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Formula 1

Winners and losers from F1's 2024 British Grand Prix

8 min read

The 2024 British Grand Prix served up yet another treat this year as intermittent showers caused Formula 1 teams plenty of strategic headaches.

And naturally, the decisions made in the heat of those moments meant there were plenty of winners and several losers.

Here's our pick of them from Sunday at Silverstone.

Loser: Sergio Perez

"It was worth taking a shot on that first inter. We had a crossover. Just dried up enough after that."

Race engineer Hugh Bird's message to Perez after the British GP felt like a clutching at straws moment if ever there was one.

Perez had made some progress in the first third of the British Grand Prix. But even if you accept that inters gamble at face value - and disregard the fact most others decided conditions weren't yet wet enough - it's a sign of just what a hole his side of the Red Bull garage was in that such intervention was needed to have any hope of being hoisted into the points. (Perez had a day earlier essentially been banking on a safety car to bring him into contention.)

The pathetic fallacy for Perez, as the clouds wept for him, was that by the time the rain was heavy enough his inters were of course already shredded from running on a track that had only dried since he'd put them on.

And the final ignominy? No, that wasn't being lapped twice by race winner Lewis Hamilton and his team-mate Verstappen. That was finishing behind Esteban Ocon's Alpine, which Perez had passed in that early-race 'charge' up to the dizzying heights of 15th. - Jack Cozens

Winner: Lewis Hamilton

"I have a really bad memory, I don't feel I'm able to compare this one to any other to be honest."

That was part of Hamilton's response when asked where F1 race win #104 ranked among his best.

He's never been one to reminisce but Hamilton's own post-race response - being moved to tears and his extended celebrations in parc ferme - is a marker of just how important a victory this was to the seven-time champion.

On emotion, it's surely only matched by title-clinching victories and his maiden win in Canada 17 years ago. A win drought is something Hamilton's never experienced in his career until these last few years, so ending it was always going to have huge emotional significance.

And it wasn't half bad a race drive either. He got the better of George Russell before his team-mate hit trouble and his firing in of the laps behind Lando Norris forced McLaren into a mistake at the final pitstop.

Holding onto fast-graining soft tyres and keeping his old title adversary Verstappen behind him in the closing laps was vintage Hamilton and a reminder that, on Sundays especially, his peaks are still at an elite level. - Josh Suttill

Loser: Lando Norris

That’s twice in two races that a potential victory has passed Lando Norris by, and his demeanour after the race said it all.

As it was pointed out to him on Sky Sports F1, a podium at the British GP 12 months ago would have been a great result (as indeed it was at that time), yet now it’s a bitter disappointment.

And the thing that will have hurt Norris most was that it was two strategic errors that cost him the win. The first was the decision to leave him out for another lap while Hamilton and Verstappen pitted for slicks, and the second was that when he did pit, soft tyres were bolted on to his McLaren rather than mediums.

Norris didn’t just lose the victory though, he also lost second to the Red Bull of Verstappen. And a big reason for that was because he was on those softs at the end.

Had he taken the mediums that were in the garage waiting for him, things would surely have been very different - even if a win might have still passed him by, it’s likely he would have still had enough pace in the car to finish second.

It’s been great having Norris in the hunt for victories race after race this year. But he and McLaren now need to make the opportunities count, and fast. - Rob Hansford

Winner: Max Verstappen

Of all the races of late where Verstappen and Red Bull's superiority has been challenged, it was perhaps this one - the one where he was beaten in a fair fight - that best demonstrated his and the team's level as the second car continues to woefully underperform.

The RB20 wasn't the fastest car on race day at Silverstone. It wasn't even the second-fastest. The dry opening phase of the race suggested as much, so too the middle phase, when Verstappen fell 10s behind Norris and was being caught by George Russell.

But Verstappen and his side of the Red Bull pitwall were arguably the shrewdest operators in the face of the unpredictable conditions; they were proactive without being aimless.

Maybe without that error at Copse in Q1 on Saturday - the loss of downforce it cause, and the fourth-on-the-grid it limited Verstappen to - it would've been a different story. But in the circumstances, second on Sunday was probably the most, maybe even more, that could've been hoped for. - JC

Loser: McLaren

Things could have been so different for McLaren had it nailed its strategy in the British GP.

