World championship chief Lewis Hamilton survived a tense final lap drama with a deflated and shredded tyre to clinch a report seventh victory in Sunday’s British Grand Prix, claiming “my heart almost stopped”. The six-time world champion led from lights to flag, and thru two Safety Car interventions, earlier than he suffered a entrance left tyre failure on his last lap, leaving him to nurse his Mercedes house with second-placed Max Verstappen in scorching pursuit in his Red Bull.
He completed 5.9 seconds behind.
The Dutchman had inherited second when Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, working comfortably in second for many of the contest, was hit by the identical drawback, his front-left delaminating and deflating on his penultimate lap.
The Finn limped again to the pits and completed pointless in 11th place whereas his rivals slowed to protect their rubber, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc taking third place behind Verstappen forward of Daniel Ricciardo of Renault and Lando Norris of McLaren.
Hamilton’s victory was the 87th of his profession and moved him inside 4 of Michael Schumacher’s report of 91.
Norris’s team-mate Carlos Sainz was additionally a puncture sufferer within the closing laps of an thrilling race that noticed him fall from fourth to 13th.
Esteban Ocon completed sixth within the second Renault forward of Pierre Gasly of Alpha Tauri, Alex Albon within the second Red Bull, Lance Stroll of Racing Point and four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, in his last season with Ferrari.
“In the last few laps, I started to back off and then on the last lap, it just deflated,” mentioned Hamilton.
‘Heart within the mouth’
“It was heart in the mouth. I nearly didn’t get round the last two corners. I was managing it and praying to get round and not be too slow.
“I’ve positively by no means skilled something like that on the final lap and my coronary heart positively practically stopped.”
In the drivers championship, he leads with 88 points after four races, a lead of 30 ahead of the luckless Bottas.
“It was fortunate and unfortunate for us,” said Verstappen.
“The Mercedes have been too fast. The tyres did not look nice with 10 laps to go after which Valtteri acquired a puncture and so they boxed me to go for quickest lap… Second is an efficient consequence.”
Leclerc said: “It was a tough race – as quickly as I heard Valtteri had a tyre drawback, I slowed down quite a bit. We took our alternatives.”
On another bright, but windy day, Hamilton overcame an imperfect start from his 91st pole position and record seventh in Britain.
He led as he pulled clear before a final corner collision, on the opening lap, involving Kevin Magnussen and the luckless Albon led to the first deployment of a Safety Car.
The Dane’s Haas car was on the outside of Albon’s Red Bull, with the Thai driver refusing to concede, when they crashed and Magnussen spun into a gravel trap, his front left wheel smashing off in the barriers.
The stewards blamed Albon and gave him a five-second penalty.
The Safety Car led the field for five laps before handing back to Hamilton who stayed in control until lap 13 when Daniil Kvyat suffered a right rear puncture and crashed heavily at Maggots, where both rear wheels smashed off his Alpha Tauri.
He was unhurt, but a second Safety Car was required for five laps while debris was cleared.
This reduced the field to 17, Nico Hulkenberg having failed to start on his dramatic return, with Racing Point, as stand-in for coronavirus victim Sergio Perez.
The interruptions did nothing to halt Mercedes’ progress at the front, Hamilton and Bottas pulling clear of Verstappen with some ease.
By lap 30, the gap was eight seconds with Leclerc 14 seconds adrift.
Behind them, Grosjean and Sainz were engaged in a fierce battle for fifth, which saw the Frenchman weaving to resist at Brooklands.
The Frenchman continued his aggressive approach, however, in a duel with Ricciardo.
It was duly noted by the stewards as more “shifting beneath braking”. Ricciardo called it “sketchy”.
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