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 –

4 thoughts to “Hamilton gets puncture on last lap and yet wins British Grand Prix”

  1. British Grand Prix race review as reported by Formula1.com.

    An incredible final few laps of the 2020 British Grand Prix saw Lewis Hamilton claim the seventh and possibly most dramatic Silverstone win of his career, despite his left-front tyre letting go with half a lap still to go.

    Hamilton and team mate Valtteri Bottas had been formation flying for 50 of the 52 laps at Silverstone until tyre drama struck. Second-placed man Bottas was the first to suffer as his tyre deflated on Lap 50, costing him second place, before on the very last lap, Hamilton suffered his own issue.

    However, with Max Verstappen having opted to pit a few laps from the end to try and claim fastest lap, Hamilton had enough time in hand to just cross the line first, five seconds ahead of Verstappen and the third placed Ferrari of Charles Leclerc.

    McLaren’s Carlos Sainz had been set to finish fourth, but his own last lap tyre issue saw him eventually come home P13, allowing Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo to claim fourth, following a late pass on the sister McLaren of Lando Norris.

    Renault’s Esteban Ocon finished sixth, having enjoyed a race-long battle with the Racing Point of Lance Stroll, with Pierre Gasly having enjoyed a fine race to finish seventh for AlphaTauri.

    Alex Albon finished eighth for Red Bull, having recovered from a Lap 1 tussle with the Haas of Kevin Magnussen that saw him fall to last, while Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel rounded out the top 10, Vettel holding off a late charge form the recovering Mercedes of Bottas.

    For 95% of the British Grand Prix, it looked as though Mercedes would enjoy a simple lollop to the finishing line.

    Bottas had initially looked to have the better start of the two Mercedes drivers from P2 when the five lights went out, but once Hamilton had got into the second phase of his getaway, he was able to build up his lead as they headed into the Village complex at Turn 3.

    Behind, Charles Leclerc appeared to have made it ahead of the Red Bull of Verstappen after the Dutch driver was slightly baulked by Bottas going into Village, but some perfect placing from Verstappen through the complex allowed him to get back in front of the Monegasque to retain third.

    Carlos Sainz was not wanting to hang around on Lap 1, making a brilliant move around team mate Lando Norris stick around the outside of Luffield for fifth, while Daniel Ricciardo – who had made it past the Racing Point of Lance Stroll – then followed the Spaniard through around Copse, demoting Norris from fifth to seventh by the end of Lap 1, as Sebastian Vettel behind ran off the track at the same corner while fighting the Renault of Esteban Ocon

    And how was Nico Hulkenberg coping with his F1 racing return? He wasn’t, quite simply, after an issue was discovered on his Racing Point RP20, meaning he couldn’t even take the start.

    Haas’ Kevin Magnussen hadn’t even completed one lap of the race, meanwhile, when he clanged into the Red Bull of Alex Albon at Club corner, with the Dane careening into the gravel and bringing out the Safety Car. Albon was able to continue, but vibrations on the tyre from the shunt forced him to pit after racing resumed on Lap 6 – while the stewards handed the Thai driver a five-second race time penalty for his part in the incident.

    Hamilton managed that restart to perfection, quickly building a 1.5s buffer over Bottas behind, with Verstappen holding third and easily gapping Leclerc, but unable to quite hold onto the coat-tails of the rampant Mercs. Ocon was keen to get up the order when the Safety Car pitted and tried a move on his pal Stroll into Stowe, with Stroll bravely pinching across the Frenchman’s line and holding onto his eighth place.

    The race had been under green flag conditions for just half a dozen laps when the Safety Car was called out again, with Daniil Kvyat having endured a scary moment at the entry to Maggots, spinning wildly into the barriers and ripping the left-rear corner off his AlphaTauri – Kvyat fortunately emerging from the car under his own steam before angrily pushing a cameraman away.

    The Safety Car allowed the whole field to pit for hard tyres over the course of Laps 13 and 14, barring Haas’ Romain Grosjean, with the American team rolling the dice as they did in Hungary, and meaning that when the racing got under way again on Lap 19, the French driver was P5, albeit on old medium tyres. Ocon was 11th, meanwhile, having dropped there from ninth after being held up in the pits behind team mate Ricciardo.

    Ocon immediately made up one place at the restart at least, moving past Vettel, while Ricciardo was attacking Sainz for P6 when he was caught out by Norris, who aped Sainz’s move around the outside of the Australian around Luffield to demote Ricciardo to P8 – before nearly throwing it away when he ran off at Copse while trying to squeeze pass Sainz for good measure.

    It was status quo at the front, Hamilton with a 2s gap over Bottas by the halfway point on Lap 26, with Verstappen a further 5s back and Leclerc another 9s adrift – while McLaren drivers Sainz and Norris had moved ahead of Grosjean into P5 and P6, Grosjean receiving a black and white flag for an “unsportsmanlike” jink on Sainz when the Spaniard tried to pass him at Stowe.

