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2023 British Grand Prix Takeaways

By Hank Blaine

Silverstone is known for delivering some of the best Formula 1 action in a season. In the end, the British Grand Prix transformed into a Sprint-like race with 13 laps remaining when the Safety Car made an appearance. Predictably, defending champion Max Verstappen held the lead, while Lando Norris brandished some of the best defensive driving we’ve seen in a while. Eventually, the tenth race of the 2023 campaign had everyone smiling with two local drivers on their podium for the first time since 1999.

After an action-packed afternoon, Nitrobetting highlights the top 2023 British Grand Prix storylines and outlines the day’s winners and losers.

Key Takeaways from the 2023 British Grand Prix

McLaren Bags Its Best Finish in 2023

This was McLaren’s best collective result since the double-podium finish at Monza in 2021 with Daniel Ricciardo finishing P1 and Lando Norris behind him at P2. It was also their first podium finish since Imola 2022 and the best performance since Norris almost bagged a first career P1 in the 2021 Russian Grand Prix.

McLaren hit everyone with a curveball. He was never a victory contender to begin with, but the Surrey-based constructor introduced upgrades that made them the second-fastest team on merit at Silverstone. They even had a shot at a double-podium finish if it weren’t for the introduction of a Safety Car, which cost Oscar Piastri a crucial track position to Lewis Hamilton.

The seven-time World Champion was impressed by the MCL60, which he dubbed a “rocketship”. This also magnifies his comments regarding a Red Bull-inspired development and how they need to follow that same trend right now.

Silverstone is the only track that played to McLaren’s strengths now. The high speed and cool conditions complemented the hard compound tires and mitigated its weaknesses on low-speed corners. The results validate the team’s call to fast-track the majority of its latest major upgrade on Norris’s machine.

Zak Brown was on cloud 9 when Norris crossed the finish line. He feels this performance and result means the constructor pulls itself out of the slump. However, the different challenge Hungary offers next time out will be a huge trial for the team.

Super Alex Albon

Many believed that Williams’ top-three pace from the free practice session on Friday and early Saturday was unlikely to translate well into the qualifying and Sunday’s race. But, Alex Albon once again drove the wheels of the FW45 and was in the mix in both qualifying and the race. He scored four important points and produced another outstanding weekend for his team. The former Red Bull driver now scored points in two of his last three races. If it weren’t for the track limits penalty in Austria, he would have been in the points that day.

Albon defended his position against the Two Ferraris behind him. Before taking P8, he passed Carlos Sainz into abbey after lining up out of the final part of the turn. If the Thai-British driver had more laps to work with, we would have seen him overtake a rather erratic Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso. Moreover, Albon’s Red Bull replacement Sergio Perez also drew attention to his recovery to sixth place following another underwhelming qualifying session.

Leclerc pushed hard in the dying stages of the race. He attacked Albon on the final lap, but Albon was ready to defend. He was aware of how precious his position was. Eventually, he scored the all-important four points that moves them ahead of Haas in the Constructors’ Standings.

Another highlight for Williams was Logan Sargeant’s P11 finish. He might not have made both FW45’s score points, but there’s no question that his finish is more than impressive. It’s also his best finish as a rookie. James Wolves congratulated his driver as soon as he crossed the line. The Williams team principal emphasizes that Sargeant was within a tenth per lap of Albon for the majority of the 52-lap race, which he dubbed as a “really impressive step” for the young driver.

Mercedes’ Polarity

Mercedes bagged 25 points on Sunday. The results somewhat flatter the Mercedes W14 considering its jittery pace during qualifying. Nevertheless, the points haul takes the constructor a step closer to second place in the Constructors Standings. Their main rivals scored just nine combined points across their four combined cars, while the eight-time Constructors’ Champions chased down their opponents.

The bonus was Lewis Hamilton scoring a podium finish in his home race. The seven-time World Champion tried to chase down the McLaren on hards but proved too difficult following the upgrades introduced to the Papaya-colored cars. This might not come down as a major season highlight for the team, but Silverstone made sure the championship situation looked better for the pair of Silver Arrows.

The virtual safety car put Hamilton’s car in a more advantageous spot. Without that, Hamilton would have missed out on a 14th Silverstone podium finish. On top of that, they would have likely given up a podium finish to Oscar Piastri. Both Hamilton and Russell observed how well the McLaren performed despite both Mercedes running stickier compounds in the latter part of the day. The British Grand Prix suggested there’s still something missing as Mercedes pushes for a better W14 in the coming weeks.

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