Sunday 18th July 2021
Hamilton outstanding after punishment
Ferrari dramatically loses almost certain victory
After the serious accident on lap one, Charles Leclerc leads the Grand Prix of Great Britain. In the final phase, the long-standing Formula 1 dominator Lewis Hamilton comes closer and closer to the Ferrari driver. And forces the people of Monaco to make a decisive mistake.
After Max Verstappen’s high-speed crash in Silverstone, Lewis Hamilton made the Formula 1 world title fight exciting again. The English local hero caught the leading Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc with a hammer overtaking maneuver shortly before the end, who had long gone like the sure winner. After the lightning strike of Verstappen, Mercedes driver Hamilton shortened the deficit in the fight for the title to just eight points with his eighth home win in England, despite a ten-second penalty.
In the England chaos in front of the XXL backdrop of around 140,000 fans, Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas came third. Sebastian Vettel turned around in the back field after a self-inflicted spin and later had to park his Aston Martin early due to a defect. After an almost 40-minute break in the race because of the Verstappen-Hamilton accident in his defeated Haas, Mick Schumacher was only the last to cross the finish line. Verstappen was in shock and continued medical care in a hospital as a preventive measure. “We never give up,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff over the radio. “Damn right,” replied Hamilton.
Before that, Verstappen had broken through the Silver Arrows series one after the other after nine Mercedes poles at Silverstone. “He’s shown who’s the boss,” said Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko, praising the Dutchman’s performance. By winning the sprint premiere over 17 laps, the 23-year-old secured pole position ahead of Hamilton for the fourth time in a row and collected three points in advance. There was no more for Verstappen after his accident.
There was a festival atmosphere in the stands – and among the drivers. “To see these flags, this energy, these people, that reinforces my love for the sport,” enthused Hamilton when looking at the crowd before the start. The prerequisite for the Grand Prix visit was either a negative rapid test or proof of a complete vaccination for the ticket holders.
Verstappen is 51 times his body weight
“I’ll give it my all,” announced Hamilton, then it was a tough start. Verstappen and Hamilton dueled side by side after the red lights went out.
After just one lap, there was a crash. In the Copse corner, where a speed of around 290 km / h is driven, the leader Verstappen and Hamilton touched the tires. The Dutchman lost control, shot off the asphalt into the gravel and crashed into the tire wall. However, he was visibly exhausted and was able to get out of the car himself and then waved to the audience.
“He is in shock and has been really shaken,” reported Marko on Sky TV. Verstappen’s team boss Christian Horner scolded: “It’s an enormous accident and it was 100 percent Max’s corner, Hamilton should never have been in this position.” 51g would have prevailed on the impact. For comparison: In Formula 1 cars, when driving around bends, the drivers can feel 5g. The safety car came out, but then the tenth race of the season was interrupted. Verstappen’s car was badly demolished and the scene of the accident had to be secured.
Leclerc lasts long, but not long enough
The spectacle continued with a standing start – this time with Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc in the lead directly in front of Hamilton, whose car had also been damaged in the collision. Vettel promptly made a driving error, spun off the track and was thrown back from sixth place to the end of the field.
Hamilton now had to accelerate, as he had been given a ten-second penalty by the race stewards. Before him, Leclerc complained several times about power failures in his engine. On lap 28, Hamilton pitted, served his penalty and resumed the chase after standing for 14.2 seconds. Vettel and Schumacher meanwhile struggled at the end of the field.
Leclerc’s stop two laps later went smoothly, with Monegasse setting the pace up front. Vettel had to park his car in the garage disappointed. Hamilton attacked vehemently and was again on the last few kilometers – and even snatched the acclaimed home win in front of Leclerc thanks to an outstanding catch-up in the final phase.