Lewis Hamilton paid tribute to his Mercedes team after winning his eighth British Grand Prix at a packed Silverstone in a controversial race that saw the seven-time World Champion crash with Max Verstappen on the opening lap of the race before coming back through the field to win.
Despite setting the fastest time in qualifying, Hamilton would start second on the grid after being beaten by Verstappen in the inaugural Sprint Qualifying after Verstappen got the perfect start from second on the grid.
At the greenlight, Hamilton got a better jump and got alongside Verstappen into Turn 1 before the pair banged wheels on the run-up to the Brooklands corner.
However, into Copse corner Hamilton and Verstappen tangled, sending Verstappen flying into the wall and ending his race, which will be remembered as a dramatic moment in the championship race.
Leclerc took the race lead off Hamilton in the midst of the drama and would be ahead of the defending World Champion into Turn 1 when the race restarted after damage to the Copse corner barrier had been repaired.
Hamilton was then given a ten-second penalty for the incident with Verstappen, with the Brit serving the penalty at his pitstop on Lap 28, rejoining in fifth place behind Lando Norris.
But Hamilton quickly caught up to Norris and passed him three laps later, before dispatching Valtteri Bottas nine laps later after the Finn was told to move over for the World Champion, who now had to make up an eight-second gap on Leclerc.
Willed on by the sell-out crowd, Hamilton cut into Leclerc’s lead and with three laps to go, the Brit got passed after Leclerc made a mistake on the exit of Copse, giving the jubilant Hamilton his third consecutive British Grand Prix and his 99th race win of his career.
After the race, Hamilton explained what happened to Formula 1.com between the pair on Lap 1 and sent his best wishes to Verstappen after his 51g accident appeared to have wounded the Dutchman.
"I dummied him, moved to the right for that gap, and I was pretty far up alongside him, but I then could see he wasn’t going to back out, and we went into the corner, and we collided. Of course, that’s never the way I want to win a race – or in general, to race – but yes, these things do happen. I just hope he’s OK, and I look forward to many more races."
In what was the first British Grand Prix to be held with a full capacity since July 2019, Hamilton paid tribute to his team when speaking to RaceFans.net as Silverstone saw the end of Mercedes’s winless streak that had lasted five races.
“I’ve been giving my all this past week, been in the factory and just giving absolutely everything. Just trying to uncover performance for this car with the guys. I’m so proud of everyone for just continuing to work, even though we’ve had a bit of a deficit.”