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Our verdict on Hamilton's emotional win and McLaren mistakes
Mon 08, Jul, 2024
Source: The Race

After a wait of more than two and a half years - 945 days to be precise - Lewis Hamilton is a grand prix winner in Formula 1 again.

And his Silverstone triumph, as the seven-time F1 champion held firm with 2024 championship leader Max Verstappen closing in, marked an incredible ninth British GP victory - making Hamilton the first driver to win one race that many times.

But there was more to the British GP than just that narrative - so we've asked our writers to react to a long-overdue end to a win drought, and whether McLaren let another victory with Lando Norris slip through its fingers through strategy.

Lesser drivers would lose that race

Scott Mitchell-Malm

Hamilton’s first F1 win since 2021, at Silverstone of all places, is quite something. And I wonder how many thought it would never come.

A lot has been said of Hamilton in this Mercedes era. George Russell is very fast, and has inched ahead over one lap in this type of car. But Russell’s qualifying prowess is almost certainly underestimated and Hamilton is usually right there. He’s hardly slouching.

More importantly, he’s still so good on Sundays. Lesser drivers lose that race, for example. Like all of them there are days where Hamilton might be struggling, make mistakes, or drop his head. But when the chance is there he lights up and you can’t do that if the fire and the ability isn’t there anymore.

This bodes well for the rest of the season, and his Ferrari era. He’s not a spent force. Maybe this win will help some people realise that.

McLaren's calls looked wrong at the time

Glenn Freeman

McLaren will be kicking itself for cramming in so many strategic missteps into one grand prix.

Yes, it was a chaotic race that put the pitwalls under pressure, but McLaren’s calls looked wrong in the moment, not just with hindsight.

Not stacking the cars on the first stops, leaving Norris out for an extra lap when the weather changed again, then taking softs on Norris’s car when he had new mediums available - even Hamilton was able to identify at least two of those mistakes by the time he made it to the cooldown room before the podium.

I guess the team will put it down to learning how to make those decisions in the pressure cooker of racing for the win. But that’s a generous assessment.

A vintage season of emotion we must savour

Josh Suttill

It started slowly and there's no drivers' title fight...but those are the only real downsides of F1 2024 so far.

And the biggest shining light of this season has been the emotional wins that we've had in spades.

First there was Carlos Sainz bouncing back from being sacked by Ferrari and missing a race with appendicitis to win on his return, then came Lando Norris's maiden F1 win in Miami followed by Charles Leclerc ending his home race curse in Monaco.

George Russell then scooped up an emotional win in Austria as a slither of compensation for the Montreal victory that slipped away from his grasp.

And now Hamilton, arguably more emotional than he's ever been, finally ending a painful, three-year-long win drought may be the cherry on the cake.

That's proper sport and proper sports stars at the top of their game, wearing their hearts on their sleeves and showcasing grit, determination, and emotion that's an example to all on the racing ladder.

The new 2026 rules will inevitably seem exciting, so too a potential title-fight reset among the top four teams in 2025. But we should savour this season for the vintage year of emotional victories it's turning out to be.

And we're only at the halfway stage...

Timely reminder of what Hamilton's capable of

Rob Hansford

That drive was nothing short of outstanding.

It wasn't a race win gifted to Hamilton. He had to graft for it, he had to earn it. Even when he got the lead when everyone changed back to slicks at the end, it still wasn't a sure thing that he was going to win, especially with Verstappen hunting both him and Norris down.

But this is what Hamilton is capable of in the big moments. He might not quite have the ultimate pace over a single lap anymore, but he hasn't lost any of this intelligence behind the wheel or his racecraft.

The way he managed those soft tyres for the final 11 laps or so was simply sublime. You only have to look at how Norris's pace dropped off in the closing stages to see how good a job Hamilton did.

Hamilton hasn't had an easy time at Mercedes over the last few seasons, but it was entirely fitting that a drive of this quality brought his drought to an end.

The question now is whether he can do it again this season. If he can, will he start to question his own decision to leave Mercedes for Ferrari in 2025?