From the first second, Hamilton made it clear that he was ready for a fierce fight on Sunday afternoon. In every corner, the Briton tried to overtake the Dutchman, but Verstappen defended successfully. In turn seven, however, disaster struck for Verstappen.
Hamilton hit Verstappen with his left front wheel at the back, after which the Red Bull driver went into the gravel at full speed and landed hard in the tire stack. Verstappen got out of his car after a few minutes, apparently unharmed, but went straight to the ‘medical’ for a check. Research has shown that Max Verstappen has not broken anything. The serious crash resulted in code red and a ten-second time penalty for Hamilton.
After more than half an hour, the race could be resumed from a normal starting position. Leclerc had passed Hamilton during the incident and so started from ‘pole’. The Monegask had a good restart and left Hamilton behind. Lando Norris also quickly shot away and immediately overtook Bottas.
Shortly after the restart, it also seemed the end of the story for Sebastian Vettel. The German spun after a duel with Fernando Alonso, but escaped a crash and was able to continue his way from the back.
The tires had a hard time in sweltering Silverstone where the track temperature rose to fifty degrees. Of the men in the top ten, Daniel Ricciardo was the first to put new tires on his car after 21 laps. Norris followed suit, but due to a dramatic pit stop he lost his third place to Bottas who had also come in in the meantime.
Hamilton vs Leclerc
After 28 laps Hamilton came in after shouting over the radio that his front tire was ‘dead’. At his pit stop, the Briton had to stop for ten seconds due to his time penalty. He came back on track in fourth, but soon passed Norris. That time penalty allowed Leclerc to make the ideal pit stop: from the lead to the lead. The Ferrari driver seemed to have problems with his engine, but was able to continue the race after some instructions from engineers.
12 laps before the end, Bottas was ordered to let Hamilton pass. Of course, the Briton made good use of this, after which he could open his hunt for leader Leclerc. The Ferrari driver defended as best he could, but Hamilton was able to pass him two laps before the end.
Despite the retirement, Verstappen kept the lead in the world championship standings, but his lead over Hamilton shrunk from 33 to 8 points. The next match will be in Hungary on August 1.
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