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Hamilton and Verstappen take the gloves off - What we learned at the British GP

Hamilton and Verstappen take the gloves off - What we learned at the British GP

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Hamilton and Verstappen take the gloves off - What we learned at the British GP

Hamilton and Verstappen take the gloves off - What we learned at the British GP

Let's be honest, the Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen clash was coming.

The British Grand Prix may turn out to be one of the defining moments of this season, and be played for years to come.

The incident is already being compared to the legendary battle between Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna and their famous coming together at Suzuka 1990.

The Mercedes driver eventually won a dramatic race at Silverstone to close within eight points of Verstappen at the top of the championship.

After a very different, dramatic and somewhat controversial weekend, let's dive into what we learned at the British Grand Prix.

Hamilton and Verstappen take the gloves off

If we were in any doubt this championship would be anything but sublime, then the two protagonists have now lit the blue touchpaper to what could become one of the all-time great seasons.

Hamilton was on the back foot after losing out to the Red Bull driver in the sprint for pole and instantly looked to make up for it on lap one of the main event.

The pair rolled back the years to iconic images of Nigel Mansell and Senna, banging wheels down the Wellington Straight as Verstappen held firm, but it was into Copse that disaster struck.

The contact with Hamilton, as the right-rear wheel of Verstappen's RB16B was hit by the front-left of the Briton's Mercedes W12, sent the Dutch driver hurtling into a tyre barrier at 150mph and with a frightening force of 51g.

Whilst Verstappen was in hospital being checked over, Hamilton shrugged off a 10-second penalty to take Mercedes' first win in six races to keep the championships alive.

Whatever your opinion is on the incident, nobody can deny that the potential fallout could be massive for the championship and, indeed, the sport which is desperately trying to engage new fans through excitement.

Sprint qualifying successful but more needed to prove its worth

As an isolated event, it is hard to argue against the new sprint format being a success at Silverstone.

There was excitement on Friday as Hamilton and Verstappen duelled for the fastest qualifying time. More followed on Saturday with the inaugural sprint before a third dose of action on Sunday.

The 100-kilometre sprint itself was good value for money, helped by a Verstappen-Hamilton duel at the start and the cunning spirit of Fernando Alonso, who dazzled with his attack and defence on the alternate soft tyre.

In terms of the weekend, the sprint helped to dictate the race. Hamilton looked to the outside of Copse on Saturday and never got near to making the move on Verstappen so took the inside on Sunday. That is no coincidence.

Were there teething problems? Yes, of course. Saturday practice felt more like a warm-up with no real excitement for fans other than petrolheads.

It also felt the sprint was perhaps two laps too long with tyres beginning to struggle in the extreme heat, but even then that added to the intrigue.

As an initial trial though, F1 can be very happy indeed.

Leclerc rids Ferrari of tyre woes

Forget Ferrari's French nightmare, the Scuderia is back.

On paper, it looked as though Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz would face an uphill battle at Silverstone, with high temperatures and high-speed corners threatening to lead to a repeat of the tyre issues suffered by the pair at Paul Ricard.

But unlike in Le Castellet, where both drivers plummeted out of points positions, both showed impressive pace to cement a double-points finish - and with Leclerc playing a starring role.

The Monégasque jumped Valtteri Bottas at the start and led after Hamilton and Verstappen tangled, stretching out an almost three-second advantage over the Mercedes.

An engine management issue allowed Hamilton to temporarily claw himself back towards the Ferrari before a 10-second penalty for the Verstappen incident gave Leclerc a cushion to rest on.

Towards the end of the race, it was apparent Hamilton had too much pace, eradicating the gap made by Leclerc and making the move to seal victory on lap 50 of 52.

Disappointment for Leclerc but again he showed the F1 world exactly why Ferrari tied him down to a long-term contract.

Ricciardo finally finding his feet

For the first time all season, Daniel Ricciardo put together a respectable weekend.

Throughout his debut campaign with McLaren, Ricciardo has struggled to match a strong qualifying performance with solid race pace. It has either been one or the other.

At Silverstone, however, the Australian qualified seventh with a near-identical lap time to team-mate Lando Norris, before eventually finishing fifth in the grand prix.

There were, however, 14 seconds between Norris and Ricciardo at the flag which proves there is more to be done to find his maximum but positives must be taken from the improved performance.

Now all he has to do is follow it up in Hungary.

Alonso proves age is but a number

Memories of a difficult return to F1 in the opening races of the season are distant. Fernando Alonso is back on form and loving every moment of it.

The two-time champion rose four places in the sprint on Saturday, although the Spaniard originally made up six positions before having to yield to the two McLarens.

Even those dropped places weren't given up without a fight as Alonso weaved his way within the regulations [just] to break any tow Norris and Ricciardo were seeking.

Ricciardo even stated in the aftermath that Alonso may have "the best racecraft" on the grid, despite spending two years away from the sport.

By the end of the weekend, another six points were added to the Alpine driver's tally for the season, leaving him snapping at the heels of Sebastian Vettel for a place in the top 10 of the standings.


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