The Briton won at home for a record eight-time to put a stop to Red Bull’s five-race win streak
By Yuri Coghe
But how did the improvements help in putting a stop to Red Bull’s five-race win streak? It’s actually hard to say due to the two following reasons.
On F1’s first-ever sprint race qualifying on Saturday, Max Verstappen had the better pace as he took the lead from Lewis Hamilton at the start and led all laps in the event. It looked like the Dutchman would cruise to victory on Sunday’s race too, but he retired in the first lap after a collision with Hamilton.
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So while Mercedes can be proud about their Friday results, when Hamilton set the fastest lap in the Q3, and about having the pace to allow the Briton to storm from fifth to first after serving a 10-second penalty for the Verstappen incident, it stills remains to be seen whether the upgrades will in fact put them in the same level of Red Bull, who leads the 2021 season pecking order.
But that didn’t stop Hamilton from complementing the team on its efforts.
“To see an upgrade come and us get back in the fight and be relatively close (to Red Bull) and to even be able to qualify ahead was really, really amazing,” said Hamilton after the British GP. “I was inspired by what the team brought.”
The seven-time world champion, who claimed a 99th career victory and an eight-win in Silverstone on Sunday, now sits only eight points behind Verstappen in the drivers’ standings. The gap between Red Bull and Mercedes in the constructors’ championship is now at only four points.
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“Honestly it’s been such a hard year, one I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. I’ve loved this battle but it’s an emotional rollercoaster, as it always is within a championship. I was really enjoying those first four races where it was close as it was this weekend. Then we saw them take that step ahead and I would say we’ve definitely made some mistakes as a team but just also lost a bit of performance,” Hamilton added.
“Did I think that we would be back in the title fight? Jeez, I don’t know. I prayed and hoped for it but I thought that it would be a long slog to try and regain any of the points but we’re now closer. (Verstappen) is still quite a few points ahead but the race is on.”
Speaking to website GP Fans, Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin also spoke on the improvements.
“It was quite extensive in terms of front and rear cake-tins, all the area around the bargeboards, the floor, so quite a significant amount of work on the car,” he said, explaining where the car was most affected by the upgrade.
“We had struggled at recent races and they were circuits we have historically actually found quite difficult, certainly in recent years. The pace (at Silverstone) is a combination of two things,” Shovlin added. “One is we are getting the car back on a circuit where it works well and we have also made a nice step in terms of aerodynamic performance. Those two together are really why you saw us able to take ‘pole position’ on Friday.”
The Hungarian Grand Prix, where Hamilton has also won on eight occasions, is set for Aug. 1 and will give Mercedes another race weekend to assert where they stand in comparison to Red Bull before a 3-week summer break.