By Alan Baldwin

SILVERSTONE, England (Reuters) – Max Verstappen won the British Grand Prix to stretch his Formula One lead to 99 points on Sunday as unbeaten Red Bull equalled McLaren’s 1988 record run of 11 victories in a row.

McLaren’s Lando Norris finished second in front of a roaring 160,000-strong home crowd at Silverstone, with fellow Briton and seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton third for Mercedes after starting seventh.

“Eleven in a row. That’s pretty crazy,” said Verstappen over the team radio after what was also his sixth win in a row and eighth in 10 races this season.

The double world champion bagged the fastest lap bonus point as well to pull almost four race wins clear of his closest rival and team mate Sergio Perez, who finished sixth after starting 15th.

The win was Red Bull’s first at Silverstone since Australian Mark Webber in 2012, and Norris’ podium was a first for McLaren in their home race since Hamilton was second in 2010.

Australian Oscar Piastri was fourth for McLaren, his hopes of a first podium dashed by a late safety car, with Britain’s George Russell fifth for Mercedes after a long first stint on soft tyres and Fernando Alonso seventh for Aston Martin.

Alex Albon continued resurgent Williams’s strong recent showing with eighth, ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and last year’s winner Carlos Sainz.

Ferrari’s underwhelming race marked a full year since the sport’s oldest and most successful team last won.


Verstappen started on pole position but suffered wheelspin as the lights went out and Norris, alongside on the front row, seized the lead.

The Briton stayed ahead until lap five when Verstappen passed with DRS (drag reduction) assistance at the end of the Wellington Straight.

The Red Bull did not disappear into the distance, however, with Norris still within a second of Verstappen five laps later and the McLaren drivers agreeing to hold position for the benefit of the team and to manage the tyres.

Norris took the chequered flag only 3.798 seconds behind the Dutch driver.

“I did what I could. I brought the fight to Max for as long as possible,” said Norris, whose team won 11 races in a row in 1988 with the late triple champion Ayrton Senna and Frenchman Alain Prost.

Red Bull’s current run started at last year’s Abu Dhabi season-ender and their form is such that it could be a while before it ends.

The safety car, deployed from lap 33 to 38 after Haas driver Kevin Magnussen’s engine died and burst into flames, bunched up the pack with the top three getting a cheap pitstop before the final 14 laps of racing with rivals on different tyres.

Norris, on hards, and Hamilton, on softs, went wheel to wheel — fighting hard but fairly — until the McLaren pulled away to finish some three seconds clear of the Mercedes driver at the end.

“That McLaren is a rocket ship. At high speed it was insane,” said Hamilton, making his 14th British Grand Prix podium appearance, over the team radio.

Haas’s Nico Hulkenberg and Perez made contact on lap eight in a battle for 13th, with the German then pitting for a new front wing.

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon was the first retirement, told by the Renault-owned team that it was all over due to a hydraulic leak when he returned to the pits on lap 10.

Team mate Pierre Gasly also retired on a bleak afternoon for the Renault-owned outfit.

Organisers said 160,000 fans attended Sunday’s race with a British Grand Prix record of 480,000 over the course of the event.

They could also breathe a sigh of relief after a feared protest by ‘Just Stop Oil’ campaigners, who invaded the track last year, failed to materialise.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, Editing by Clare Fallon and Christian Radnedge)

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