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How Leclerc almost defied Hamilton after Silverstone clash

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A poor start for Valtteri Bottas and the lap one clash between Formula 1's 2021 title protagonists gave Charles Leclerc a surprise lead in the British Grand Prix that he almost held to the end. Here's how the Ferrari driver came close to a famous victory, ultimately denied by a recovering Lewis Hamilton three laps from home

There's something about Charles Leclerc and Silverstone.

In 2015 he was a rookie winner here in European Formula 3. He made his Formula 1 weekend debut in practice for Haas at the track a year later, then in 2017 – despite a pre-race brake fire and a wing mirror falling off – he won the F2 feature race and in 2019 he charged to the F1 podium after a feisty battle with Max Verstappen. Last year, he took the awful Ferrari SF1000 to the podium amid the first race tyre drama and then was excellent again to seal fourth in the 70th Anniversary event, when no incidents befell the leaders.

In 2021, he so nearly won the British Grand Prix – his excellent form all weekend rewarded with the race lead when Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton controversially collided. He would have been a thoroughly deserving race winner even without his extra efforts coping with an ailing engine.

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