Lewis Hamilton wins British GP after holding off late Max Verstappen charge (2024)

George Russell started the Silverstone race on pole and Lando Norris also led for a spell, but it was Lewis Hamilton who did it for Britain by beating Max Verstappen to the chequered flag

Lewis Hamilton wins British GP after holding off late Max Verstappen charge (1)

Lewis Hamilton held off a late charge from Max Verstappen to finally end 945 days of hurt in front of an adoring Silverstone crowd.

George Russell started the British Grand Prix on pole and Lando Norris also led his home race for a while. But it was Hamilton who got the job done, even with a Red Bull in his rear view mirrors in the final stages.

Hamilton decided over the winter to leave Mercedes for Ferrari next year, in order to win again before his retirement. But he didn't even have to wait that long and could not have picked a more perfect venue to achieve career victory number 104.

At the end of a rain-hit race, the clouds parted and the sun came back out to bathe the track in sunshine as Hamilton took the chequered flag. And he was audibly in tears as he took to the radio to thank his Mercedes team for their work.

The race started in the sunshine and Russell got the launch he needed to keep team-mate Hamilton at bay. More than that, within a few laps he had already pulled out of DRS range of the other Mercedes, while Hamilton in turn had moved to more than one second ahead of Verstappen.

The Dutchman had started fourth but came out on top in his first wheel-to-wheel battle with Norris since their collision in Austria last Sunday. But he was falling further and further away from the Mercedes cars ahead, and there was no suggestion that it was through tyre management.

That was because there was a large rain cloud on the way that engineers up and down the paddock were warning their drivers about. It was expected to hit at lap 16 - but that was only the first, shorter spell. After another brief bit of sunshine, the real downpours began.

The first big roar of the day came on lap 18, after the droplets had started to fall. Norris had Verstappen in his sights but there was be no repeat of their protracted duel in Austria - he used DRS to fly past the Red Bull and earn a loud standing ovation from the Silverstone crowd.

Oscar Piastri was soon past Verstappen too, but that was lost on the home fans who were too busy roaring at the fact Hamilton had caught up with Russell and moved past to take the lead of his home Grand Prix. But then they both went off the track while duelling and that brought Norris into striking distance.

Not that he needed the help, though, because the wetter conditions were suiting the McLarens which were suddenly flying. Norris flew past Russell with ease before doing the same to Hamilton to take the lead, while Piastri also had no problem getting past the Mercedes cars.

Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez were among a handful of drivers who had pitted for intermediate tyres early, but they were losing several seconds a lap and the gamble did not pay off. By the time wet weather tyres were actually needed, both had been lapped by several cars.

Lap 27 was when Red Bull pulled the trigger with Verstappen - sparking an avalanche of visits to the pit lane. Mercedes had the gap to double stack their pit stops but McLaren didn't so Piastri had to stay out for another lap. By the time he had reach the pit entry again, Norris had already caught up with him and the Aussie dropped to sixth.

Verstappen was hoping to close the gap but instead found it widening again, and was soon complaining over the radio about his tyres overheating even though the rain continued to fall. But he didn't have to worry about Russell anymore as the Briton was told to retire his Mercedes.

When the time came for slick tyres, different approaches were taken. Hamilton went for softs while Verstappen wanted mediums. Leader Norris elected to go for the softs to cover Hamilton but overshot his marks in the pit box and it meant his mechanics had to readjust to get his tyres on.

He lost two seconds as a result and by the time he came back out of the pit lane, Hamilton was ahead again. And he was clearly focused on the job at hand, telling race engineer Peter Bonnington to stop giving him updates on others.

But after taking the chequered flag he declared: "I love you, Bono." And struggled to contain his emotions as he clambered out of his car and held the Union Flag aloft to salute the crowd.

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Lewis Hamilton wins British GP after holding off late Max Verstappen charge (2024)
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