The seven-time world champion recovered from being hit with a 10-second time penalty for colliding with main title rival Max Verstappen on the first lap and passed Leclerc late on to send a sell-out 140,000 crowd at Silverstone wild.

Hamilton’s eighth British Grand Prix victory was his 99th win in F1 and sees him cut Verstappen’s championship lead down to eight points after the opening 10 races of the season.

In a stunning display of speed, Hamilton was consistently a full second a lap faster than Leclerc as he hunted down the Ferrari in the closing stages to turnaround his 10-second deficit.

The Mercedes driver forced Leclerc into a mistake when he dived down the inside at Copse corner on Lap 50 as Leclerc drifted out wide and lost the lead, having turned in an inspired drive.

Hamilton’s victory followed the most dramatic on-track moment of 2021 so far after he clashed with Verstappen on the opening lap.

Verstappen and Hamilton were battling hard for the lead from the start before they came together at Copse on the first tour. Hamilton had already tried to go around the outside of Verstappen at Brooklands, before he got a run on his main rival on the blast to Copse.

 

 

Hamilton dived down the inside of Verstappen but his front left rear tagged the Red Bull driver’s rear right, sending Verstappen hurtling into the barriers at high-speed.

Verstappen, who appeared winded as he gingerly walked away from his wrecked Red Bull, has been taken to hospital for further precautionary checks after suffering a 51G impact.

The incident caused the race to be red-flagged for a lengthy period while barrier repairs were carried out.

When the race resumed with a standing restart, Leclerc kept Hamilton at bay before pulling clear as he looked on course to claim a shock first victory for Ferrari in nearly two years.

Leclerc had to battle engine issues throughout the opening stint but once Ferrari had rectified the problem, he looked in complete control after Hamilton had served his time penalty during his pit stop.

Hamilton breezed past Lando Norris to take third and Mercedes instructed Valtteri Bottas to let his teammate through into Stowe, before Hamilton chased down and overtook Leclerc late on.

Leclerc was left to settle for second place, while Bottas completed the podium in third.

Norris came home fourth ahead of McLaren teammate Daniel Ricciardo, with the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz finishing sixth.

Alpine’s Fernando Alonso was seventh ahead of Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, while Esteban Ocon and Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the points-paying positions.

Full F1 2021 British Grand Prix results.