Lewis Hamilton extended his championship lead to 39 points with a record sixth British Grand Prix victory as Sebastian Vettel crashed into Max Verstappen.
Despite qualifying second behind his team-mate, Valtteri Bottas, a safety car period benefitted Hamilton enabling him to take the lead and one that was never lost in a Mercedes one-two.
Charles Leclerc claimed the final podium spot after Vettel crashed into Verstappen whilst battling for P3.
Despite passing Vettel on the outside of Stowe corner, Verstappen ran wide, which the Ferrari driver saw as an opportunity to gain one back over the Dutchman.
The inside was covered by Verstappen, but Vettel locked up to ram into the back of the Red Bull for both to go off track.
Whilst damaged, Verstappen still managed to finish fifth, yet Vettel ultimately paid the price of his own mistake finishing down in sixteenth, following a ten second time penalty added to the German’s race.
Yet another mistake under pressure for Vettel with the current concerns only ever growing.
A record win for Hamilton
Despite the woes of Austria, Hamilton still entered the weekend as the favourite and with very good reason.
Before this win, he was tied with Alain Prost and Jim Clark on a record equalling five British GP victories, with four of the past five British races won by Hamilton.
In 2018, it looked as though a record sixth victory was on track for the Brit following his pole position, but ultimately finished second following a collision with Kimi Raikkonen on lap one.
However, this time, the record win was his.
The opening laps featured terrific wheel-to-wheel racing between Hamilton and Bottas until the Fin pitted for fresh tyres on lap 16, but opted to stick with the medium compound resulting in a two-stop strategy.
Yet, this was the downfall with Hamilton staying out until a safety car was signalled following Antonio Giovinazzi’s crash.
This effectively gave the five-time world champion a ‘free-stop’ returning on track ahead of Bottas following the overcut.
Hamilton stayed ahead and the victory was his, added with a fastest lap bonus point which he achieved on the final lap of the race.
Not only is it now his sixth British GP victory whilst extending his championship lead to 39 points, Hamilton has now claimed his 80th career victory and is only 11 short of Michael Schumacher’s record with 91 victories.
One record was his today with many more in sight, as superlatives can no longer describe the way Lewis Hamilton is driving.
Leclerc vs Verstappen again
If you thought Austria was the end of battle between these two, then think again. This time with a more aggressive Charles Leclerc.
A glimpse into the future of Formula One was witnessed once again and it is only a matter of time until wheel-to-wheel battles between the two, will be for the championship.
Following Austria, Leclerc has seemingly decided it is time to get his ‘elbows out’ and play Verstappen at his own game following a move that he thought was illegal, actually wasn’t.
The opening twenty laps of the race featured a spectacular battle between the young drivers.
Verstappen had the pace, but Leclerc had the moves and aggressiveness to defend as the Dutchman could not find his way past.
The battle even continued into the pit lane.
With the Ferrari mechanics slow to put on Leclerc’s front left, he returned side-by-side with Verstappen but eventually had to give way and let the Dutchman re-join ahead.
But, the Monegasque was not to be denied attacking Verstappen with the earliest opportunity at turn three, to be ahead come turn four following the Red Bull going wide.
The safety car then affected Leclerc’s race to put him behind Verstappen but was the one smiling come the chequered flag finishing third, caused from Vettel colliding with the Red Bull.
A second consecutive ‘home race’ for Mercedes with the German Grand Prix up next. A race which was last won by Hamilton following Vettel’s costly mistake, which is perhaps seen as the catalyst for the downfall of his 2018 title challenge.
Mercedes will be favourites, but Red Bull keep improving with Leclerc’s maiden victory only around the corner whilst Vettel has some reflecting to do.