Hamilton gets puncture on last lap and yet wins British Grand Prix

Home crowd favourite Lewis Hamilton achieved his third consecutive victory this season and his seventh in the British Grand Prix despite taking the chequered flag with three wheels.

The Mercedes drivers had looked completely at ease for the majority of the race at Silverstone, which was disrupted twice early on after separate heavy crashes for Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat, but their fortunes were turned around dramatically with just over two laps to go.

Both Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas had appeared to pick up blisters despite their commanding lead over Max Verstappen, and Bottas’s left-front tyre failed at the start of lap 50 of 52, which meant he had to go around slowly to the pits and went from second to scoring no points.

Mercedes warned Hamilton not to risk trying to get the fastest lap on the final tour, but as he ran into Luffield for the final time his own left-front tyre gave away and he was forced to limp home and take the flag with the tyre barely still attached to his car.

Verstappen had pitted after Bottas’s puncture and that meant he had a 30 seconds gap to close to Hamilton over the second half of the final tour and although he closed in rapidly, Hamilton held to extend his record of British Grand Prix wins to seven.

At the start, Bottas had appeared to make a better getaway from second on the grid and drew alongside Hamilton approaching the first corner, but the world champion swept ahead into the right-hander and moved clear in the lead.

The pack battle for position behind the Mercedes throughout the first lap, with Daniel Ricciardo putting a bold move on Lando Norris at Copse to take sixth the standout overtake, but the race was suspended a few moments later.

Kevin Magnussen had moved up from his P14 grid spot but he clipped the kerb at the first apex of Club hard and lost momentum, which meant Alex Albon moved to his inside and they clashed at the second apex.

The Haas was pitched into a high-speed spin and he hit the barriers at the exit of the final corner, ripping the left-front from his car, and bouncing back into the gravel, with the safety car called into action so it could be recovered.

The race restarted on lap six of 52, with Hamilton immediately leaping clear again out front.

He pulled cleared of DRS range to Bottas over the next few laps, but just as Bottas looked to be stabilising the gap the race was neutralised again when Daniil Kvyat crashed hard into the barriers at Becketts.

The AlphaTauri driver lost control of the rear of his car as he ran through the preceding Maggots ultra-high-speed left, as a result of a possible right-rear puncture, and he then slammed into the outside wall, causing massive damage to his chassis, with debris also strewn over the track.

Once Kvyat’s wreckage had been cleared, the race resumed on lap 19, Hamilton again immediately led Bottas and Verstappen clear of the midfield.

The leaders then swiftly dropped the Red Bull and set about exchanging the fastest lap over the next phase of the race, with the Mercedes drivers the only racers able to lap in the one minute, 30 seconds bracket.

Verstappen continued faded but did manage to get into the one minute, 29 seconds, still a chunk after the leaders had done so.

The gap between Hamilton and Bottas fluctuated by remained over a second for much of the next 20 laps after the restart, but as the race approached its final ten laps Hamilton set a string of fastest laps to move over two seconds clear.

Verstappen grabbed the fastest lap accolade on lap 41, but by this point he was over ten seconds behind Hamilton, despite the tyres on both Mercedes cars looking less than ideal.

But Hamilton continued to extend his lead over Bottas beyond three seconds, and the gap steadily grew as the Mercedes drivers entered the early stages of their tyre dramas.

Bottas was just over seven seconds adrift with five laps to go, with the final tours dominated by the sensational developments for the leaders.

Charles Leclerc finished third after a lonely race well adrift of Verstappen in his Ferrari, with Daniel Ricciardo taking fourth after McLaren’s Carlos Sainz suffered the same front-left tyre drama as the Mercedes cars on the penultimate lap.

Lando Norris had run ahead of Ricciardo for much of the race but lost out late-on, and he came home fifth ahead of Esteban Ocon.

Pierre Gasly battled by Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll to take what became seventh for AlphaTauri, while Albon, who was given a five-second penalty for the incident with Magnussen, recovered to eighth after completing a two-stopper.

Stroll was ninth for Racing Point, with Vettel just getting home in tenth ahead of the charging Bottas at the final corner.

Sainz ended up P13 after his late tyre woe, with Romain Grosjean P16 for Haas after a starting and controversial drive for Haas.

Grosjean did not pit under the second safety car, which boosted him up to fifth and although he faded once his strategy shook he held a high place for a long time.

But his defence against Sainz into Stowe earned him a black-and-white warning flag, and he also appeared to move late when battling Ricciardo into Brooklands.

Kimi Raikkonen brought up the rear of the field for Alfa Romeo after his suffered front wing damage shortly before the Mercedes tyre drama occurred in the final laps.

