Massive 140,000 crowd packs Silverstone for British Grand Prix in biggest mass gathering since Covid


Lewis Hamilton delivered a remarkable comeback to win the British Grand Prix after he was accused of putting Max Verstappen’s life on the line when Formula One’s championship rivals crashed at 190mph.

Hamilton passed Charles Leclerc with only two-and-a-half laps remaining of a thrilling race after the Ferrari driver ran out of road on the exit of Copse in front of a 140,000 spectators on a sizzling afternoon at Silverstone where this season’s title battle boiled over. 

Fans watched as Lewis Hamilton, the most successful Formula One driver of all time, crashed into big championship rival Max Verstappen on the circuit in the biggest sporting event to take place since the pandemic hit.

Verstappen was able to climb from the wreckage, but appeared shaken up and winded and he was taken away in an ambulance for a precautionary check-up.

Hamilton was hit with a 10-second penalty for the terrifying lap-one shunt which saw Verstappen’s afternoon end in the barriers and subsequently hospital.

But his stunning win – his eighth on home turf – moved him to within seven points of Verstappen on a remarkable afternoon.

Hamilton jumped out his Mercedes and leapt over a barrier before waving the Union Flag in front of the packed grandstands.

The race at the Northamptonshire circuit was closely watched as an example of whether sporting events can take place safely amid the pandemic. 

It was allowed to go ahead as part of the third phase of the Government’s Events Research Programme (ERP), set up to test Covid Passports. 

In pre-Covid times, the British Grand Prix is normally the best-attended sports event in Britain and underpins a £2billion-a-year industry. 

Among the famous faces attending the event today were actors Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford and Wimbledon star Emma Raducanu.

A total of 350,000 Formula One fans are estimated to attend over the course of three days this year amid temperatures of up to 91F, with Sunday hitting record temperatures for the year so far.

Victory: Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning the British Grand Prix at Silverstone this afternoon

Race winner Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes GP celebrates on the podium during the British Grand Prix of at Silverstone

Race winner Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes GP celebrates on the podium during the British Grand Prix of at Silverstone

Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates on the podium

Pictured: Hamilton hugs the trophy after securing victory at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone this afternoon

Pictured: Hamilton lifts and hugs the trophy after securing victory at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone this afternoon

At least 140,000 packed into Silverstone circuit to watch the British Grand Prix today amid soaring temperatures

At least 140,000 packed into Silverstone circuit to watch the British Grand Prix today amid soaring temperatures

This is the biggest sporting event to be held in Britain since the pandemic led to closed doors last year

This is the biggest sporting event to be held in Britain since the pandemic led to closed doors last year

Verstappen was able to climb from the wreckage, but appeared shaken and was taken in an ambulance for a check-up

Verstappen was able to climb from the wreckage, but appeared shaken and was taken in an ambulance for a check-up

Pictured: Most spectators were hoping to see Lewis Hamilton, the most successful Formula One driver of all time, celebrate a 99th career victory. But crowds gasped as he crashed into big championship rival Max Verstappen

Pictured: Most spectators were hoping to see Lewis Hamilton, the most successful Formula One driver of all time, celebrate a 99th career victory. But crowds gasped as he crashed into big championship rival Max Verstappen

Silverstone is part of the third phase of the Government's Events Research Programme (ERP), set up to test Covid Passports

Silverstone is part of the third phase of the Government’s Events Research Programme (ERP), set up to test Covid Passports

Silverstone's managing director, Stuart Pringle, is adamant that safety procedures at the 550 acre outdoor venue have been rigorous. Pictured: Ferrari's Charles Leclerc during the race

Silverstone’s managing director, Stuart Pringle, is adamant that safety procedures at the 550 acre outdoor venue have been rigorous. Pictured: Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc during the race

Rre-Covid, the British Grand Prix is the best-attended sports event in Britain and underpins a £2billion-a-year industry

Rre-Covid, the British Grand Prix is the best-attended sports event in Britain and underpins a £2billion-a-year industry

The event came amid temperatures of up to 91F, with Sunday expected to be the hottest day of the year so far

The event came amid temperatures of up to 91F, with Sunday expected to be the hottest day of the year so far

Silverstone has worked closely with the directorate of public health in Northamptonshire and Public Health England to allow the mass event to go ahead. 

The major sporting meet is being monitored by the ERP, which has also seen almost full capacity crowds gather at Lord’s and Wimbledon earlier this mont. 

