Drama, controversy, contact are just three words to describe the 2021 British Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton was victorious but the big talking point came just one minute into the race when he collided with title rival Max Verstappen.
Whilst Verstappen was in hospital having suffered a huge 51G impact, Hamilton served his 10-second time penalty and chased down Charles Leclerc before overtaking him for an eighth win at Silverstone.
Valtteri Bottas came home third ahead of Lando Norris in a memorable race.
An incident that will go down in F1 history
Bottas said he felt contact between Hamilton and Verstappen was coming and he was spot on. Already on Saturday in sprint qualifying, the championship protagonists were fighting hard.
This set up an even more intense and aggressive fight on Sunday which ended in contact. Hamilton rightly got a penalty as he misjudged the situation and was nowhere near the apex of the corner with Verstappen leaving plenty of room.
After going wheel to wheel during the first four races of the year and with Hamilton wanting to match Verstappen's aggressive racing, they came to blows.
Thankfully Verstappen managed to walk away because it was a nasty accident at 300km/h. Hamilton rode his luck with the red flag as Mercedes confirmed he would have had to retire if the race was not stopped.
The battle between Mercedes and Red Bull may have been a classic championship battle up until now, but now it's a war and this will likely be the first of many significant incidents this year.
Hamilton's great comeback
Whatever you think of the incident and whether the penalty was too lenient, the seven-time world champion drove brilliantly and clearly had a big pace advantage over Bottas in the same car.
Bottas played the team game and Hamilton set consecutive fastest laps to close a gap of 12 seconds to Leclerc. Ironically, he overtook the Ferrari driver at the same corner where he made contact with Verstappen.
There is something about Silverstone and Hamilton that make him incredibly tough to beat. It's impossible to know whether Hamilton would have won with Verstappen in the race so we were sadly robbed of a tantalising strategic battle.
Importantly for Hamilton, the title fight is well and truly still on as he is just eight points behind Verstappen in the Drivers' Standings.
Mercedes have also cut the gap to Red Bull in the Constructors' Championship to five points, when it was 44 prior to the weekend.
Ferrari turn around their tyre management
Just a month ago at the French GP, Ferrari had a disastrous race as they went backwards due to high tyre degradation. Remarkably, things have switched around as they had arguably the best tyre wear at Silverstone which is a track that stresses the Pirelli rubber a lot.
Leclerc made the most of this strength from Ferrari to come within three laps of winning the race. He drove beautifully and dealt with his engine issues well too.
Carlos Sainz had a frustrating weekend and could have been on the podium too if he executed a clean weekend. The Spaniard had the pace but an incident with George Russell on Saturday and a slow pit stop during the race hampered his hopes.
Nevertheless, Ferrari are going to give McLaren serious problems if they can continue this form.
Alonso at his genius best
Fernando Alonso was the star of sprint qualifying as he made some bold moves to go from 11th to 5th. It was one of the best starts in his F1 career.
In the race, he did not have the pace in his Alpine to go with Sainz, Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris so he fended off Lance Stroll by keeping him within his DRS so that Sergio Perez could not overtake Stroll.
This was super smart driving from Alonso who ended up in seventh which was the least he deserved. Without a doubt the two-time world champion is not too old to be in F1.
Did the sprint format work?
There's been mixed opinions about F1's new sprint format. It was probably what was expected with a great qualifying on Friday, helped with an amazing atmosphere and an exciting opening few laps to the sprint race before it died down.
Everyone will have their view, but it's always good to see how things develop at other tracks rather than judging something on one event. F1 will next use the sprint concept at Monza in September which will give a clearer indication as to whether there should be more 100km sprint races.
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