Lewis Hamilton claimed a record-breaking sixth British Grand Prix victory in comfortable fashion after benefitting from a mid-race Safety Car period to beat Mercedes teammate and chief title rival Valtteri Bottas.

After starting second and spending the early part of the race trailing the two-stopping Bottas, Mercedes’s decision to stretch Hamilton’s first stint out longer meant he could be switched to a one-stop strategy under the Safety Car, giving him breathing room at the front of the pack.

Hamilton ultimately crossed the line 24 seconds clear of Bottas to extend his championship lead to 39 points, while drama unfolded behind in a clash between Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel.

Bottas had managed to retain his advantage from pole off the start by chopping across Hamilton’s path on the run to Turn 1, but the Briton was quick to respond and try a pass. Hamilton got close enough to his teammate on Lap 4, getting a switchback at Brooklands to take the lead, only for Bottas to respond on the run to Copse and pull back ahead.

Hamilton was forced to back off before trying another charge, and while he was able to sit just within DRS range, he could not close up to Bottas prior to the first round of pit stops. Mercedes opted to pit Bottas first, bringing him in at the end of Lap 16 for a second set of Mediums tyres, but kept Hamilton out to try and extend the first stint.

Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen were putting on their own show in the battle for third place with a number of wheel-to-wheel moments through the opening stint. Leclerc managed to keep his Ferrari ahead until both drivers pitted for Mediums on Lap 13, but Verstappen got the jump after eking clear when they went side-by-side in the pit lane. Leclerc grabbed the place back on their outlap, and produced some bold defensive moves to keep Verstappen behind, prompting the Red Bull driver report his rival was “moving very late” over team radio.

The battle was defused on Lap 20 when the Safety Car was deployed after Antonio Giovinazzi spun off at Club, sparking a flurry of pit stops. Hamilton came in from the lead to take a set of Hard tyres, while Sebastian Vettel followed suit in the sister Ferrari, jumping up to third in the process. Red Bull brought Verstappen in for a second stop so he too could switch to Hards, with Leclerc doing the same one lap later, causing him to drop to sixth as Pierre Gasly also moved ahead of the dueling youngsters.

Hamilton led the field away for the restart on Lap 24 and was quick to move out of DRS range from Bottas, who still had to pit again after only using Medium tyres for the first two stints. The Finn was reassured over team radio that his pace was good enough to still beat the Ferrari and Red Bull drivers behind.

After fending off Leclerc on the restart and then easing past Gasly, Verstappen set his sights on catching Vettel in third place. The Red Bull driver was able to swing his car around the outside at Stowe to take the position, only for Vettel to try and re-pass at Vale – but miss his braking point, slam into the rear of Verstappen, and send both drivers off the track.

Both drivers were able to continue, but while Verstappen only lost positions to Leclerc and Gasly, Vettel was left with more damage and forced to pit for a new front wing. The stewards confirmed they would be investigating the incident, and swiftly handed Vettel a 10-second time penalty, who by now was running last and one lap down.

Bottas had been able to push on through his stint to open up a big enough gap to Leclerc – who now sat third ahead of Gasly – to pit without losing a position and move onto Soft tyres.

While the Finn used his fresh tyres to put in a number of quick laps, he was powerless to stop Hamilton cruising home for his sixth win at Silverstone – now an outright record – and seventh of the year, cementing his place at the top of the drivers’ standings. Hamilton also grabbed the fastest lap on the final lap of the race, scoring an additional point in the process.

Despite coming under pressure from Gasly early in the second stint, Leclerc managed to pull clear to score his fourth straight podium finish in third place, and score Ferrari’s only points as Vettel took the chequered flag down in 15th.

Gasly matched his best finish in F1 with fourth for Red Bull ahead of teammate Verstappen in P5, the Dutchman left surprised to have avoided damage in the clash with Vettel.

Carlos Sainz topped the midfield fight in P6 for McLaren after beating Daniel Ricciardo in a late battle to the flag, while Kimi Raikkonen took eighth for Alfa Romeo. Daniil Kvyat took ninth for Toro Rosso, with Nico Hulkenberg closing out the top 10 for Renault.

Lando Norris dropped out of the top 10 after committing to a two-stop strategy early, meaning the Safety Car played against him and meant he could only cross the line 11th, passing Alexander Albon late on. Lance Stroll took 13th for Racing Point, with teammate Sergio Perez finishing down in P17 after colliding with Hulkenberg on the Safety Car restart and losing his front wing, while Williams drivers George Russell and Robert Kubica finished 14th and 15th ahead of the penalised Vettel.

Haas drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen retired early on after colliding on the opening lap, leaving both with damage that ultimately forced them to park up and mark the fourth race in a row without points for the team.

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