British GP 2021 Review
By Jim K. July 19. 2021
Image: Red Bull Content Pool
Image: Racing Point F1
Image: Red Bull Content Pool
Lewis Hamilton took an eighth British Grand Prix win at Silverstone in a race that could have seismic consequences for the championship. The Brit collided with title rival Max Verstappen as the two incessantly dueled on the opening lap of the race. Verstappen came off worse with a terrifying 5.1G crash into the barriers, ending any hopes to extend his championship lead. Hamilton drove his Mercedes to victory after a race-long fight with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, despite serving a contentious 10-second penalty at his pit stop.
The race stewards hit Hamilton with one of the more lenient penalties at their disposal. A drive-through penalty or 10-second stop/go could've hurt the Brit more, and Verstappen will undoubtedly feel he'll leave Silverstone hard done by with zero points from Sunday. It's the talking point of the race that will continue being debated until the next Grand Prix in Hungary, if not longer. Red Bull argued for a harsher punishment for Hamilton, while Mercedes claim their driver was not the sole reason for the crash.
Sunday's grid was set for another duel between Verstappen and Hamilton following the debut of F1 Sprint on Saturday. The shortened race altered the starting positions from Friday's qualifying session by replacing the home hero with Verstappen's Red Bull on pole position. Any on-track support Max would've hoped for disappeared as his Mexican team mate, Sergio Perez, spun on the exit of Chapel and retired. He would begin the Grand Prix in last place.
Ferrari called Sprint the equivalent of a red flag, and it's hard to disagree. The trial event failed to provide any more Saturday entertainment than usual, although Alpine's Fernando Alonso's opening lap was a spectacle to watch. The two-time champion somehow overtook six cars from P11 on the opening lap, ultimately finishing in seventh; a position he would then cross the finish line in for the full-fat Grand Prix.
When the racing resumed on Sunday, a fired-up Hamilton appeared to know any hope of getting past Verstappen would come on Lap 1. The Dutchman's superior pace one day earlier confirmed any Mercedes car upgrades were not enough to address the speed advantage of their Red Bull rivals. With wheel-to-wheel racing off the line and all the way to Copse corner, the two championship protagonists provided breathtaking action.
With Verstappen just having the edge, it was Hamilton in the slipstream on the old pit straight as he took the inside line of the ultra-fast right-hand Turn 9. Hamilton had pulled alongside but backed out slightly before the apex thanks to the acute angle Verstappen forced him to face the corner with. When Max turned his RB16B in, his rear right caught the front of the Mercedes, sending him hurtling into the barriers and out of the race.
Image: Scuderia Ferrari
Image: Williams F1