It was far too conservative in its approach, and a lack of conviction not only cost Norris a potential victory, but also Oscar Piastri a podium.

Throughout the race the team was relying too much on its drivers to make those calls while in the midst of battle and without the benefit of the bigger picture. No wonder, then, that team principal Andreas Stella said post-race that McLaren needs to shoulder that responsibility more going forward.

Piastri claimed that McLaren made 99% of the right calls, and that two of its decision let it down. The problem at Silverstone was that those two calls had major consequences for its end result.

McLaren has been playing the 'learning process' card for the majority of this season, but it’s regularly in the hunt now and that line is starting to wear a little thin. It’s a race-winning team again, and it needs to have the self-belief of a team matching that status.

Adopt that approach, and things could have been very different on Sunday. - RH

Winner: Nico Hulkenberg

RB looked comfortably the midfield leader only a few weeks ago. Then came along a superb pair of sixth-place finishes for Haas's outgoing spearhead Hulkenberg. 

Just as Mercedes will miss Hamilton, so too will Haas miss what Hulkenberg's brought to the team since returning to F1 last year. 

He didn't even let a tricky race start stop him as the three places he lost on the opening lap were gained back via y a well-timed stop for intermediates and the demise of George Russell's Mercedes. 

After the race, Hulkenberg declared Haas is in the mix to be the fifth-fastest team after its latest upgrade and that claim is stacking up well on the evidence of Austria and Silverstone. 

He qualified and raced ahead of both factory Aston Martins and Haas's advantage over RB can give it plenty of confidence that it can close the rest of the gap (just four points) in the fight for sixth in the constructors' championship, particularly with the form Hulkenberg is in. 

Sauber's having a miserable time in F1 right now - and looks far less likely to capture Carlos Sainz than it once did - but it can at least take solace in the fact it will have the services of arguably the top performer in F1 2024's midfield. - JS

Loser: George Russell

Russell’s race had already started to take a turn for the worst before coming to a premature end on lap 34, but his retirement really put the nail in the coffin of what could have been another great race weekend.

Starting from pole, Russell was the pacesetter in the opening stages but when the rain began to fall he didn’t have the pace to match his team-mate Hamilton or either McLaren. And when the drivers pitted for the first time, he subsequently fell behind the Red Bull of Verstappen.

The race was far from over though and, given how events subsequently transpired, it is quite conceivable that he could have also been in the hunt for victory at the very end.

As it was, a water pump issue forced Russell to return to the pits. That will hurt. Seeing Hamilton stand on the top step of the podium, Russell will no doubt have believed itt could well have been him. - RH

Winner: Alex Albon

Albon needed sharp reactions at the start to prevent his race coming to an early conclusion three corners in.

But he gathered himself up from the resulting loss of positions while avoiding Fernando Alonso's Aston Martin and ran in the pack contending for the minor points positions.

Russell's retirement and a Ferrari/Charles Leclerc strategy miscue (more on that below) aided his cause, but ninth at the flag - a result that doubled his and Williams's 2024 points tallies - was just reward for a peach of a pass around the outside of Yuki Tsunoda at Stowe late on, as well as his and the team's all-round execution this weekend. - JC

Loser - Charles Leclerc

This wasn't quite as bleak as Perez's ill-fated run on inters.

But it was a missed opportunity for team and driver, who took a pretty needless risk right after Leclerc had at least cleared the best of the rest pack to run seventh.

And while fingers will be pointed at the Ferrari pitwall, Leclerc has to shoulder some of the blame. He had as much of a read on conditions as his rivals, had the feedback they were giving to hand, and ultimately confirmed the call to pit when the track simply wasn't wet enough.

That kind of decision-making only strengthens the impression that Leclerc lacks the kind of global race assessment - and authority - that team-mate Sainz commands. - JC

Loser: Alpine

What was looking like a really solid transformation of Alpine's 2024 season took a sharp dip at Silverstone.

This weekend was far more reminiscent of its early-season struggles rather than the genuine top-10 car it has improved the A524 into being of late.

Its form driver Pierre Gasly couldn't even take the start of the race with a gearbox issue and team-mate Esteban Ocon was barely a factor in it, finishing two laps down as one of those who opted for intermediates far too early. 

Williams picking up two points (it's now five behind Alpine) and another big Haas haul - putting it 18 points ahead in sixth - only adds to Alpine's painful weekend. - JS

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