So a dramatic end to the British Grand Prix with the Mercedes drivers suffering punctures in the final stages of the race. And yet, thanks to the pace of Lewis Hamilton, he was able to drag the three-wheeled car to the finishing line in first.

British Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:28:01.283
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 5.856
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 18.474
4 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 19.650
5 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 22.277
6 Esteban Ocon Renault 26.937
7 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 31.188
8 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 32.670
9 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 37.311
10 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 41.857
11 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 42.167
12 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 52.004
13 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 53.370
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 54.205
15 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 54.549
16 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 55.050
17 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari +1 lap
18 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda –
19 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari –
20 Nico Hulkenberg Racing Point-Mercedes –

Hamilton flys to British Grand Prix pole

Defending champion and home fans favourite Lewis Hamilton achieved his seventh British Grand Prix pole position as he beat teammate Valtteri Bottas in a qualifying session dominated by Mercedes.

Max Verstappen will start third for Red Bull, while Nico Hulkenberg was knocked out in Q2 – as was Alex Albon for the second race in a row – on his Formula 1 qualifying return in place of Sergio Perez at Racing Point.

Hamilton spun his Mercedes at the exit of Luffield on his first run on medium tyres in Q2, scattering gravel across the track, which caused the middle segment of qualifying to be red flag.

The world champion rejoined on the same medium rubber – which he, Bottas, Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Lance Stroll will start the race on – but ended up behind his teammate as Q2 ended.

But Hamilton hit back immediately with a one minute, 24.616 seconds on the first runs in Q3, with Bottas trailing by 0.150 seconds and Verstappen over a second adrift in third.

Bottas then set an identical time on the final runs, but Hamilton had already moved a further 0.313 seconds clear with a one minute, 24.303 seconds to seal his seventh pole at Silverstone.

Verstappen improved his personal best but stayed third, still over a second behind Hamilton.

Leclerc finished as the lead Ferrari in fourth, ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and Lance Stroll, who did not improve on his final run in Q3.

Carlos Sainz took seventh ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon, with Sebastian Vettel rounding out the top ten.

Vettel will start on softs as he did not improve his best time in Q3 after switching to the more-durable mediums.

Leclerc, Stroll and Ricciardo are under investigation for a pitlane incident at the start of Q3 where the Ferrari was released into the path of the Racing Point, which braked hard and Ricciardo nipped by on the inside.

Pierre Gasly just missed out on a second consecutive Q3 appearance as he set an identical time to Stroll – a one minute, 26.501 seconds – in the final seconds of Q3, but because the Racing Point’s time came from his first run on the medium tyres before the red flag the AlphaTauri ended up P11 and out.

Albon took P12 as he was knocked out in Q2 for the second race in a row, which followed his free practice session 2 crash and missing most of final practice to an electrical problem, which required Red Bull to fit a new energy store on his RB16.

He set a personal best time after switching from the mediums to softs for his final run but could not do enough to break into the top ten.

Nico Hulkenberg will start his F1 race return from P13 as like Albon he could not gain enough after switching from the mediums to the softs for his final Q2 run.

Daniil Kvyat finished P14 but will drop five places on the grid for taking a new gearbox, while George Russell again reached Q2 but faces a post-qualifying investigation for failing to slow for yellow flags in Q1.

In Q1, Magnussen ended up 16th as he could not find a way to break into the one minute, 26 seconds barrier, with Alfa Romeo pair Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen lining up behind him on the grid.

Romain Grosjean ended up P19 in the second Haas, but he lost his best lap of Q1 (which was topped by Bottas), a one minute, 27.317 seconds for a track limits infringement at Copse.

Nicholas Latifi finished last in Q1 after spinning his Williams on his final flying lap.

Russell came across the incident at the exit of Luffield shortly after Latifi had lost the rear of his FW43 as he accelerated away from the long-speed, slow right-hander and gone backwards into the gravel on the outside.

Russell said over his team radio that he “definitely backed off” and he was “well in control”.

So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton with this pole at the home of motor racing. The speed advantage of the Mercedes W11 over the rest is incredible. Hopefully a closer competition on race day.

British Grand Prix, qualifying positions:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:24.303
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:24.616
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:25.325
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:25.427
5 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1:25.782
6 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1:25.839
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1:25.965
8 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:26.009
9 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:26.209
10 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:26.339
11 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1:26.501
12 Alex Albon Red Bull Racing-Honda 1:26.545
13 Nico Hulkenberg Racing Point-Mercedes 1:26.566
14 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:27.092
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1:27.158
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:27.164
17 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:27.366
18 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1:27.643
19 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1:26.744
20 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1:27.705