Lewis Hamilton behind scoring his first podium at Silverstone. The first time in twenty-four years two British drivers have been on the podium.

Verstappen’s eighth win in ten races this year brought Red Bull level with the record McLaren established in their historic 1988 season with Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. The Red Bull driver looking on course halfway through the season to take his third consecutive title.

He said, “We had a terrible start so we need to look into why that was but after that Lando, both the McLaren’s were super quick, it took a few laps to pass them, and then at one point I could ease out a gap and then everything looks quite alright again.”

Hamilton who has won this race eight times was third in another strong recovery drive as he proved that Mercedes has a better race car coming from seventh. The seven-time champion benefited from the safety car, caused by Kevin Magnussen stopping on track, to gain four places.

But at the start he had dropped back two places, before the safety car and the following round of stops saw Hamilton gain four places.

Hamilton said, “Once again Silverstone put on a great show. We’ve got the greatest crowd here. Thank you to everyone supporting. I felt the energy, felt the support and it’s also the reason we got back up there. Big congratulations to Lando, to McLaren. That’s my family, where I first started.”

“To see them back up there looking so strong. That thing was so rapid around the corner. I couldn’t keep up. We had a good battle on the restart. The start wasn’t so great for me the long run on the medium was good.”

Hamilton and Norris finishing second and third, perhaps a silver lining the first time this century that two British drivers have finished on the podium.

Norris’s teammate Oscar Piastri looked to match his teammate’s pace and dropped to sixth following the second stop. But the Australian throughout the race managed to leapfrog George Russell, but the timing of the safety car allowed Hamilton to pass Piastri and himself.

But the timing of the safety car saw both drivers slip back, Piastri eventually finishing fourth four seconds ahead of Russell. Piastri in his rookie season starting to deliver the talent that made him a year ago the centre of a tussle between McLaren and Alpine, a faultless drive to fourth.

McLaren’s turn around is the story of the last ten days with Norris fourth in Spielberg and third this weekend. Despite that performance from Norris, few expected McLaren to produce the pace they did on Saturday at Silverstone to take second and third in qualifying.

But going into the race, their were doubts that McLaren could have held off the likes of Mercedes, Aston Martin and Ferrari who are between a hundred and hundred-fifty points ahead in the constructors. The team’s decision to pit Norris for hard, rather than soft – tyres under the Safety Car, looked highly questionable.

The Brit questioned his team on the choice over team radio, and perhaps spared their blushes with awesome defence against Hamilton, who was on soft tyres, which warm-up more quickly, at the restart. But the challenge for the team is how do they perform at the next few races which alternate between Silverstone’s high speed nature and Budapest’s  lower speed technical circuits.

He told Sky Sport, “We achieved these results on merit. We were generally the second-quickest team today which was a very happy surprise. On my side we were unlucky with the safety car timing with Lewis but it is nice in some ways to be disappointed with fourth considering where we were at the start of the year.”

In the opening laps as well, the Australian looked to follow his teammate through pass Verstappen who fended off the Red Bull driver but that was never likely to last long. Once past, as has been the case in 2023, the Dutchman steadily built an advantage while taking good care of his tyres, which ensured he, like Hamilton and Norris, was still out on track when the Safety Car interruption came.

Once again Verstappen executed a perfect restart after catching Norris off guard, then open up a two-second lead by the end of the lap. After that, there was little doubt about the outcome, and it is currently difficult to see how anything other than a reliability issue could bring Verstappen’s dominant run to an end.

Sergio Perez produced a solid recovery drive form fifteenth to finish sixth, the Mexican a second and a half behind Russell. The Mexican however was struggling to make up ground before the safety car, however, was able to pass Fernando Alonso with a late move at Stowe. Alonso struggled once again to show the strong pace that Aston Martin had early in the season finishing seventh, seven tenths ahead of Alex Albon.

Albon making sure all British-born drivers scored points as Williams continued to show the pace and step forwards which has been one of the surprises this weekend. Albon’s eighth place in some place a disappointment following the highs of Friday practice.

Ferrari, at one stage this season looking like the third-fastest team, look to be in a slump. Old habits of making the wrong calls on strategy raised their ugly heads they made the wrong call on tyres resulting in Charles Leclerc slipping from fourth to ninth and last year’s winner Carlos Sainz from fifth to tenth.

Underlining the progress by Williams made this weekend Logan Sargeant was eleventh, the American just over two tenths ahead of the Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas. Nico Hulkenberg thirteenth eight tenths ahead of Lance Stroll and Guanyu Zhou.

Stroll was given a penalty fore an incident when he was fighting with Esteban Ocon through Club. However, Ocon later retired form the race because of an hydraulic issue. Guanyu Zhou was fifteenth ahead of Yuki Tsunoda and Nyck De Vries. Ocon joined his teammate in retirement following damage to  the suspension on his car in a collision with Lance Stroll.


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