With Hamilton so far ahead, Verstappen changed his tire in an effort to gain an extra point for the fastest lap, but that pit stop ultimately cost him the win because Hamilton’s left-forward shredded with a half -turn to do. Verstappen absorbed most of the 25-second gap but ran out of time.
“I certainly haven’t experienced anything like it. I thought my heart was going to stop, ”Hamilton said. Until this last lap, everything was relatively smooth. When I heard his (Bottas tire) go off I looked at mine and it seemed to be okay. ”
Charles Leclerc finished third for Ferrari with Daniel Ricciardo fourth for Renault improvement and British driver Lando Norris fifth for McLaren.
“It was a very delicate race,” said Leclerc after his second podium of the season. “I’m very happy with the way I handled the tires from start to finish.”
When his tire melted, Bottas had to come back for a tire change and gave up the points in 11th place and 30 points behind Hamilton in the title race after four races.
Quadruple F1 champion Sebastian Vettel placed 10th and failed to enter the top five for his worst start to the season since 2008.
Lance Stroll of Montreal was ninth while Nicholas Latifi of Toronto was 15th.
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. also suffered a puncture on the last breath and fell to 13th overall.
Haas rider Kevin Magnussen and AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat are both unharmed after falling early in the 52-lap race.
There is another race at Silverstone next Sunday, where Pirelli could change their tire selection.
Before the race, riders again wore black T-shirts with the inscription “End Racism” as part of an ongoing campaign. This time it was better coordinated than the disorganized scenes of two weeks ago in Hungary that angered Hamilton.
They stood behind an “End Racism” message written on the grid, and then 13 of the 20 drivers took a knee, removing their masks at the same time. The other seven remained standing behind them.
“Thank you for the statement of support to end racism in the world,” it was said aloud.
Hamilton set a track record and earned a 91st career pole and seventh record at Silverstone on Saturday. Bottas qualified second ahead of Verstappen, who was competing in his 106th GP to tie his father Jos Verstappen’s tally. Jos Verstappen was Schumacher’s teammate at Benetton in the 1990s.
Nico Hülkenberg’s race was over before it started because the mechanics couldn’t prepare his car due to an engine block problem. He was a last-minute replacement for Sergio Perez, who is in quarantine after testing positive for coronavirus.
“It’s so surreal,” Hulkenberg said.
At the start, Bottas came off the line better than Hamilton but held back in the first corner when he had a chance to pass, while Leclerc jumped on Verstappen only for Verstappen to catch him right away.
Magnussen came out in the second round after Alexander Albon’s contact with Red Bull sent him slipping through the gravel. Magnussen’s left front tire came off and the front spoiler was damaged. The safety car went out for three laps with the track clear, while the marshals gave Albon a five-second penalty for causing the incident.
The safety car was again pulled out on lap 13 for a heavier collision, after Kvyat left the track at 300 km / h (186 mph), sliding back and sideways in the crash barriers. Mercedes took the opportunity to pit the two drivers against new tires on the next lap, while other drivers followed suit.
Halfway through the race Hamilton led Bottas by around two seconds and the British driver comfortably extended his lead as another Mercedes 1-2 finish looked certain.
But then Bottas’ tire collapsed and – perhaps assuming Hamilton’s wouldn’t – Red Bull ultimately made the wrong call to get an extra point rather than relying on Verstappen to catch Hamilton in. similar accident case.
“You could see (the tire) falling off the rim,” said Hamilton. “I was just praying to move around and not be too slow. I didn’t think I could get through the last two corners.
As Hamilton limped down the line, Verstappen loomed behind him.
A few hundred more yards and the victory would have been hers.
“It was good luck and bad luck,” Verstappen said. “But the second is a good result. ”
Verstappen is just six points behind Bottas, whose title hopes already seem slim.
As he was last season, Verstappen appears to be the only driver capable of truly challenging Hamilton.
But he needs a faster car to do it.
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