The 2021 British Grand Prix went down to the wire after a dramatic start at the iconic Silverstone circuit. Despite a time penalty, Lewis Hamilton drove spectacularly to climb up the order and take the win for Mercedes as Charles Leclerc settled for second place for Ferrari, and Valtteri Bottas finished third for Mercedes.
At the start of the race, Verstappen got a great launch from pole position. But Hamilton refused to give up the fight. Hamilton lined up his move into Copse and flat out they went. Verstappen turned in and found Hamilton’s front left tyre where the rear right of his Red Bull wanted to be. They touched turning in at over 300kms an hour. Verstappen pirouetted and slammed right into the barriers. The Dutchman was out of the race, as his car was destroyed thereafter. Although shaken heavily and no points to his name, the championship leader walked away from the incident unharmed. Leclerc in the Ferrari used the opportunity to get past Hamilton into the lead right before the race was red-flagged.
Following the melee, hearing the banter between Toto Wolf (Mercedes Team Principal) and Christian Horner (Red Bull Team Principal) arguing their cases to The Race Director Michale Masi over the radio about the incident was quite insightful. In the end, Hamilton was given a 10-second penalty for the incident which he would serve during his pitstop.
On the restart, Leclerc beat Hamilton into turn 1 and had clear air ahead of him. However, a few laps in, Leclerc started to drop back with engine issues but eventually, a software reset fixed them while maintaining his lead. Hamilton pitted a few laps later and served his penalty. He came out in fifth place and had his work cut out for him.
Leclerc followed him to the pits a few laps later and kept his lead over Bottas. After all the front runners had stopped, Hamilton was fourth behind Norris. The reigning champion got past the McLaren and was closing the gap to Bottas.
Mercedes issued team orders to let Hamilton pass Bottas. A handful of laps remained and Hamilton was reeling down the Ferrari in the lead.
Leclerc hadn’t put a foot wrong as he led every lap of the race till then. With two laps remaining, Hamilton had closed the gap and made his move for the lead, again into Copse. But with caution this time around. Leclerc tried to fight him but ran wide. Hamilton took the lead as the capacity Silverstone crowd cheered loudly for their home driver for the remainder of the race as he went on to claim his victory.
Behind Hamilton, Leclerc and Bottas, Norris and Ricciardo finished fourth and fifth for McLaren. Sainz came home sixth for Ferrari ahead of Fernando Alonso, Lance Stroll, Esteban Ocon and Yuki Tsunoda all of whom scored championship points in the race.
Hamilton took his eighth British GP win and Verstappen, not scoring points means that the Dutchman leads the championship by just 7 points.