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Verstappen holds off Norris to win British Grand Prix


Having ruined everything yesterday - at least as far as Lando Norris is concerned - one wonders if Max Verstappen will continue on his winning way today or whether someone might spoil the Dutchman's party.

Despite claims of the last week witnessing two of the hottest days in history, for many it has been business as usual with overcast skies, rain and unforgiving winds.

And while it was expected that the weather might play a part today it currently looks as though we're going to be in for bright sunshine.

On the other hand, as witnessed yesterday, the exuberance of the Red Bull Ring stewards appears to have carried over as far as track limits are concerned so perhaps we can expect fate to lend a hand in the department.

Not for the first time this season, Verstappen finds himself without back-up as teammate Perez failed to make it into Q3 for the fifth successive race weekend. Though, as was the case last week, the Mexican usually turns things around come race day, he would be well advised to heed Helmut Marko's warning a get a grip, for, ignoring Ricciardo, there are several potential replacements out there.

In their wildest dreams Norris and Piastri didn't expect to be lining up second and third today, and in all honesty both with be content to take home a decent points haul today - surely neither can expect to maintain their starting positions.

Ferrari is one of several teams whose fortune changes from track-to-track, weekend-to-weekend, as does Mercedes, and with Aston Martin having looked good on Friday we can probably expect a great three-way tussle between these teams.

One of the true stars of recent races, Albon will be looking to add further points to Williams tally, especially as the team celebrates its 800th start. Indeed, there is a feeling that Sargeant could open his points account today

Over the years Silverstone has produced some classic races, some epic battles, and if we take it as read that Verstappen has this one in the bag, today should be no exception if we look at the row upon row of fighting talent behind him.

The pitlane opens and Perez leads the way, followed by Stroll, Magnussen, de Vries and Sainz.

Last to leave the pits, indeed leaving it worryingly late, is Sargeant.

"It feels quite windy out there," reports Perez.

Air temperature is 22 degrees C, while the track temperature is 31 degrees. Though currently nice and bright there are some ominous clouds in the distance.

Following the national anthem, Race Control claims that there is a 40% chance of rain.

All are starting on mediums, bar Russell, Ocon, Tsunoda and De Vries who are on softs and Hulkenberg and Bottas on hards. New rubber all round except for Russell (soft), Alonso and Stroll.

They head off on the formation lap all getting away cleanly.

Gasly complains that Alonso is messing about in front of him.

The grid forms.

They're away! It's a slow start from Verstappen, while behind Piastri cuts across the track to get on the inside of his McLaren teammate.

Norris leads into Turn 1 as Verstappen tries to hold off Piastri on the inside, just behind Russell has got ahead of Sainz.

Perez runs wide in Turn 2 as does Hamilton at Turn 3, along with Sargeant and an Alfa, the seven-time world champion dropping to ninth in the process.

Piastri is all over Verstappen, trying to go around the outside of the Red Bull at Woodcote and causing the Dutchman to lock-up and almost run wide at Copse, while Russell, under pressure from Leclerc, keeps a watching eye.

At the end of Lap 1, it's: Norris, Verstappen, Piastri, Leclerc, Russell, Sainz, Alonso, Hamilton, Gasly and Albon.

Out front Norris is setting a hot pace as Hamilton is all over Alonso. At the other end of the field Bottas passes Magnussen for 19th.

Lap 3 sees Piastri post fastest lap (32.499), as Verstappen attacks his McLaren teammate.

The leading three are covered by 1.190s with Leclerc a further 1.6s behind.

On Lap 5 Verstappen nails Norris in Luffield, the McLaren driver attempts to fight back but to no avail.

As Russell makes a move on Leclerc in Stowe, Sainz attacks the Mercedes driver from behind. They are lucky not to clash.

"If that's not moving under braking I don't know what is," says Russell of Leclerc.

"Oscar has been told to hold position," Norris is told, "so hold position, we go together."

On Lap 7 Hamilton passes Alonso in Brooklands, the crowd roars.

Perez passes Hulkenberg for 13th, the two touching in the process. The German subsequently pits with damage to his front wing endplate.

"Car's pulling a bit weird," reports Verstappen. "The wind is fairly variable," he is told.

"Plan A is out priority," Norris is told.

As Leclerc and Russell pull away from Sainz, Norris hangs on to the rear of Verstappen.

Ocon pits at the end of Lap 9. It is not a scheduled stop.

"We are expecting some light-ish rain in two or three minutes," Verstappen is warned, "it should last just three or four minutes."

"We're tracking the rain but it's going to miss us," Russell is told. "I'm not so sure about that," he replies.

Perez passes Tsunoda for 12th and sets about closing the gap to Stroll.

"Can we make Plan A work," Norris is asked. "Yes," he replies.

Having fallen 2.4s behind Hamilton, Alonso is now under pressure from Gasly.

"The wind is making it difficult to drive at the moment," complains Verstappen, despite which he now has a 3.2s comfort cushion.

Tsunoda pits at the end of Lap 14, the AlphaTauri driver rejoining in 18th.

Meanwhile, a few drivers have racked up track limits violations including Norris and Russell.

Hamilton is told to better manage his tyres in Turns 1, 2 and 9.

Albon complains that his left front tyres isn't feeling good. The youngster is currently eleventh, having been passes by Perez.

"We are thinking of Plan B," Sainz is told. "What was Plan B, Ricci," asks the Spaniard.

Moments later, teammate Leclerc pits, the Monegasque rejoining in 12th on hards.

As he posts a new fastest lap (32.338), Verstappen says: "I saw a Ferrari pit, are we going to stick with our strategy?"

"How many laps can you do at this pace?" Norris is asked as Verstappen posts another fastest lap (32.295). "I'm happy, it's consistent, I can maintain this for now," says Norris.

Russell asks how his teammate is getting on with the mediums.

Zhou pits at the end of Lap 24, the Alfa Romeo driver rejoining in 18th.

Since his stop Leclerc has made no progress and remains 12th. That said, he passes Stroll for eleventh.

The Canadian had been told not to worry about Leclerc and to focus on his own race.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Silverstone here.


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1. Posted by kenji, 10/07/2023 2:17

"Having already posted earlier, singing the praises of McL and RB, I failed to acknowledge the excellent race driven by Albon. He is now cementing his talent as a competitive driver with huge further potential. Topping that off, he's an extremely pleasant chap with an engaging demeanour. In the car he is a dedicated hard racer and I certainly hope that he gets to go further with a resurgent Williams. Vowles is doing a great job ATM in molding a new Williams raceface in F1. May it continue."

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2. Posted by Chester, 09/07/2023 20:09

"Excellent race by Lando! Why is it every driver who beats Hamilton drives a "rocketship"?"

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