Lewis Hamilton's record-setting British Grand Prix win could help set up a fantastic Formula 1 constructor's title fight


Lewis Hamilton’s record-setting win in the British Grand Prix could set the stage for a frantic chase for the constructor’s title.

Hamilton beat Max Verstappen to the finish line on Sunday for his ninth win at Silverstone. Hamilton’s victory set the record for the most wins for any driver at a single race track and extended his lead as the winningest driver in F1 history. The victory was Hamilton’s 104th; he’s now 13 ahead of Michael Schumacher in second on the all-time wins list as Verstappen is already third in his young career at 61.

The win also broke a 945-day winless streak for Hamilton that dated back to the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Hamilton won that race to set up a winner-take-all battle for the title with Verstappen in the final race of that season. And by now, you know that Verstappen won his first world championship and the sketchy circumstances of how he did it.

There’s been nothing controversial about how Verstappen has dominated F1 over the past two seasons and he extended his lead in the driver’s championship even further on Sunday. Thanks to his late pass of a fading Lando Norris, Verstappen now leads Norris by 84 points at the halfway mark of the season. If Verstappen failed to finish each of the next three races and they were all won by Norris, Verstappen would still have the points lead.

The constructor’s standings are suddenly much more fascinating, however. Hamilton’s win was the second straight victory for Mercedes after George Russell’s win at the Austrian Grand Prix. And unlike Russell’s win a week ago, there was nothing fluky about Hamilton’s win. Russell and Hamilton started on the front row and each showed race-winning pace, but Russell was forced to retire on Lap 34 due to a suspected water system issue. Hamilton was running in second to Norris as the track dried out in the waning laps when he pitted for soft tires a lap ahead of Norris.

That extra lap was crucial, as Hamilton was in front of Norris when Norris left the pits. With Norris forced to push behind Hamilton, he burned up his tires and Verstappen got past for second.

Even after Hamilton’s win, Mercedes is still a distant fourth in the constructor’s standings behind Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren. But there’s plenty of time for Mercedes to move into the mix if the pace it’s shown in recent weeks is real. And especially if Red Bull is a one-man band at this point.

Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez finished two laps down after starting from the pit lane following an off-track excursion during qualifying on Saturday. It was the latest calamity in what’s been an abysmal 2024 for Perez.

He’s been a clear second fiddle to Verstappen over the past two seasons but has dropped anchor this year. Perez is still somehow ahead of both Russell and Hamilton in the points standings, but hasn’t finished any better than seventh since he was fourth in Miami in the sixth race of the season. He’s also failed to finish in the points in three of the past six races.

With Perez failing to score points on a regular basis, Ferrari is closer to Red Bull in the constructor’s standings than Norris is to Verstappen in the driver’s standings. Red Bull has a lead of 71 points over Ferrari, while McLaren is now just seven back of the Scuderia.

Ferrari has been struggling in recent weeks too. Charles Leclerc finished out of the points for the second straight race on Sunday and for the third time in the last four races since his win at Monaco. Carlos Sainz — the man who is being replaced at Ferrari by Hamilton next season — is doing his best to keep Ferrari afloat in the constructor’s race over the past month, much like Verstappen is at Red Bull.

If Mercedes is truly back to its race-winning ways, there’s even less margin for error for Perez going forward. You can argue that he’s — at best — the seventh-fastest driver on the grid at the moment behind his teammate and both drivers from the three other top teams. At worst, Perez is even closer to mid-pack despite driving for the team that’s dominated F1 since the start of 2022.

If Perez keeps struggling over the second half of the season, there are going to be many more opportunities for Ferrari and McLaren to gain ground on Verstappen and Perez’s points crumbs.

Conversely, a Mercedes emergence could throw a wrench into Ferrari and McLaren’s hopes of catching Verstappen and Red Bull. There could now suddenly be two more fast drivers to beat on a weekly basis in Hamilton and Russell. If they start scoring points, they’re more liable to take them from Norris, Oscar Piastri, Sainz and Leclerc than Verstappen.

Even though the driver’s title is getting further and further out of reach, Red Bull (and Verstappen) is now as vulnerable as it’s been against the rest of the field since the calendar flipped to 2022. And perhaps not coincidentally, that vulnerability has emerged as Mercedes has surged. Can anyone take advantage?



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