Dre’s Race Review – 2024’s F1 British Grand Prix

After 945 days of absence, Lewis Hamilton finally returns to the winner’s circle as Lando Norris rues another missed chance. Dre on a dramatic British GP.

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Dre Harrison Reviews



Read time: 6 mins

“945 Days.”

I’m going to be real with you on this one folks. At several points, I wasn’t sure that Sir Lewis Hamilton was ever going to add to his record win tally of 103. George Russell had started to turn the screw at Mercedes and be a genuine opposing driver across the garage. He had his moment in the sun at Brazil back in 2022, and was in the right place at the time just a week ago in Austria when Max Verstappen’s newest protagonist Lando Norris was turned into. It’s fair to say that Hamilton hasn’t been quite his usual brilliant self. 

Until today. Because for the first time since Saudi Arabia in 2021, Lewis is a race winner again. Let’s get into it.

This was always going to be a race where the rain was going to be the main protagonist. It’s been on and off in the UK all weekend long and this race was no exception. Everyone was going relatively easy on their initial medium tyres because there was rain due half an hour into the race. Lando Norris made an early mistake going for an outside pass at Hamilton on the opening lap, but both McLaren’s got ahead of a struggling Max Verstappen, as the Mercedes were holding onto the lead. 

The rain came and everyone was caught out by the sudden sharpness and we had a reshuffle in the front with Hamilton getting ahead of Russell and Piastri suddenly coming into play. But McLaren made a big error in not double stacking their cars when the rain became hard enough to box for Inters, leaving Piastri a sitting duck and losing 20 seconds of time to Norris, now leading after the switch. 

Switching back to the slicks was the big one, and Hamilton and Verstappen coming in first from behind Norris was the play. It didn’t help either that Norris slightly missed his box on his final stop, and put on a used set of slicks tyres. For me, this was a bizarre move when they literally came into play in Austria by being able to utilise a fresh set over Max’s used rubber. The lesson wasn’t learnt, Lando comes out behind the undercutting Hamilton by three seconds, and Lando couldn’t stay with him. 

In fact, Max Verstappen had come alive on a new set of Hard tyres, was one of the fastest drivers on the track, and was able to pass Norris late on for second. He pushed Lewis all the way to the flag, but it wasn’t to be. Win #104 for Lewis Hamilton, and the first time in F1 history, the first man to win nine times at a single track. A brilliant drive where the driver played a big role in changeable conditions and circumstances, and well held under pressure. 

But I can’t lie, I’m conflicted on this one looking back on it. Mercedes has done an excellent job bridging the gap to Red Bull and McLaren, they’re not far away from being regular contenders. But it does feel a little bit like McLaren gift-wrapped this one away to their factory rivals. And it’s not the first time this season it’s felt that way.

I’m running out of patience with Woking. On raw metricks, they’re right in the pocket there. They’re probably the fastest car in the sport right now and this was another weekend where they felt like they were the most likely threat for the win, and the pitwall made a complete horlicks of it. The lack of a double stack, not going for the undercut on Norris, and then ignoring fresh rubber for use I think cost them another victory. 

And if you look at the state of the field, McLaren should be in a great position. The honeymoon is over at Ferrari, they’re struggling to understand the latest updates on their car and Charles Leclerc has one points finish in his last four races since his Monaco win. Mercedes started slowly enough where they’re not a major problem yet, and Red Bull only has one car it can rely on for points. This needs to be the real estate for McLaren to cash in on the field’s vulnerabilities. 

It has arguably the strongest car, arguably the strongest driver line-up now and its main contenders are the most vulnerable they’ve looked since 2020. If we’re evaluating McLaren like the title contenders they should be, their lack of execution will cost them critical points. This is a conversation some of the Papaya crowd don’t want to hear, but the team is giving Lando Norris too much clout on key decision makings, from the judgement of the track conditions in Canada to the poor tyre call on the final stop here that should have been overruled by his team, this keeps coming up. 

If there’s one major criticism of Lando as a driver that’s actually warranted and not just his own quite self-critical nature it’s that he’s not the best decision maker out there and he just misses the window every once in a while. It’s not a major problem, but it’s one where in critical scenarios has proven to be detrimental to him. 

And as I’ve said before on this blog, Red Bull’s strongest attribute isn’t just having Max. It’s the operational excellence that McLaren lacks that can and will make the difference. Max was nowhere for 80% of this race, and then came alive at the end, finished second and extended his Championship lead to 84 points. That’s the difference between these two teams, and why McLaren still has 78 points to make up to Red Bull in the Constructor’s. And reminder: Sergio Perez has scored 15 points in the last six Grand Prix. Nico Hulkenberg has 16. 

Sergio Perez is cheeks. I’ll keep mentioning it here in the Lightning Round until further notice.

A bonus point from the section above here – Oscar Piastri finished a race 12 seconds off the win after losing 17 by going the extra lap when the rain came down and not taking the double stack. Hmm. 

I’ll be doing a mid-season F1 review in the next week or so, and I’m trying to talk myself into putting Nico Hulkenberg into my Top 5. I don’t think I’m being ridiculous. Seriously, has Nico signed a contract too early again? Because if I’m Red Bull, I’d be asking questions… 

Logan Sargeant is now 20th in a 21 car standings after finishing 11th for the second British Grand Prix in a row. And before you ask, it’s Valtteri Bottas now in the P21 spot, with a personal best of 13th. Those early pitstop issues might cost Kick Sauber dearly down the road, especially  Haas now on 27 points and only four behind RB in a surprise fight for sixth. 

So for all the fuss about tickets and whatnot… 480,000 weekend attendance. That Red Bull dominance was a game changer huh?

New F1 movie trailer just dropped and… I think it looked fine. If nothing else, it was very well shot from a technical standpoint and Joe Kosinski if nothing else is a damn good director. But very little on the plot and that tends to be the dealbreaker on sports movies. Let’s see what more comes between now and 2025… 

About the Author:

Dre Harrison

Somehow can now call himself a Production Coordinator at the Motorsport Network, coming off the back of being part of the awkward Johto Era at WTF1. All off a University Project that went massively out of hand. Weird huh?

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