    Grosjean held on well for another 14 laps before both Ricciardo and Stroll passed him on Lap 36 – the stewards noting another defensive move from Grosjean on Ricciardo that the Australian termed “sketchy” – before Grosjean pitted for hard tyres and rejoined last, while Lap 38 saw Vettel’s poor weekend continue as Pierre Gasly demoted him to P11.

    Ten laps from the end and some nerves started to creep into the Mercedes camp, with Hamilton and Bottas’ hard tyres both sporting visible blisters on the front-lefts, while Verstappen had done a fine job to stay within 10s of Bottas, having built up his own near-half minute gap over Leclerc.

    With two laps to go, though, Mercedes looked set to eke out the tyre life, but then the cameras picked up the astonishing sight of Bottas limping, his tyre having let go at Turn 3 on Lap 50, with nearly a full lap for him to recover, his podium position in tatters. Verstappen darted into the pits for an effectively free pit stop to change to softs and try and claim fastest lap, and was able to nip through for second as Bottas tumbled down the order before eventually pitting.

    Mercedes warned Hamilton off going for fastest lap as he entered the final lap of the race before, unbelievably, Hamilton’s own front-left went with half a tour still to go. As Hamilton ambled around Copse, Verstappen was informed of the leader’s puncture. “Can I win this?” he radioed to his team. “If you get on with it,” came the laconic reply from Gianpiero Lambiase.

    He did get on with it – but despite setting the fastest lap, he was six seconds too late, as Hamilton amazingly held on for victory – his seventh at Silverstone – with Verstappen’s late pit stop having effectively cost him what would have been an easy win, had his own tyres lasted

    The drama also allowed Charles Leclerc to take his second podium of the year in third, while Carlos Sainz was all set to take fourth, which would have been his best result of the year. That was until Sainz, who’d been complaining of vibrations in the latter stages of the race, suffered his own tyre issues, eventually falling to 13th at the flag, two places down on Bottas, who’d desperately tried to pip Vettel for the final points-paying position on the final lap.

    A late move from Ricciardo on Norris saw him be the one to take fourth, his own best result since Monza last year, Ricciardo having benefitted from Norris being held up by his slowing McLaren team mate Sainz to nab the place, as Norris finished fifth.

    Ocon had eventually made it past Stroll after a near-race long battle between the pair – during which Stroll was handed his own black and white flag for moving under braking – while Ocon’s old karting frenemy Pierre Gasly enjoyed a stellar final part of the Grand Prix as he roared to seventh by the flag, having picked off Vettel and Stroll in the final laps.

    He’ll also have taken some pride from holding off the fast-recovering Albon – the man who replaced him at Red Bull last year – Albon ending up eighth ahead of Stroll – who failed to demonstrate Racing Point’s strong race pace on Sunday – and Vettel.

    So, it’s been a thrilling start to the 2020 season – but we get the feeling that the conclusion to the 2020 British Grand Prix is one that will be talked about for many, many years to come.

  2. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton admitted that his “heart nearly stopped” after puncture. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Lewis Hamilton says his “heart nearly stopped” after holding on for a remarkable British Grand Prix victory despite suffering a puncture on the final lap of the race.

    Hamilton led every lap from pole position at Silverstone, keeping Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas at bay throughout the race.

    Bottas suffered a front-left puncture with three laps to go, prompting Red Bull to pit Max Verstappen for a set of soft tyres in a bid to pick up the fastest lap bonus point.

    It gave Hamilton a lead of over 32 seconds entering the final lap, which proved crucial when the Briton also suffered a front-left puncture exiting Luffield.

    Hamilton crawled home on three fully-inflated wheels, eventually crossing the line 5.8 seconds clear of Verstappen to claim a remarkable British Grand Prix victory.

    “Up until that last lap, everything was relatively smooth sailing,” said Hamilton.

    “The tyres felt great. Valtteri was really pushing incredibly hard, and I was doing some management of that tyre and he looked like he wasn’t doing any.

    “When I heard that his tyre went I was just looking at mine and everything seemed fine. The car was still turning. No problem. So I was thinking maybe it’s OK.

    “Those last few laps, I started to back off and then down the straight, it just deflated. I just noticed the shape just shift a little bit. That was definitely a heart-in-the-mouth kind of feeling, because I wasn’t quite sure if it had gone down until I hit the brakes, and you could see the tyre was falling off the rim.

    “Then just driving it, trying to keep the speed up, because sometimes it will fly off and break the wing and all these different things. Oh my God, I was just praying to try and get around and not be too slow.

    “I nearly didn’t get around the last two corners, but thank God we did. [I] really owe it to the team. I think ultimately maybe we should have stopped towards the end once we saw the delaminations.”

    Hamilton’s race engineer Pete Bonnington kept him updated on the gap to Verstappen throughout the final lap, and was heard celebrating once his driver had crossed the line.

    Hamilton replied: “Shit that was close” after clinching his seventh British Grand Prix victory, extending his record for the most wins at Silverstone.