The tennis championship became the first sporting event in Great Britain to be played in front of a full house this year on its Centre Court and Court No1, while Lord’s saw 30,000 cricket fans gathered to watch the second One Day International match in the series. 

Silverstone’s managing director, Stuart Pringle, is adamant that safety procedures at the 550 acre outdoor venue have been rigorous, The Guardian reports. 

A total of 350,000 fans are estimated to attend the event over the course of three days. Pictured: Red Arrows perform fly past

A total of 350,000 fans are estimated to attend the event over the course of three days. Pictured: Red Arrows perform fly past

Event comes amid temperatures of up to 91F, with Sunday expected to be the hottest day of the year so far

Event comes amid temperatures of up to 91F, with Sunday expected to be the hottest day of the year so far

The need for speed: Tom Cruise and Wimbledon hero Emma Raducanu led the star-studded line-up of famous faces who attended Silverstone for the British Grand Prix on Sunday

Going for a spin: Emma seemed to have been making the most of her visit to Silverstone as she posed for pictures alongside a McLaren sports car after having been taken for a spin in it out on the track

Tom Cruise and Wimbledon hero Emma Raducanu led the line-up of famous faces at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix

Silverstone is a 550-acre site with grandstands that seat as many fans as a large Premier League stadium

Silverstone is a 550-acre site with grandstands that seat as many fans as a large Premier League stadium

‘I have complete confidence in our ability to run this safely,’ he told the publication. ‘For all the challenges we have had with our finances over the last 18 months we are not the type of business that sticks its neck in the noose and rolls the dice, we would not do this unless we believed we could do it.

What are the rules for Formula One fans attending Silverstone?

As the British Grand Prix event at Silverstone circuit is part of the Government’s Events Research Programme (ERP), usual Covid restrictions do not apply.

No one is required to wear a mask at the outdoor venue, a measure reportedly decided by the directorate of public health Northamptonshire and Public Health England.

But fans must show they have had two vaccinations against Covid two weeks before arrival. 

Those who are not yet double-jabbed must show a negative lateral flow test in the previous 48 hours or demonstrate that they have natural immunity from a previous infection. 

They can do this using the NHS covid app.  

Scientists want to use the event to test whether certification is able to limit the spread of the virus.  

‘If we thought for some reason Public Health England and all the other bodies that have signed off on this in some way had got it wrong or we were not capable of delivering it in a way that complies with their requirements we would not do this.’

As the event is part of the Government’s Events Research Programme (ERP), usual Covid restrictions do not apply, and in this case scientists want to test whether certification is able to limit the spread of the virus.

No one is required to wear a mask, but fans must show they have had two vaccinations against Covid, a negative lateral flow test in the previous 48 hours or they have natural immunity from a previous infection. They can do this using the NHS covid app. 

However, the race comes as the the country’s third wave of coronavirus infection continues to gather pace, driven by the Delta variant, which was first identified in India.

It also takes part the day before ‘Freedom Day’ with Prime Minister Boris Johnson set to lift most Covid restrictions on Monday. 

Health Secretary Sajid Javid was among the thousands of people testing positve for the virus this week. 

On Friday, the UK recorded more than 50,000 daily cases of Covid for the first time since mid-January and that tally is soon expected to pass the previous peak of 68,000.

Yesterday, the number of daily cases hit 54,674, with 740 patients admitted to hospital and 41 deaths. 

Public transport hit was also hit, with parts of the London Underground forced to shut yesterday due to a lack of staff.

But Pringle and his team insist that the measures at Silverstone are appropriate in the current circumstances. 

He told The Guardian: ‘As part of ERP, Covid regulations are disapplied; this is a scientific, data-gatheirng exercise and they want to understand what happens. They are taking a view on the risk and the view is that in a large-scale, open-air, outdoor venue it is not necessary to wear masks.’ 

Organisers also pointed out the site is large and in the open air, unlike other sporting or arts venues.

Silverstone is a 550-acre site with grandstands that seat as many fans as a large Premier League stadium, but are spread out over three and a half miles.

In addition, the vast majority of fans attend the Northamptonshire circuit – which is wedged between the M1 and M40 motorways – by car, reducing the risk of spread on public transport.

With 19 entry gates over a five-and-a-half mile perimeter, people can remain spread out while entering and leaving the site, which is not always the case in urban settings.

