Dutchman Max Verstappen won his sixth race in a row in 2023 at the British Grand Grix as McLaren’s Lando Norris starred with his first podium at the Silverstone circuit.
25-year-old Verstappen extends his championship lead over teammate Sergio Perez to 99-points with his 43rd career win, as the Mexican recovered from 15th to 6th.
The reigning World Champion was made to work for it, as Norris grabbed the lead at the start from the front row.
It was also a record-equalling 11th win in a row for Red Bull, who have been beaten once in the last 12 months.
Norris, who had missed out on pole by two and a half tenths, led the opening four laps, but offered no defence when the Red Bull attacked on Lap 5 with DRS.
And it paid dividends as McLaren got their tyre call right during a mid-race Safety Car, allowing Norris to hold off fellow Brit Lewis Hamilton for second.
McLaren, who’ve brought significant upgrades to the car over the last two races, enjoyed their best race of the season, with rookie Oscar Piastri finishing fourth, splitting the Mercedes drivers.
Verstappen victorious, Norris the star of the show
Red Bull and Verstappen’s unprecedented run of success never really looked likely to stop at Silverstone, even when Norris snatched the lead at lights out, which brought a spin-tingling roar from the home crowd.
Verstappen got wheelspin, which allowed Norris to pass, as Piastri threatened to make it a Papaya 1-2.
Norris led comfortably, the McLaren’s speed earning praise from Verstappen and Hamilton post-race, but Verstappen put an end to the fun of a McLaren in the lead.
The Dutchman did ease into a comfortable lead, but not at the canter we’ve witnessed at previous races in 2023, although the Red Bull driver could easily have been managing his race.
And even a mid-race Safety Car for the stranded Haas of Kevin Magnussen couldn’t wrong foot Red Bull, with their cause aided by McLaren’s decision to put Norris on hard compound tyres when stopping under the Safety Car, while Verstappen was fitted with the softs.
At the restart, Verstappen bolted, opening a two-second lead on the first lap back to racing conditions.
Behind though, Norris continued to showcase his talent in the upgraded McLaren, as eight-time British Grand Prix winner Hamilton chased for P2.
With the Mercedes on softs, and with DRS, it seemed almost certain that the seven-time World Champion would pass his compatriot, but Norris and his McLaren car were more than equal to the task.
Not only was the MCL60 quick enough on the straights, but able to pull a gap through the famous Maggotts and Becketts section to eventually ease away from the Mercedes.
Norris was greeted by raucous cheers from an almost partisan crowd as he clinched his maiden British GP podium.
Mercedes move forward, Aston Martin struggle, Ferrari fail on strategy
After qualifying, Hamilton told his Mercedes team that McLaren’s speed was a ‘wake-up call’.
But, as often the case over the last 18 months, the Mercedes duo had strong race pace, with George Russell starting on the softs, gaining a place on the opening lap and challenging Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who ran on the mediums.
Russell’s pace forced Ferrari to put early, perhaps fearing the undercut. The Kings-Lynn born ran much longer, eventually passing the Monegasque on track shortly after pitting for mediums himself, while the Ferrari was on hards.
The other Mercedes of Hamilton, who started on mediums, was able to box under the safety car, which vaulted him from seventh before any pit stops, to third.
Aston Martin were quiet again, as they were in Austria. Fernando Alonso, a regular on the podium this year, ran sixth for much of the race, with his lack of pace evidenced by the ease at which Hamilton passed after losing a position on the opening lap.
Ferrari’s strategy floundered further as Sainz first forgot what Plan B was, before they boxed Leclerc a second time under the Safety Car. And while that decision was being made, Sainz left it to his engineer as to whether or not to pit.
The Spaniard wasn’t called in and Ferrari ended up ninth and 10th at the end of the race as their strategy operations were exposed once again.