• Sunday, July 21, 2024

MOTOR RACING

Hamilton wins record ninth British Grand Prix to end three-year drought

The seven-time champion, who turns 40 in January, was emotional and in tears as he spoke on Mercedes team radio after finishing 1.465 seconds ahead of Verstappen.

Hamilton, who last won at the 2021 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, demonstrated skill in tyre and race management to secure his 150th podium finish for Mercedes. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

Lewis Hamilton secured his 104th career victory on Sunday, holding off Max Verstappen to win the British Grand Prix for a record ninth time.

The seven-time champion, who turns 40 in January, was emotional and in tears as he spoke on Mercedes team radio after finishing 1.465 seconds ahead of Red Bull’s series leader and three-time champion.

In a race with changing weather and track conditions, Lando Norris finished third ahead of his McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri, Carlos Sainz of Ferrari, and Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg. Lance Stroll came seventh for Aston Martin.

Hamilton, who last won at the 2021 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, demonstrated skill in tyre and race management to secure his 150th podium finish for Mercedes.

“I’ve been waiting for this,” Hamilton exclaimed after crossing the line. “I can’t stop crying. Since 2021, every day getting up, trying to fight, and to train, and to put my mind to the task and work as hard as I can with this amazing team.”

Hamilton is set to leave Mercedes for Ferrari after this season.

“This is my last British GP with this team. I wanted to win so much for them. I love them so much. All the hard work they’ve been putting in.”

Verstappen overtook Norris in the closing laps.

“We just didn’t have the pace today,” said Verstappen. “I was slowly dropping back when it mattered at the beginning. It really wasn’t looking great at one point, but we made the right calls.”

Norris lost the lead after a pit stop.

“First of all, congrats to Lewis,” Norris said. “That crucial decision at the end, he just did a better job, so hats off to him and Mercedes, they deserve it. It was tough. It was fun battling these guys and these tricky conditions, risking a lot, on a knife-edge.”

Two-time champion Fernando Alonso finished eighth in the second Aston Martin, ahead of Williams’ Alex Albon and Yuki Tsunoda of RB.

A crowd of more than 120,000 witnessed three Britons starting their home race at the front of the grid for the first time since 1962.

George Russell started on pole and made a clean start, with Hamilton close behind to protect from Verstappen, who quickly passed Norris.

Russell led by 1.6 seconds by lap six, with Hamilton 1.4 seconds ahead of Verstappen and the two McLarens.

By lap 14, rain began to fall as Norris passed Verstappen to regain third. As the rain intensified, the McLarens excelled, and Piastri passed Verstappen on lap 17.

Hamilton then overtook Russell for the lead as both Mercedes struggled in the rain. Norris passed Russell for second on lap 19 and then passed Hamilton, with Piastri making it a McLaren 1-2 on lap 21.

As the rain eased, Verstappen was five seconds behind in fifth.

By lap 28, Norris led Hamilton, who was trying to preserve his tyres.

Russell’s race ended on lap 34 due to a hydraulic problem.

With 15 laps to go, Hamilton reported the sun coming out. On lap 39, he, Verstappen, and Piastri pitted together. Norris pitted a lap later, losing the lead to Hamilton, who managed his final stint perfectly, ending 56 winless races to a loud home reception.

Hamilton wept as he embraced his father, with the home crowd cheering.

(With inputs from AFP)

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