Tearful Hamilton ends long wait with record British win

Lewis Hamilton let out tears of joy after ending a 945-day wait for victory, securing his ninth British Grand Prix win in front of an enthusiastic home crowd at Silverstone on a fairytale Sunday.

The seven-time Formula One world champion from Mercedes was overwhelmed with emotion as he crossed the finish line for the first time since Dec. 5, 2021, in Saudi Arabia – marking his first win in 56 races.

Red Bull’s triple world champion Max Verstappen finished 1.465 seconds behind Hamilton, extending his overall lead to 84 points, while McLaren’s Lando Norris took third place after being overtaken four laps from the finish.

Mercedes’ pole-sitter George Russell, who had won the previous race in Austria, retired on lap 33 due to a suspected water system issue.

“Get in there Lewis, you are the man. You are the man. Mate, I have been waiting for this,” shouted Hamilton’s race engineer Peter Bonnington over the team radio, joining him on the podium where he was soaked in champagne.

“Thank you so much, everyone,” Hamilton sobbed in response, his voice breaking as he stifled tears inside his helmet while the grandstands—and a crowd of 164,000—erupted on a chilly afternoon marked by showers. “It means a lot. Big thank you to all the fans here.”

Hamilton’s career-extending 104th win set new records—becoming the first F1 driver to win a race in 16 different seasons and achieving nine victories at the same circuit. Previously, he shared this latter record with Ferrari legend Michael Schumacher.

He also became the first driver to win a race after reaching the significant milestone of 300 starts. Sunday marked the 344th race of Hamilton’s F1 career, which began with McLaren in 2007.

“I’m still crying,” Hamilton admitted to 2009 champion and fellow Briton Jenson Button, who conducted the pre-podium interviews. Draped in the flag after stepping out of his car and embracing his father tightly, he continued, “This is my last race here with this team, so I wanted to win this so much for them because I love them and appreciate all the hard work they’ve put in over the years,” added the driver, who is set to join Ferrari.

Oscar Piastri of McLaren secured fourth place, with Carlos Sainz of Ferrari finishing fifth. Nico Hulkenberg took sixth for Haas, while the Aston Martins driven by Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso finished in eighth. Alex Albon managed to earn two points for Williams, and Yuki Tsunoda secured tenth place for the Red Bull-owned RB team. In the standings, Red Bull leads with 373 points, followed by Ferrari with 302, McLaren at 295, and Mercedes with 221.

At the start of the race, Russell led a Mercedes one-two, while Verstappen overtook Norris at the first corner to claim third place from his fourth grid position. However, Norris reclaimed his spot at Stowe on lap 15, and Piastri also passed the Red Bull two laps later. Hamilton moved into the lead on lap 18 of 52, utilising the drag reduction system (DRS), but both cars went off track, allowing Norris to take the lead on lap 20 with Piastri moving up to second. Rain began to fall just before halfway through the race, with Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez being lapped after starting from the pitlane. Verstappen then pitted for intermediate tyres on lap 27.

The other contenders followed suit; Norris ahead of Piastri, who led for a lap but lost crucial seconds by staying out, and the sequence remained until the rain subsided and drivers transitioned to slicks. Hamilton opted for soft tyres while Verstappen chose hard ones on lap 38. Norris stayed out in another dubious decision, then endured a slow pit stop a lap later, re-entering the race behind the Mercedes.

“Leave me to it, mate,” Hamilton told Bonnington over the radio, with Verstappen needing to close a 3.3-second gap in the final four laps. The gap narrowed to 2.5 seconds at the start of the last lap.

“You couldn’t have scripted it better for our farewell at the British Grand Prix. That was fantastic,” remarked Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff regarding Hamilton’s final home race for the team with which he secured six titles.

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“He has faced some tough times recently, but then delivered flawless driving under various conditions. The last British Grand Prix together—it’s like a fairytale, leaving the British fans with their most successful driver ever.”

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