Five crazy Silverstone moments

Since its induction to the world championship calendar 73 years ago, Silverstone has remained a fan favourite for racing fans all over the globe. As F1 once again returns to the iconic circuit for Round 11 of the 2023 season, we’ve looked back at five of the craziest moments to take place at the British Grand Prix.
Michael Schumacher (DE), Mild Seven Benetton Renault. 1995 Formula One World
Michael Schumacher (DE), Mild Seven Benetton Renault. 1995 Formula One…

Hamilton and Verstappen collide

2021 brought us one of the most tantalising F1 seasons of recent memory, with a lot of that thanks to the two championship protagonists Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. With Verstappen ahead in the championship going into the weekend, Hamilton knew he would have to take the top step on the podium to have any chance of staying in reach of the Dutchman.

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When the lights went out for the Grand Prix, the pair were aggressive from the off, with Verstappen retaining the lead through the first few corners. Hamilton appeared to get a better exit going onto the old pit straight, as well as utilising the slipstream from the ahead Red Bull to gain further speed going into Copse corner. He made his way up the inside of Verstappen where neither driver backed out going into the high-speed turn, which ultimately saw the pair collide, sending Verstappen into the barrier at 51Gs.

With Verstappen out of the race and Hamilton seemingly unscathed, the Mercedes driver fought back through the field and a 10 second time penalty to win his home race, amidst one of the most controversial moments in F1 history.

Mansell vs Piquet

With the Williams-Honda car reigning supreme at the previous French Grand Prix, it was once again clear of the rest of the field at Silverstone, as it was quickly emerging that teammates Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell would be battling it out for the championship.

Piquet held onto the lead and put a distance between himself and second-placed Mansell, who was 28 seconds behind with 29 laps to go when he rejoined from the pits. Despite what looked like an impossible task for the Brit, Mansell was driving like he never had before, shaving the Brazilian’s lead lap upon lap.

Roared on by his adoring crowd, Mansell closed up to the back of his teammate with just three laps to go. With his fuel tank reading empty, he dummied his way up the inside of Piquet going into Stowe corner, where he would take the lead and keep it to cross the line in jubilant fashion.

Mansell’s car would finally give up on the slow down lap as it ran out of fuel, which saw the Brummie mobbed by the 100-thousand strong crowd in a memorable Silverstone moment.

Priest protest

When looking at the craziest moments at Silverstone, the word crazy is probably beaten by the actions of Priest Neil Horan in 2003.

On lap 12 of the Grand Prix, Horan breached security and ran onto the Hangar Straight, with drivers swerving at over 150 miles per hour to avoid the “lunatic” as described by commentator James Allen. He was soon stopped by the Marshalls with the safety car out on track as his protest came to an end, as thankfully no one was hurt in a moment of madness.

Schumacher and Hill clash

Just a year after their clash in the title-deciding Australian race, Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill once again came together in Silverstone. Tensions were still clearly high going into the weekend, with Hill like Hamilton in 2021 needing to make an impression at his home race due to being behind his rival in the Championship.

On lap 46 with Hill trailing Schumacher in the lead as they approached priory, Schumacher seemingly left the door open for the faster Hill on fresher tyres. The gap soon closed as Hill made a late lunge down the inside, crashing into the side of Schumacher’s Benneton and leaving both drivers in the gravel and out the race.

Hamilton beats the rain

It’s back to the 103-time race winner for perhaps his greatest and most jaw-dropping victory of the bunch. In just his second season in Formula 1, the then 23-year-old would provide a masterclass in wet conditions, where his rivals were failing to even keep their cars on track.

After qualifying in fourth, the young Brit had his work cut out if he wanted to win at home and keep himself within touching distance of Championship leader Felipe Massa. He started as he meant to go on, breezing past Mark Webber and Kimi Raikkonen to find himself in second on the first lap, only behind McLaren teammate Heikki Kovalainen.

It wasn’t long before Hamilton took the lead, sending up the inside of Kovalainen on lap 5. It was a lead he would retain in supreme fashion, crossing the line to end the race over a minute ahead of his nearest competitor. It was his first of many Silverstone victories, and one which would also help him take his maiden Championship later that year.

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