The 99th victory of Lewis Hamilton’s career was surely one of his most controversial following his first-lap collision with his championship rival and 10-second time penalty.Max Verstappen’s crash after contact with Hamilton at Copse was the second time this year the pole-winning driver has failed to complete the first lap of the race. The other was Charles Leclerc, who failed to even start in Monaco.
But the introduction of ‘sprint qualifying’ means Verstappen can claim a unique feat. He is the first person to score points in a world championship round despite retiring on the first lap of the grand prix. The Red Bull driver scored three points for winning Saturday’s 17-lap qualifying race.
For the first time in the championship’s 1,045-race history, pole position was set by a race, rather than a qualifying session, although it was officially referred to as ‘sprint qualifying’. Verstappen also claimed that unique award. This was the eighth pole position of his career, seven of which have come in qualifying sessions. If sprint qualifying changed nothing else, it made qualifying statistics a lot more complicated.
Victory in the main event went to Hamilton. However he is not the first driver to win a race despite collecting a penalty, and a 10-second sanction is not the largest a race-winning driver has received.
At Silverstone in 1998 Michael Schumacher was given a 10-second top-go penalty and won the race, though through a quirk of the rules he was able to serve it in the pits after taking the chequered flag. Mark Webber served a drive-through penalty during the race at the Nurburgring in 2009 on his way to the first victory of his career, for Red Bull.
Hamilton won his home race for the eighth time, seven of which have come in the past eight years. He has again tied the record for most wins in the same race: He has eight wins in Hungary, while Schumacher won eight times in France.
Spare a thought for Charles Leclerc, however, who led the first 49 out of 52 laps yesterday before being passed by Hamilton.
His team mate Daniel Ricciardo achieved his best finish for McLaren to date with fifth place. But despite getting both cars home in the top five, McLaren were out-scored by rivals Ferrari, who are now 15 points behind them in the fight for third place.
Despite reaching Q3 again and starting sprint qualifying from eighth on the grid, George Russell was again unable to score for Williams. They will pass the second anniversary of their last points score, in the 2019 German Grand Prix, before the next round of the world championship.
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2021 British Grand Prix
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- Red Bull claim damage to Verstappen’s car from Hamilton crash cost £1.3 million