Most spectators are hoping to see Lewis Hamilton, the most successful Formula One driver of all time, celebrate a 99th career victory

Most spectators are hoping to see Lewis Hamilton, the most successful Formula One driver of all time, celebrate a 99th career victory

Silverstone has worked closely with the directorate of public health in Northamptonshire and Public Health England to allow the mass event to go ahead

Silverstone has worked closely with the directorate of public health in Northamptonshire and Public Health England to allow the mass event to go ahead

Lewis Hamilton wears a mask

He added that he had heard of people 'getting Covid and being ill' even after receiving two vaccinations

Earlier this week, seven-time and current world champion Lewis Hamilton (left) took to Instagram  (pictured right) to ask fans attending the race weekend to cover their faces to ‘keep others around us healthy’

Fitness guru Joe Wicks, 34, was also spotted receiving a tour of the garages at Silverstone on Sunday

Fitness guru Joe Wicks, 34, was also spotted receiving a tour of the garages at Silverstone on Sunday

Harrison cut a casual figure as he rocked up to Silverstone wearing a light blue shirt, with several buttons undone, and blue denim jeans

Harrison cut a casual figure as he rocked up to Silverstone wearing a light blue shirt, with several buttons undone, and blue denim jeans

Most spectators were hoping to see Lewis Hamilton, the most successful Formula One driver of all time, celebrate a 99th career victory. But crowds gasped as he crashed into big championship rival Max Verstappen.

Verstappen was immediately tended to by the marshals trackside and, despite being able to clamber from the wreckage, notably appeared shaken up and winded.

Footage then showed him waving to the crowd before he was taken away in an ambulance for a precautionary check-up.

Earlier this week, seven-time and current world champion Hamilton took to Instagram to ask fans attending the race weekend to cover their faces to ‘keep others around us healthy’.

He added that he had heard of people ‘getting Covid and being ill’ even after receiving two vaccinations.

Hamilton said in his message: ‘It was so nice to see everyone today,’ wrote Hamilton. ‘So refreshing to see people and the energy already is so uplifting.

But he added: ‘Can I please ask you to wear your masks, be safe. I know of people getting Covid and being ill even with double jabs. So please please stay safe this weekend.

Cars line up in pit lane after a crash between Hamilton and rival Max Verstappen during the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone

Cars line up in pit lane after a crash between Hamilton and rival Max Verstappen during the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone

A Royal marching band performed today on the grid prior to the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain

A Royal marching band performed today on the grid prior to the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain

The Red Bull Racing team are pictured preparing on the grid before the race started

The Red Bull Racing team are pictured preparing on the grid before the race started

The F1 drivers stand and kneel on the grid as part of the We Race As One gesture before the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain

The F1 drivers stand and kneel on the grid as part of the We Race As One gesture before the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton (right) and Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas during the British Grand Prix at Silverstone

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton (right) and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas during the British Grand Prix at Silverstone

Fans packed the stands at Silverstone this afternoon after Hamilton pleaded with spectators to wear masks to the event

Fans packed the stands at Silverstone this afternoon after Hamilton pleaded with spectators to wear masks to the event

Pictured: Spectators look on to the 18th green during Day Four of The 149th Open at Royal St George's Golf Club

Pictured: Spectators look on to the 18th green during Day Four of The 149th Open at Royal St George’s Golf Club

Victory at the Open: Collin Morikawa of the U.S. celebrates with the Claret Jug after winning The Open Championship

Victory at the Open: Collin Morikawa of the U.S. celebrates with the Claret Jug after winning The Open Championship

‘Wearing a mask is a small sacrifice to stay healthy and keep others around us healthy. With love.’

The 140,000 at the race track were today treated to a fly-past from the famous Red Arrows display team as they watched drivers speed round the 52 laps of the 5.891-kilometre Silverstone Circuit.

Tom Cruise and Wimbledon hero Emma Raducanu led the star-studded line-up of famous faces who attended Silverstone for the British Grand Prix on Sunday.

Much like Tom Cruise, another Hollywood A-lister is currently in the UK filming for a blockbuster, and Harrison Ford made sure he was among the crowds at Silverstone for the Grand Prix. 

Fitness guru Joe Wicks, 34, was also spotted receiving a tour of the garages at Silverstone earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, more than 30,000 fans gathered to watch the Open Championship at Royal St George’s in Sandwich as golfers battled it out for the Claret Jug this week.

Collin Morikawa won the British Open on his links debut and became the first player to capture two different majors at the first attempt.

The 24-year-old American closed with a bogey-free, 4-under 66 Sunday for a two-shot victory over Jordan Spieth to follow up his victory at last year’s PGA Championship on debut, just 11 months ago 



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