Lewis Hamilton’s Silverstone win confirms what we all dared to dream about F1

Rejoice! This is what we’ve been waiting for, people.

Lewis Hamilton's win at Silverstone was evidence that Mercedes are back where they belong

No, not specifically Lewis Hamilton’s first victory in 945 days – though there were plenty who were waiting patiently for the seven-time champion to win again. But it’s what his success at Silverstone represents as far as the wider Formula 1 picture is concerned.

For a couple of months now, Red Bull have not been having things all their own way. Two full seasons of unprecedented dominance was mightily impressive and I strongly believe that they should never, ever be criticised for the success they have had.

But unless you’re a die-hard supporter of the team, or of Max Verstappen, we also can’t ignore the fact their unmatched speed made F1 as dull as dishwater. It’s in no way exciting to go into every race weekend knowing that the Dutchman is almost certain to win at a canter.

Thankfully, though, a far more healthy battle has broken out and there is finally competition again. Red Bull boss Christian Horner kept saying the gap would inevitably shrink because his team was much closer to its performance ceiling, and that prediction has now come to pass.

McLaren have been the most consistent challengers so far, specifically Lando Norris. He won one race in Miami and admits he should probably have a few more victories under his belt, but a number of small mistakes have proven costly and the wait goes on for his second career win. Norris lost ground again to Verstappen in the drivers’ championship by finishing third behind the Dutchman at Silverstone.

But he has been a thorn in Verstappen’s side in every race since that Miami win, while team-mate Oscar Piastri is also regularly in the hunt for pole position. He might have had the chance to win the British Grand Prix had it not been for the team’s disastrous call to keep him out on a wet track on slick tyres for an extra lap while everyone else dove into the pit lane.

Max Verstappen has seven wins from 12 Grands Prix in 2024 but is facing sterner competition now
Max Verstappen has seven wins from 12 Grands Prix in 2024 but is facing sterner competition now 
Image:


PA)
Ferrari have also won twice this season – first Carlos Sainz raced to victory in Australia after Verstappen’s brakes caught fire, before Charles Leclerc took advantage of a wretched weekend for Red Bull to finally win his home race in Monaco.

They have gone off the boil somewhat in the last few weeks, but boss Frederic Vasseur is confident of a swift return to victory contention. And now, after two years of struggling to make meaningful progress on developing their temperamental cars, Mercedes have come to the fore.

George Russell’s win in Austria only happened because Verstappen and Norris collided while duelling for the lead, but Hamilton and his team won at Silverstone on merit and his team-mate was also in the hunt for victory until the water system issue which forced Russell to retire.

Lando Norris is second to Max Verstappen in the championship but lost ground again at Silverstone


Lando Norris is second to Max Verstappen in the championship but lost ground again at Silverstone 
Image:
Icon Sport via Getty Images)

With six different winners from 12 races so far this term, F1 in 2024 already has the same number of victors as the breathtaking 2021 season, while the last campaign which saw a greater number was in 2012 (eight). With another dozen rounds to go, there’s no reason why Piastri and maybe one or two others cannot add their names to the list.

Finally, there is more than an element of mystery in F1 again. We head into every race now thinking that any of seven drivers could come out on top. That number could become eight, if Sergio Perez gets his act together before Red Bull decide enough is enough and drop him.

Fans of Verstappen and Red Bull would of course prefer to see their favourites winning every week. But for everyone else, the next 18 months until the next swathe of regulations changes promises to be a wild ride.

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