Red Bull's run of five straight victories came to an end at the British GP, and Damon Hill believes what happened at Silverstone could prove to be a critical point in the fight for the 2021 title.
Lewis Hamilton took his first victory since the Spanish GP back in May thanks to a great recovery drive that saw him pass Charles Leclerc in the closing stages of the race. Rival Max Verstappen could only watch on after a first-lap incident with Hamilton forced him to retire, and Hill believes Red Bull have some things to think about given Mercedes looked improved after bringing some upgrades to the event.
"It was on the cards to actually start to inch away again from Mercedes, but that's what happens in this sport," Hill stated on the F1 Nation podcast. "I remember the headlines going into Imola in 1994, which were [Ayrton] Senna has got to stop the rot now, he's got to win this. This is a make or break race.
"Those are critical points in a championship and I think Silverstone was a critical point for Lewis and Mercedes. The thing is they turned up with some good little mods on that car.
"Just as we thought that they'd stopped developing, they'd had some extra little tweaks that seemed to have given just enough downforce to the car that meant they could run less wing that made Lewis's car much faster in a straight line. Not much, three kilometers, but fast enough.
"That made them much more competitive. I think Red Bull were surprised by that."
While Hill believes Mercedes' upgrades played a role in stopping Red Bull's run of victories, he pointed out that Hamilton's performance was ultimately the deciding factor.
"Ultimately [they] won it because of Lewis," Hill added. "Lewis gave them that victory, he adopted the right approach.
"One of the things that Lewis is brilliant at is playing in the little zone that's between overstepping the mark and not being aggressive enough. He seems to manage that to perfection. I've never seen him do something unsporting in a race.
"That is about as close as you're gonna get to something that you could say, that was a little bit over the top, but it wasn't because he had to do it. He had to be aggressive. There was always a chance of an accident, but it would have been equally Max's fault as his. And that's where Lewis has been brilliant at judging those things."