Silverstone (United Kingdom) (AFP)
World Championship leader Lewis Hamilton survived a tense last-lap drama with a flat, shredded tire to claim a record-breaking seventh victory in Sunday’s British Grand Prix.
The six-time world champion led by featherlight and through two safety car interventions, before suffering a front left tire failure on his final lap, leaving him to heal his Mercedes at home with second-placed Max Verstappen at the pursuit of his Red Bull.
The Dutchman inherited second place when his Mercedes Hamilton teammate Valtteri Bottas, who was comfortably running in second for most of the competition, suffered the same problem, his left front delaminating and deflating on his penultimate round.
The Finn limped back to the pits and finished useless in 11th place as his rivals slowed down to preserve their rubber, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc taking third behind Verstappen ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and McLaren’s Lando Norris.
Norris’ teammate Carlos Sainz also suffered a puncture in the closing laps of an exciting race that saw him drop from fourth to 13th place.
Esteban Ocon finished sixth in the second Renault ahead of Pierre Gasly of Alpha Tauri, Alex Albon in the second Red Bull, Lance Stroll of Racing Point and quadruple champion Sebastian Vettel, for his final season with Ferrari.
Hamilton’s victory was the 87th of his career and moved him within four of Michael Schumacher’s record of 91.
“In the last laps I started to pull back and then on the last lap he just chickened out,” said Hamilton.
“It was heart in mouth. I almost didn’t go around the last two corners. ”
It was also Mercedes’ seventh victory in the last eight editions of the British Grand Prix.
In the drivers’ championship, Hamilton leads with 88 points after four races, a lead of 30 ahead of the hapless Bottas.
© 2020 AFP