Hamilton Silverstone Grand Prix

British Grand Prix: Hamilton back on top?

The 2024 Silverstone Grand Prix was probably as British as it gets, with an all-British top three starting grid, the usual British summer rain, and most importantly, a victory for motorsport legend Sir Lewis Hamilton.

The Grand Prix saw 39-year-old Hamilton stepping on the first step of the podium for the first time since Saudi Arabia in 2021, and in the process winning a record breaking nine times at the same circuit, with the previous record being held jointly by himself and Michael Schumacher at eight wins.

Hamilton dedicated his win to the fans and to the team, Silverstone marking the last home Grand Prix with the Silver Arrows before his move to the Scuderia, leaving him in tears at the top of the podium. 

The season is living up to the fans’ expectations, with six race winners, already double last year’s figures (and it’s not even the summer break!). The races have also shown some thrilling battles on track and gripping overtakes, for instance the two McLarens and the two Mercedes in Silverstone before the rain on lap 16. 

A “Sunday to forget” for Leclerc, with the strategy at Ferrari being again disastrous, the driver pitting a solid eight laps for intermediate tires before it even started raining on track. Was this again a case of inept strategists or was it a wrong driver instinct? Leclerc has often complained about his strategists, but in this case the decision should really have come from the driver who is out on the track. Let’s hope that next weekend goes better, as it has been a very unfortunate streak for the driver since his Monaco home win. 

With the rain taking its time to start falling, many teams’ strategies were set off the tracks. This was notably the case of McLaren, who should’ve (as Zak Brown admitted) double stacked, losing Piastri a few seconds instead of leaving him for a whole lap on a wet track with dry tyres. The few seconds would have certainly been worth it and potentially resulted in another podium for the Aussie. 

Verstappen and Red Bull, as usual, had great timing for the switch to inters, allowing him to gain precious seconds on Lando Norris, ultimately resulting in his overtake in the final laps of the race. The retirement due to a water system failure was very disappointing for Russell at Mercedes, as the Brit could have easily contended for a podium if not a win this weekend.

McLaren and Norris were slow to pit and switch back to dry tyres once the rain had passed, with the extra long pit stop (4.5 seconds) leaving him a little over a second behind Hamilton in the lead. Still a good result for McLaren this weekend with Norris in P3 and Piastri in P4, but it could have been easily improved with better timings.

Verstappen surprised the fans by coming back out on hard tyres after the rain while most teams opted for used softs or mediums, but him managing to set a fastest lap and overtake Norris shows the sheer dominance of the Red Bull DRS in the straights and the Dutchman’s skills. His P2 finish was almost disappointing with the standards he set, but there was nothing Norris could have done to prevent the overtake once Verstappen was in his exhaust pipes.

At the very end of the race Sainz benefited from a free pit stop with the gap he had built up to Hulkenberg in P6, and managed to impressively snatch the fastest lap from the Dutchman. It was a good race for Haas, Williams, and Aston Martin managing to finish at the top of the midfield.

Checo, who is rumored to potentially be losing his seat next year despite his contract, had another mediocre weekend finishing in P17. But the candidates to replace him are not exactly lining up at the door: Ricciardo hasn’t been delivering good results for RB, and Tsunoda is doing well but not enough for a front seat at Red Bull. Lawson could be extremely promising, but the team will certainly make the decision of giving him a year run in the RB first. Sainz, who has not yet signed a contract for next year, should really be at the top of Horner’s list to replace the Mexican driver. 

Given how the past few races are going for Mercedes and Ferrari, it’s not unreasonable to think that Hamilton might be second-guessing his move. Mercedes has shown that they are still capable of delivering wins, with Russell in Austria too, when they have a good car, with Ferrari still having to battle some incomprehensible strategy decisions. 

It’s now two wins in a row for the British drivers – if the Netherlands don’t eliminate the Three Lions in the Euros, Verstappen might very well get his revenge at the next race in Hungary in two weeks.