Formula 1

Verstappen wins British GP, McLaren back on the podium

by Ben Anderson
8 min read

Max Verstappen scored his sixth consecutive Formula 1 victory by winning the 2023 British Grand Prix, while Lando Norris briefly led before holding off Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes to finish second for McLaren.

McLaren – previously on the podium at Imola last year – had starred in qualifying on Saturday, as Norris and team-mate Oscar Piastri qualified second and third behind Verstappen’s Red Bull, and Norris made the stronger start from the front row of the grid to lead the race for the first four laps.

The McLaren is known to fire up its front tyres better than most F1 cars in relatively cool track conditions, while the Red Bull tends to take a bit longer to bring them in.

After bogging down off the start line, Verstappen spent the first couple of laps carefully watching his mirrors for Piastri, before settling into his own rhythm and closing back in Norris.

By the end of lap three Verstappen was back to within half a second of the leading McLaren and on lap five the Red Bull made an uncontested DRS pass on Norris into the Brooklands left-hander to reclaim the lead.

Verstappen complained his RB19 was difficult to drive in Silverstone’s typically blustery conditions, but his path to victory was fairly comfortable after clearing Norris.

Fears the upgraded McLarens might struggle for race pace compared to the Ferraris and Mercedes they out-qualified proved unfounded.

The McLarens both outlasted the Ferraris in the first stint, but all strategic calculations were thrown into disarray by a virtual safety car that became a full safety car after Kevin Magnussen’s Haas suffered an engine fire, turning the final part of this race into a 14-lap sprint.

Verstappen, Norris and Lewis Hamilton were the only drivers among the leading group to benefit from pitting under that safety car – meaning Hamilton (who started seventh) found himself ahead of Piastri for the restart, and with the benefit of a set of soft Pirelli tyres to boot.

McLaren fitted both cars with hard tyres at the stops, leaving Norris vulnerable to attack from behind at the restart and allowing Verstappen a relatively comfortable run to the flag.

Verstappen checked out to the tune of 3.7 seconds, though he complained the RB19 didn’t feel good on that final set of tyres, while Norris defended hard from Hamilton’s Mercedes.

Hamilton tried to go around at Luffield and on the run to Copse on consecutive laps after the restart, but eventually overheated those soft tyres, allowing Norris to break out of DRS range and hang on to a hard-earned second place.

Piastri did not come under threat from the sister Mercedes of George Russell in quite the same way. Russell was audibly impressed with how well the McLaren fired up its hard tyres for that restart and he had to settle for fifth, 3.4s behind Piastri.

It was a comfortable career-best of fourth place for the Aussie rookie, albeit a bittersweet result as a maiden podium looked very much on the cards before the safety car.

Sergio Perez recovered from another dreadful qualifying session to complete the top six in the second Red Bull.

Having steadily risen from 15th on the grid to the fringes of the top 10 through the first stint, Perez pitted under the VSC and took soft tyres for the safety car restart.

He took that restart in eighth place before battling past Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari and Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin.

Sainz’s hard-tyred Ferrari lost ground as the final sprint to the flag wore on, and with nine laps left he lost places to Perez, Alex Albon’s Williams and Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc in quick succession before coming under pressure from Pierre Gasly’s Alpine.

That battle was ended prematurely when Gasly’s car suffered what looked like a rear suspension failure, possibly from contact while earlier battling with Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin, meaning a double DNF for Alpine thanks to Esteban Ocon’s car suffering a hydraulic problem and retiring to the pits on lap 4/52.

Alonso led a four-car train home to finish seventh on a relatively quiet weekend for Aston Martin, while Albon held off a spirited challenge from Leclerc at Brooklands on the final lap to finish eighth for Williams.

Race Results

Pos Name Car Laps Laps Led Total Time Fastest Lap Pitstops Pts
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 52 48 1h25m16.938s 1m30.275s 1 26
2 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 52 4 +3.798s 1m30.543s 1 18
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 52 0 +6.783s 1m30.545s 1 15
4 Oscar Piastri McLaren-Mercedes 52 0 +7.776s 1m30.85s 1 12
5 George Russell Mercedes 52 0 +11.206s 1m31.124s 1 10
6 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 52 0 +12.882s 1m30.914s 1 8
7 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin-Mercedes 52 0 +17.193s 1m31.338s 1 6
8 Alex Albon Williams-Mercedes 52 0 +17.878s 1m31.273s 1 4
9 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 52 0 +18.689s 1m31.255s 2 2
10 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 52 0 +19.448s 1m31.366s 1 1
11 Logan Sargeant Williams-Mercedes 52 0 +23.632s 1m31.699s 1 0
12 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 52 0 +25.83s 1m31.852s 1 0
13 Nico Hülkenberg Haas-Ferrari 52 0 +26.663s 1m31.776s 2 0
14 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 52 0 +27.483s 1m31.508s 1 0
15 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 52 0 +29.82s 1m31.769s 3 0
16 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT 52 0 +31.225s 1m32.084s 2 0
17 Nyck de Vries AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT 52 0 +33.128s 1m32.353s 2 0
Pierre Gasly Alpine-Renault 46 0 DNF 1m31.539s 2 0
Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 31 0 DNF 1m33.356s 0 0
Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 9 0 DNF 1m33.941s 1 0
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