[F1 British GP: Verstappen scores sixth consecutive win ahead of Norris, Hamilton
At the start, Norris was able to blast past polesitter Verstappen as the Red Bull failed to accelerate despite the Dutchman reacting well enough, which meant Piastri also had a look to the inside of the first corner starting in third.
There, Verstappen went the long way around to cement second and he then chased Norris down the Wellington straight, where the leader successfully weaved to disrupt the two to the pack behind.
Norris was able to initially keep Verstappen at bay but on lap five of 52 Verstappen used the powerful DRS effect on the Red Bull to shoot along the Wellington straight and then dive back into the lead at Brooklands.
McLaren informed Norris that Piastri would hold station in third at this stage, with the top three already well clear of Charles Leclerc and George Russell battling at the head of the pack behind.
Norris stayed with Verstappen before finally falling out of DRS range at one-fifth distance, where the teams were split informing their drivers over whether the clouds that had built up over Silverstone ahead of the start would start to deposit rain on proceedings.
The drivers did report light drizzle through the next phase before attention turned to the planned single stops for the frontrunners, who had all started on the mediums bar Russell on the softs that held on better than expected over a race stint as he continued to chase Leclerc closely at this stage.
Verstappen gradually pulled clear of Norris, their times getting quicker through the 1m33s bracket initially before reaching the mid-1m32s range only Piastri in third could join them in.
By the time Leclerc became the first of the frontrunners to stop on lap 18, Verstappen’s lead had reached 4.0s, which had become 8.1s by the time Piastri pitted from third on lap 29 as the leader had upped his pace to the low 1m32s on several occasions.
Just as Verstappen and Norris were extending their first stints a little now, the race was neutralised first by the virtual safety car when Kevin Magnussen’s engine – new after his qualifying oil pressure loss – expired on the Wellington straight on lap 32.
That was then upgraded to a full safety car period so the Haas could be craned onto a recovery truck, during which Verstappen and Norris pitted, as did many others in the pack, including Hamilton, who had been chasing the Ferrari cars and Russell early on after losing ground at the start from his seventh place starting spot.
The leaders were split on tyres for the second stint, with Verstappen and Hamilton taking softs and Norris on the hards, as he mirrored the tyres Piastri had taken on the other McLaren that was down to fourth for the restart behind Hamilton thanks to its unfortunate pre-interruption pitstop timing.
When racing resumed on lap 39 – the clean-up operation for Magnussen’s car taking over 12 minutes – Verstappen was already 1.2s when he crossed the line to resume green flag conditions as he had dropped Norris approaching Stowe once the safety car had pulled clear.
Norris, therefore, had to contend more with Hamilton behind as the McLaren had to work harder to fire up its tyres, with the pair thrillingly going wheel-to-wheel over the first two laps back to racing speed between Brooklands and Copse.
Verstappen, despite not liking his feeling on the softs, had enough pace in hand lapping in the low 1m31s and 1m30s on the final lap to easily rebuild his lead to the finish, eventually winning by 3.7s
After his two hard attacks on Norris, Hamilton never got another chance as he fell out of DRS range entering the final 10 laps and then came home second and third with a 2.9s margin for the younger Briton.
Piastri was also able to fire his hards up well enough to defy Russell in the second Mercedes at the restart and the Briton then also faded from behind the Australian just as Hamilton had against Norris in the closing stages up ahead.
Sergio Perez made his way up from his lowly 15th-place starting spot during the early stages – but only really made up major ground once the safety car period had bunched up the field.
Nevertheless, he did not benefit from a safety car stop and so had to do plenty of overtaking, including a late move into Stowe on Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, who had battled Hamilton during the first laps before the Mercedes passed into Brooklands on lap seven.
Alonso finished seventh ahead of the Williams Alex Albon, who defied the late attentions of Leclerc on the final lap – the Ferrari driver having been unlucky the safety car period ruined his early-stop strategy but allowed him to stop a second time under the disruption and go back to the mediums from the hards.
Leclerc and Albon followed Perez by Carlos Sainz in a gripping battle post-safety car, with the second Ferrari another pre-neutralisation stopper – although he was left out on the hards to try and stick out with improved track position as others, including his team-mate, stopped ahead.
Sainz eventually fell to 10th, which he held ahead of Lance Stroll as Sainz’s path to the final point was eased by the second Aston colliding with Pierre Gasly in the Ferrari’s wake.
Gasly, who had been battling Alonso before the safety car stops, eventually retired as a result of the damage sustained in the clash with Stroll through the second part of Club, the final corner.
Stroll was given a penalty for the incident that dropped him to 14th in the final classification, which included Esteban Ocon being the race’s other retirement with a hydraulic issue aboard his Alpine.
Despite the threat of disruption from protestors, the on-track ran without issue – the grid having featured a significant securing presence of F1 officials backed up by police monitoring the grandstands lining the pit straight opposite Silverstone’s Wing complex.
It also did not rain following the early drizzle, while track limits were again a late topic as Norris and Russell were among those to be given final warning black-and-white flag messages for going too wide – particularly at Copse and Stowe.