F1 2023 British race report: 7 things we learned at Silverstone | CAR Magazine

F1 2023 British race report: 7 things we learned at Silverstone

Published: 10 July 2023 Updated: 10 July 2023

► 2023 British GP report
► Verstappen, Norris and Hamilton make the top three
► Here’s what we learnt

Well that was entertaining, wasn’t it? This year’s British GP didn’t have the same drama as 2021 or 2020, but it delivered one of the best races we’ve had this season. Although the winner was pretty much nailed on before we even got to the track, the rest of the top ten was anyone’s guess: after all, the difference between Lando Norris in 2nd place and Lewis Hamilton in 7th was just 0.194 seconds on Saturday. 

It was another win for Max Verstappen, but the podium was rounded out by two Brits as Lando Norris held off Lewis Hamilton for second place. However, there were stories throughout the weekend, including strong results from Williams and (even more) issues for Sergio Perez. Here’s what we learnt at the 2023 British GP.

1. Verstappen nearly faultless 

Verstappen took Red Bull’s 11th win in a row on Sunday, and it’s increasingly looking like the Dutchman could win all the remaining rounds. It’s a testament to Red Bull’s dominance that Lando Norris leading for a handful of laps made the race far more interesting than others we’ve seen this year. 

The only mistake Verstappen made? A clumsy collision into the pit wall on Saturday, which he put down to understeer. Compare the current performance of Verstappen to his teammate Sergio Perez and it’s incredible we even thought there’d be a title fight between the two.

2. McLaren returns

It’s fair to say McLaren was in trouble during testing – with the team saying it failed to hit its performance goals over the winter. That was all a distant memory on Sunday, however, when the papaya (and silver for this race) cars lined up second and third on the grid – notably ahead of Mercedes, Ferrari and Aston Martin. 

After a strong performance in Austria for Norris, both cars had received upgrades in Silverstone – and both drivers made good use of them. Aston Martin engineers proved a team could make a huge leap over winter, and McLaren has now shown it’s possible to make a huge leap during the season.

The final result was a 2nd place for Norris and 5th place for Piastri, with both cars showing strong performance throughout the race on both compounds. Most illuminating was Norris’ fight with Hamilton; despite harder tyres Norris was able to pull away from the Mercedes in the quicker corners. 

3. A difficult weekend for Mercedes

Silverstone was a mixed weekend for the Brackley team; upgrades (which turned out to just be a front wing) didn’t seem to provide the jump in performance it wanted, and it was clearly passed by McLaren in terms of performance. Throughout the race, both Mercedes drivers reported just how fast the McLaren was in high-speed corners. 

Mercedes W14 rear

Despite all the above, Hamilton was able to take a well-executed third place. Lewis was helped by the safety car, though he was able to benefit due to a strong stint of tyre management. Russell finished 5th, behind both McLarens but ahead of Sergio Perez. 

4. Sergio Perez continues to have issues 

Sergio Perez is having a poor run of qualifying sessions, but things aren’t considerably better come race day either. After starting 15th due to a lack of pace, Perez was able to claw his way to 6th position. That’s impressive until you factor in the car he was driving and the performance of his team mate with it. Ask yourself this: if Verstappen were starting 15th, where do you think he would finish? I’d bet he won the race. 

Red Bull insists it doesn’t have anyone to replace the Mexican right now, with Daniel Ricciardo instead poised to replace de Vries after the summer break. That’s according to paddock rumours, anyway…

5. Williams continues to shine

Williams is inching back to its glory days, one race at a time. This weekend should’ve marked the 800th race for the Groves outfit, though calendar changes and cancellations mean that’ll now come in Hungary. 

Still, the team changed its livery to a Union Jack-inspired affair to mark the occasion at Silverstone, and Alex Albon left with five points to continue the celebrations. Logan Sargeant wasn’t far behind either, finishing just outside the points in 11th

6. Ferrari still confused

Ferrari may have landed a strong result at the Red Bull Ring, but the Scuderia was back to its old tricks in Silverstone. A slight lack of pace and the reintroduction of some dodgy strategy calls left the red cars down in 9th and 10th, and both drivers were hardly impressed with the decisions made by the pit wall. 

Team boss Fred Vasseur said that the poor performance came from an overly cautious strategy. Both drivers were told not to push too much due to tyre degradation fears – and that also led to some incorrect compound choices. 

7. Green is the new red

Aston Martin was anonymous in the race – aside from a penalty for Lance Stroll – but the brand was front and centre on Friday. The British brand decided to celebrate its 110th year at the British GP, with 110 cars forming a parade for two laps of the track. I drove a DBS 770 Ultimate around the track, but the parade included historic and exotic examples such as a DB3S, DB5 and Valkyrie. The aim? To celebrate the history of the marque, and ultimately to make Aston Martin as synonymous with motorsport as Ferrari. 

Alongside the celebrations, Aston Martin also formally opened its new 37,000m2 AMR Technology Campus effectively opposite the track. Purpose built and designed with collaboration in mind, it’ll be the beating heart of Gaydon as it looks to get even further up the grid.

‘We promised that 2023, Aston Martin’s 110th anniversary year, would be a monumental one for the brand,’ said Lawrence Stroll, executive chairman of Aston Martin. 

‘In a season where Aston Martin has risen to become a new force in Formula One, there is no place or time more fitting for our celebrations to take centre stage than here at our home race at Silverstone where we’ll receive huge support this weekend.’

8. Back and forth 

Although not directly related to the race, Silverstone gave me a chance to put a few hundred miles on my new long-termer, the Alfa Romeo Tonale. It promises to have some of Giulia’s poise with most of the Stelvio’s practicality – and all the style of both. Does it deliver? Subscribe to CAR magazine for my monthly reports. 

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's Digital Editor, F1 and sim-racing enthusiast. Partial to clever tech and sports bikes