Lewis Hamilton ends winless streak with a thrilling victory at the 2024 British Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton delighted Silverstone fans with his first win since 2021
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton ended a 945-day winless streak by holding off a late charge from Max Verstappen at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, much to the delight of his home crowd.

George Russell started the race in pole position and Lando Norris also led for a time. However, it was Hamilton who ultimately took the chequered flag, despite having a Red Bull hot on his tail in the closing stages.

The race got underway under clear blue skies, with Russell making a solid start to keep his Mercedes teammate Hamilton behind him. Within just a few laps, he had already pulled out of DRS range, while Hamilton had built up a lead of more than a second over Verstappen.

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Verstappen, who began the race in fourth place, came out on top in his first wheel-to-wheel battle with Norris since their crash in Austria the previous week. However, he was gradually falling behind the leading Mercedes cars, with no sign that this was due to tyre management.

This was because a large rain cloud was looming, which team engineers were warning their drivers about. It was expected to hit around lap 16 - but this was only the first, shorter spell.

After another brief period of sunshine, the heavens opened.

The first major cheer of the day came on lap 18, as rain began to fall. Norris had Verstappen in his crosshairs but unlike their extended duel in Austria, he used DRS to swiftly overtake the Red Bull, earning a thunderous applause from the Silverstone spectators.

Oscar Piastri quickly passed Verstappen, but the home crowd was too absorbed in cheering as Hamilton caught up with Russell and took the lead in his home Grand Prix. However, both drivers veered off the track during their duel, bringing Norris within striking distance.

The McLarens didn't need any help, as they were suddenly flying in the wetter conditions. Norris effortlessly overtook Russell before doing the same to Hamilton to take the lead, while Piastri also had no trouble passing the Mercedes cars.

Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez were among a few drivers who had opted for intermediate tyres early on, but they were losing several seconds per lap and the gamble did not pay off. By the time wet weather tyres were actually needed, both had been lapped by several cars.

Red Bull made their move with Verstappen on lap 27, triggering a flurry of pit lane visits. Mercedes had the gap to double stack their pit stops but McLaren didn't, so Piastri had to stay out for another lap.

By the time he reached the pit entry again, Norris had already caught up with him and the Aussie dropped to sixth.

Verstappen was hoping to close the gap but instead found it widening again, and was soon complaining over the radio about his tyres overheating even though the rain continued to fall. But he didn't have to worry about Russell anymore as the Briton was told to retire his Mercedes.

As the race progressed and the time came for slick tyres, different strategies were adopted. Hamilton opted for softs while Verstappen chose mediums.

Norris, leading the pack, decided to go for the softs to match Hamilton but overshot his marks in the pit box, causing his mechanics to readjust to fit his tyres.

This error cost him two seconds, and by the time he re-emerged from the pit lane, Hamilton had regained the lead. Clearly focused on the task at hand, Hamilton instructed his race engineer Peter Bonnington to cease providing updates on other drivers.

The British racer was overcome with emotion after finishing the race, sharing a long embrace with his father amid scenes of jubilation in front of the ecstatic home crowd.