140,000 F1 fans in North Buckinghamshire as Hamilton wins British Grand Prix

Silverstone hosts largest single sporting event in UK since pandemic hit

By Zoe Ashton
Monday, 19th July 2021, 11:32 pm
Updated Monday, 19th July 2021, 11:34 pm
VICTORY: Lewis Hamilton embraces the British Grand Prix trophy after winning at Silverstone on Sunday (Photo Daimler AG)



North Buckinghamshire echoed to the cheers of thousands of race fans on Sunday afternoon, when Lewis Hamilton won the Pirelli British Grand Prix - round ten of the 2021 FIA F1 World Championship - at Silverstone, writes James Beckett.

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LIGHTS OUT: Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen battle at the start of the British Grand Prix (Photo Daimler AG)

The British Grand Prix became the largest single sporting event in the UK since the coronavirus pandemic swept around the globe, with capacity crowds attending across all three days of track action at the motoring festival. A sell-out 140,000 spectators, all meeting stringent government guidelines in place to allow for the easing of lockdown, witnessed a titanic battle on Sunday as Lewis Hamilton recovered from an early race incident, and a time penalty, to sweep to victory during the closing stages of the 52-lap race.

Half of the 3.6-mile Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit is located in Buckinghamshire, and it is from that part of the circuit where twenty F1 cars blasted away from the grid at the start of the race. However, just a few short corners later and a crash involving Hamilton, and race leader Max Verstappen (Red Bull), was to change the course of the afternoon.

Leading the race, Verstappen was tipped into a high speed crash at Copse Corner following contact with Hamilton's Mercedes car. Verstappen crashed out, and was taken to hospital for precautionary checks, while Hamilton survived to restart the race when racing recommenced.

Charles Leclerc then proceeded to lead the way for Ferrari - chasing a memorable victory for the team on a weekend that marked their 70th anniversary of maiden F1 success, but even suffering from a ten second time penalty for his part in the accident with Verstappen, Hamilton was able to claw his way back into contention and overhaul Leclerc to win.

ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS: Marc Gene demonstrated the 1951 British Grand Prix winning Ferrari 375 F1 (Photo James Beckett)

Standing on the Silverstone podium, Hamilton said: "The British fans are the best in the world. It has been amazing to see so many people back at the track. F1 has certainly missed the fans."

Former Buckingham University student, Marc Gene, the brand ambassador and official test driver for the Scuderia Ferrari F1 team, was given the responsibility of driving the team's historic 375 F1 car from 1951 on Saturday evening. The car was driven to victory at Silverstone seventy years ago by Argentinian racer, Froilan Gonzalez, and was taken to Silverstone this year for the demonstration by Ferrari who have spent countless hours restoring the car to original period specification.

Gene said of his experience, "Wow. The Ferrari 375 is such an amazing car! The car has a 4.5-litre V12 engine, and has an amazing feeling. When the car started, the noise it made was spectacular and to be able to drive the car around the Silverstone track where Ferrari scored their first win was something I will always remember."

Adding, "I think the crowd really enjoyed seeing the car on-track again and although the team could not quite win the British Grand Prix on Sunday with Charles, it is safe to say we all had an amazing British Grand Prix experience in Silverstone."

* Quainton's Mark Biswell will be in action this weekend contesting the latest round of the Thundersport GB motorcycle season. Following a successful weekend of action at Mallory Park a fortnight ago, Biswell returns to the Thundersport Championship for a meeting at Donington Park. Riding his Bizzle BikeSport Honda CB500, Biswell will contest four races for CB500 machines around the Leicestershire parkland track. The Vale-based racer will ride in qualifying sessions during Saturday morning, followed by two races in the afternoon. He will compete in two further two races on Sunday.

* The British GT Championship season continues this weekend at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. Andrew Howard will drive an Aston Martin Vantage GT3 with Jonny Adam in a two-hour race at the Ardennes track. There had been some speculation that the race might be cancelled due to the on-going issues in Belgium following last week's torrential rain and floods, but organisers are confident the race will take place.