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Martin Brundle on British GP: Lewis Hamilton's Silverstone relief and Lando Norris' McLaren strategy regrets

Sky Sports F1's Martin Brundle delivers the final verdict on a wet but wonderful weekend of epic Formula 1 action at Silverstone - including the significance of Lewis Hamilton ending his long wait for another win and how the race got away from Lando Norris and McLaren

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Listen in to Mercedes team radio as Lewis Hamilton wins the British GP and is left emotional in his messages straight after

What. A. Race. Toto Wolff summed it up perfectly when he described Lewis Hamilton's epic drive as a fairytale victory.

The relief for Hamilton was clear for all to hear and see with his initially uncontrollable crying and heartfelt radio messages. The demons of Abu Dhabi 2021, and the lack of victories in the past 56 races in an unwilling car, were to an extent finally extinguished for him and the Mercedes team. It was a tearjerker.

Lewis has somehow found the motivation and dedication, surrounded by much younger drivers, to keep training, learning, travelling, and believing in himself these past two seasons.

And when the opportunity arose, he wasn't about to let it go.

The British 1-2-3 grid that set the scene

Silverstone put on a great four-day all-encompassing festival despite the best efforts of the appalling weather. Luckily on race day it was light showers rather heavy rain which spiced up the Grand Prix nicely.

Three Brits inhabiting the first three grid spots, after a superb effort from George Russell for pole position just edging out team-mate Hamilton, and the ever-popular Lando Norris in third, was just the ticket for most of the huge crowd.

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Karun Chandhok compares the fastest laps of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton from British Grand Prix qualifying

Max Verstappen was ominously in fourth on the grid despite aero floor damage after a trip through a gravel trap, in a Red Bull which no longer looks the fastest car, and from time to time a bit of a handful, given the improvements from McLaren and Mercedes.

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Ferrari lacked ultimate pace and have had a miserable run since that glorious Monaco victory, even having to backtrack on their aero updates to move away from bouncing. Charles Leclerc is having an especially difficult time having scored points only once in the four races since Monaco.

For Ferrari to be outqualified by their customer team Haas in the hands of Nico Hulkenberg was especially painful for them. The team feels they will soon be getting on top of the problems though.

Drivers' epic skills on display amid early wet chaos

So much happened in the race I couldn't begin to remember the chronology of all the events of such chaos, we were totally engaged in the commentary box just staying on top of the live action as it unfolded, and the race constantly ebbed and flowed.

Four drivers feel, with conviction and credibility, they should have won.

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George Russell holds the lead from Lewis Hamilton as Max Verstappen is up into third ahead of Lando Norris on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix

Russell led away from pole perfectly and held sway at the front. As rain started to fall on cue from the forecasts, he struggled a little as Hamilton used him as a reference point and closed in to pass in fine style on lap 18. Although Norris would pass them both by lap 20.

Russell's Mercedes had started losing water pressure and alarms were showing up on his steering wheel for some laps before he sadly had to retire on lap 33. But not before having lost the lead and then pitting behind Hamilton for a double stack which always involves waiting for the crew to regroup and tyres to be readied, costing valuable time.

Just a reminder here that each team only has one pit stop station for both cars, and so if they are running close together in the race and there's rain or a safety car for example, the second of the two drivers will have to wait in line for service or go around another lap. In some pitlanes there's not enough space for stacking but it happens anyway.

There was a phase around lap 16 when the track was wet and only just manageable on slicks but too dry for intermediate grooved tyres, not that it stopped Leclerc and Sergio Perez, among others, rolling the dice and fitting them anyway before instantly regretting it.

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Lando Norris takes full advantage of some slippery conditions at Silverstone, as he overtakes both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton for the race lead

It was clear now that the McLaren drivers had more confidence and grip as the Merc boys both took to the expansive tarmac run off in turn one. The driving skills on show all round were epic in such challenging conditions, while controlling immensely powerful cars on Silverstone's scarily fast layout.

The key strategy decisions McLaren got wrong

As the rain continued to fall the moment came to finally pit for intermediate tyres, and Verstappen and Red Bull, along with Carlos Sainz and Ferrari, and Hulkenberg at Haas, called it well on lap 26. Meanwhile Hamilton, Russell (still in the race at this point) and Norris all pitted a lap later which was still fine.

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Race highlights from Silverstone for the British Grand Prix

For some reason McLaren decided to not double stack their cars and, rather than having Oscar Piastri slow down a little into the second-and-a-half gap back to Hamilton, and give then up a few seconds waiting for service, they sent him around again. The track was now too wet for slicks and he lost out badly.

Looking at Piastri's pace in the final phase of the race on fresh medium compound dry tyres, the young Aussie becomes the second driver who can claim he would have won the race with validity, but he would only finish fourth.

With both the Mercedes and McLarens so close together this gave Red Bull more freedom with Verstappen for optimum pit-stop decisions, as Perez was way behind having started from the pitlane and then that early mistake of switching to intermediate tyres.

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Listen in to the cool-down room where Lewis Hamilton offers some advice to a despondent Lando Norris about McLaren's strategy at the British GP

The next decision was when to park the heavily distressed intermediate tyres on a drying track, and with which compound of slick dry tyre to use to the end of the race.

Sadly, McLaren and Norris would get this wrong on two counts. Pitting on lap 39, a lap later than Hamilton, Verstappen, and Piastri, Lando overshot his damp pit area and had a slower stop.

To make it worse, the team had been asking him if he wanted to cover off Max on the fresh hard compound tyres or Lewis on used soft tyres.

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Lando Norris believes he threw away the race win after making the wrong tyre choice and he should be making better decisions instead of missing out on victories

This was strange as the team had specifically saved two new sets of the favoured medium compound tyres for the race for both drivers. Norris decided on soft compound tyres, but this shouldn't have been his decision with all the other facts available.

As mentioned above, Piastri literally flew with his new medium tyres, and so now we have a third driver in Norris who can rightly claim he should have won the race.

'No doubt we are in for a truly epic 18 months now'

Verstappen lacked dry pace in his Red Bull in the early stages and says that he was imagining a fifth or sixth-place finish. But he stuck with it, worked well with his engineer, and fired up his new hard compound tyres very well to set off after Norris and Hamilton in the closing stages.

He easily dispatched Norris, who was struggling for handling balance on the soft tyres, and then closed to within a second-and-a-half of Hamilton when the chequered flag was unfurled on lap 52 to a rapturous response from the crowd.

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The funniest moments from the British Grand Prix, including roast dinner chat, Stormzy's Martin Brundle lyric and some CarLando appreciation!

Max is not the fourth driver to feel he should have won the race, he was pleasantly surprised with second place and yet again extending his championship lead, to a healthy 84 points.

Of course, the fourth driver who could have won did indeed do so, and in some style.

Hamilton managed his tyres well in the final 14 laps and held off his old nemesis for his ninth victory at Silverstone, some 17 years after his first in F1, giving him 104 wins and 199 podium trophies in his career so far.

He also became the sixth winner in the 12 races so far this season. We only had three winners in all last season, and I have no doubt that we are in for a truly epic 18 months of F1 racing now, before the all-new 2026 cars appear.

Next up for F1 is the Hungarian Grand Prix from Budapest on July 19-21. You can watch every session live on Sky Sports F1. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership - No contract, cancel anytime

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