Max Verstappen claimed his sixth victory in succession by winning the British Grand Prix for the first time in his Formula 1 career on an overcast Sunday at Silverstone.
Two British drivers trailed the reigning World Champion home, Lando Norris securing his maiden home podium ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
With rain in the air on the starting grid, the home faithful’s spirits couldn’t be dampened as Norris instantly propelled his way past Verstappen into Turn 1 to seize the lead.
Instead of pressuring Norris to reclaim first place, the entirety of Verstappen’s opening tour was spent looking in his mirrors and defending from the sister McLaren of Oscar Piastri, who fancied a look into Copse.
Further back, the two Mercedes’ endured contrasting fortunes at the start. Hamilton ran wide at Village and dropped back to ninth, while George Russell used the Soft tyre to good effect to leap through past the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz.
Norris was able to close out the opening four laps out front, but the McLaren soon appeared no match for the Red Bull positioned menacingly in his mirrors and the defending champion used DRS to easily swoop past into Brooklands.
As one Brit went backwards, Hamilton continued his charge back through the pack with a move on old foe Fernando Alonso, while Russell was left unsatisfied by a late defensive manoeuvre from Charles Leclerc.
Esteban Ocon swiftly became the race’s first retirement, dropping out on Lap 10 when his Alpine team called him back to the pits with an apparent technical issue on his A522 car.
Sergio Perez, who had started 15th after a disastrous qualifying, finally made his way back into the top 10 with a pass on Alex Albon’s Williams on Lap 17.
Out front, his Red Bull team-mate’s lead exceeded the four-second mark, with Norris a further 2s clear of Piastri. But the McLarens were continuing to extend the gap to the pack behind, prompting Ferrari to pit Leclerc for the Hard compound on Lap 19.
Eight laps later and Sainz was called in, also going onto the hardest available rubber. The Spaniard came out behind Lance Stroll, who had just been passed by Leclerc.
Russell followed next, discarding his starting Softs for a set of the Medium tyre, wasting no time in reeling Leclerc in and successfully moving himself up another place.
For the second day in succession, there was the sight of Kevin Magnussen stopping on track, this time with his Haas car on flames midway down the Wellington Straight.
While initially a Virtual Safety Car was called, the full Safety Car was soon deployed, allowing those who hadn’t pitted yet to effectively gain a free stop.
McLaren opted to play it safe and switch Norris to the Hard compound, with Hamilton taking advantage to fit the Soft tyre ahead of Piastri in the battle for third.
Once the race eventually resumed on Lap 39, Verstappen immediately bolted away unopposed as Norris was made to defend valiantly from Hamilton on the restart.
Despite DRS being enabled again the McLaren driver was able to continuously hold the Mercedes back and Norris soon began to establish some breathing room.
Perez had been frustrated by Sainz using Alonso to defend on worn Hard rubber but the Red Bull finally mounted a move into the Vale chicane. With Sainz’s run onto the next lap compromised, Albon and Leclerc profited to demote the Spaniard to 10th.
Gasly’s attempts to follow them through were rebuffed and when Stroll spied an opportunity it was the Alpine racer who came off worse with a race-ending puncture. The Aston Martin was later hit with a five-second penalty for causing the collision.
Verstappen had previously won at Silverstone but he finally triumphed at the British GP at the ninth attempt to further extend his commanding advantage at the top of the Drivers’ standings.
Norris managed to hold off Hamilton to the chequered flag to register McLaren’s first podium at Silverstone since 2010.
Oscar Piastri ensured the Woking outfit took a sizeable points score away by achieving the highest finish of his F1 career to date, ahead of the second Mercedes of Russell.
Perez recovered nine places to come home sixth, with Alonso leading Albon, Leclerc and Sainz across the line to complete the points scorers.
F1 now embarks on a two-week break before a doubleheader in Hungary and Belgium rounds out the first half of the 2023 campaign.