The 2019 British Grand Prix wasn’t short of action. There were plenty of safety cars, accidents and penalties.
But in the end, Lewis Hamilton was the first one to cross the line to win his record-breaking sixth victory in the British Grand Prix and 80th career victory.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am to be here today in front of my home crowd… you’d think you’d get used to something like that, but I’ll tell you it feels like the first time, and I am just forever grateful of everyone who came out,” Hamilton said to his former teammate Jenson Button after the race.
Pole sitter Valtteri Bottas was hurt by the safety car and could not hunt down his teammate to settle for second.
“I stopped first and was controlling the gap; unfortunately Lewis got a free stop. Not my day but the pace was good and I was quickest on track. I’ll keep fighting,” said Bottas as he has to settle for another second place.
Charles Leclerc completes the podium with a third place finish that was gifted to him after the Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen shunt.
“It’s probably the race I’ve enjoyed the most in Formula 1 career. I’m very happy to finish third and for the battle on track.” Leclerc said after the race as he was voted Driver of the Day.
Pierre Gasly gets his best finish of the season in fourth. Verstappen salvaged a fifth-place result when he had the pace to be on the podium. Carlos Sainz finished in sixth after keeping a charging Daniel Ricciardo behind, the Aussie finished in seventh. Eighth was Kimi Raikkonen ahead of the Toro Rosso teammates of Daniil Kvyat and Alex Albon in ninth and 10th, respectively.
On the start, Bottas led Hamilton away from the line as Leclerc kept the Red Bull behind in third. Norris made a great overtake on Ricciardo to move up into seventh. The two Haas drivers got together leaving Kevin Magnussen without a front wing and Romain Grosjean had a rear puncture, but other than that it was a clean first lap.
On lap 4, Hamilton pressured Bottas out of the first DRS straight, Bottas went a bit wide allowing Hamilton to get past. However on the following straight Bottas was able to take the lead back from Hamilton and kept the lead.
Charles Leclerc was on the soft tire to start the race, as his tires began to fade in the first stint he fell into pressure from Verstappen for third. Red Bull really showed their strength as Gasly was able to get past Vettel before his first pit stop. Verstappen and Leclerc pitted at the same time on lap 14. They came out of the box side by side with Verstappen coming out just ahead of the Ferrari taking what would be third position, however Verstappen went wide before the DRS straight allowing Leclerc to come back past the Red Bull.
On lap 20, all of the strategy was sent into a cyclone as Antonio Giovanazzi spun into the gravel, bringing out the safety car. Hamilton was in the lead after Bottas pitted, and the slowed down pace caused by the safety car allowed Hamilton to pit without losing the lead. Bottas dropped to second, Vettel pitted as well giving him third place. Verstappen pitted at the same time for the hard tire, Leclerc did not pit for another lap giving up positions to both Verstappen and Gasly.
After the safety car ended Hamilton sped off into the lead. Verstappen and Leclerc kept up a fantastic battle for fifth, Leclerc was able to get alongside of Verstappen, pushing the Red Bull off the road, but Verstappen was able to keep the position. There was brief contact and Leclerc lost time to Verstappen, the Ferrari driver feared that he had damage on his car but he continued to keep his pace. Gasly then let Verstappen past for fourth.
It was a relatively clean restart after the safety car, however, former teammates Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg got together, as Perez smashed his front wing into Hulkenberg forcing the Racing Point driver to pit and change his front wing.
The race settled down for the next 10 laps. Leclerc made a great move on Gasly for fifth on the outside of turn 3, getting past the Red Bull. Leclerc fended off Gasly after the DRS straight to keep fifth and attempt to hunt Verstappen.
But then, there was carnage, Verstappen got by Vettel, but then on the final chicane before the line, Vettel smashes the back of Verstappen, sending both cars spinning. Leclerc and Gasly go past as Verstappen stayed out as his car seemed to be okay to continue. Vettel needed to pit for a new front wing as the Stewards investigated the incident and rewarded Vettel a 10-second penalty for the contact.
In the final 10 laps, Hamilton was safely in the lead, but then the Mercedes team called for Hamilton to box to change tires. However Hamilton it appears that he ignored the order and stayed out but the team then canceled the request. Bottas then came in for soft tires to go for the fastest lap but that was the end of the battle for the win as Hamilton cruised to victory and the fastest lap.
F1 moves on to Germany next in two weeks. Hamilton and Mercedes look to continue their dominance of the 2019 season.