    Despite the late drama, Hamilton said that he remained really calm as Bonnington kept him updated on the gap behind, allowing him to focus on dragging the car home.

    “You may or may not be surprised, but I was really chilled for some reason at the end,” Hamilton said.

    “Bono was giving me the the information of the gap. I think it was 30 seconds at one stage and it was coming down quite quickly, and in my mind I’m thinking ‘OK, how far is it to the end of the lap?’

    “But the car seemed to turn okay through Maggots and Becketts, thankfully. I got to [Turn] 15 and that’s where it really was a bit of a struggle, and I could hear the gap coming down from 19 to 10.

    “So I thought I would just give it full gas out of 15 down to 16, and then the thing wasn’t stopping. I got to the corner, a lot of understeer and I heard him go ‘9, 8, 7’ – and I was like, just get back on the power and try to get the thing to turn.

    “Oh my god. I’ve definitely never experienced anything like that on the last lap. And my heart definitely probably nearly stopped.

    “I think that’s probably how cool I was, because my heart nearly stopped.”

  3. Max Verstappen feels “lucky and unlucky” after last-lap dramas thanks to the Mercedes punctures. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Red Bull Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen called himself “lucky and unlucky” after he picked up second place in the British Grand Prix.

    Having run third throughout the race, Verstappen moved into second on lap 50 when Valtteri Bottas slowed with a front-tyre failure.

    With no threat from behind, the Red Bull driver immediately pitted for fresh tyres so he could have a shot at the fastest lap point on the 52nd and final lap.

    However, on that last lap Lewis Hamilton suffered a similar failure to Bottas, and also slowed.

    The Mercedes driver managed to bring his car safely home and Verstappen crossed the line just 5.6 seconds behind.

    Had he not pitted for new tyres, the Dutchman would have won the race.

    Verstappen initially made his frustration clear on the radio, saying “For f**k’s sake,” but he quickly calmed down and recognised that it had been a good outcome, telling his team: “We did good, not bad, good points, good podium.”

    He then added: “We did well. Just, shit! We should be happy with second, and when you have this… Anyway, it’s still good.”

    In the post-race interviews Verstappen repeated that he was happy with second place.

    “I mean, it’s lucky and unlucky, you know,” he said. “They [Mercedes] were of course in the race too quick.

    “And yeah, the tyres at one point they didn’t look great, with like 10 laps ago, so I was already on the radio, ‘Guys, you know, the right front doesn’t look very pretty.’

    “Then of course Valtteri got a puncture. I came on to the radio like I’m gonna back it out. Then they boxed me to go for the fastest lap.

    And then of course, unfortunately Lewis got a puncture himself. But you know, I’m very happy with second. it’s a very good result for us again.”

    Verstappen added: “It was pretty lonely. I was just trying to manage my pace, trying to look after the tyres.”

  4. Red Bull Formula 1 boss Christian Horner says there was “no guarantee” Max Verstappen would have made it to the end of the British Grand Prix without his late stop.

    Verstappen was promoted to second when Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas suffered a front left puncture with three laps to go on Sunday at Silverstone.

    Given a pitstop’s advantage over third-placed Charles Leclerc, Verstappen pitted for soft tyres on the penultimate lap in a bid to gain a point for fastest lap.

    This gave leader Lewis Hamilton a lead of over 30 seconds, which proved crucial when his front left tyre failed halfway around the final lap.

    The Mercedes driver miraculously made it to the chequered flag 5.8s ahead of Verstappen – the Red Bull driver’s stop seemingly costing him victory.

    But Horner says there was no guarantee Verstappen wouldn’t have suffered the same fate as the Mercedes duo, revealing the hard tyre which came off the Red Bull at the late stop had “a lot of cuts in it”.

    “We were particularly concerned with Valtteri getting that puncture, because Max had reported big vibrations as well,” Horner told Channel 4.

    “So we elected to make the pitstop and the tyre that’s actually come off the car, it’s got a lot of cuts in it as well.

    “So, it’s no guarantee he [Verstappen] would have got to the end of the race.

    “So, while it feels we missed out a bit with Lewis’ luck at the end there, if we had have stayed out, there’s no guarantee that we would have gone around the lap without picking up a puncture.

    “So, I think we just have to be grateful for what we’ve benefited from Bottas, but [we] feel a little bit unlucky.

    “Lewis’ luck rolls with him at the moment, that we missed out on the victory. But, congratulations to them. They had a very dominant car today.”

    The 2013 British GP was blighted by tyre failures, with Hamilton losing victory because of a rear failure. The actual construction of the tyre was deemed the cause of those failures.

    Numerous drivers visibly suffered blistering on their hard tyres later in the race, which Horner says makes the rubber “vulnerable”.

    “I think you can see the tyres started to pick up some blistering and I think once they get exposed, any kind of debris on the track can puncture the tyre quite easily,” he added.

    “So, once they get that band [of blistering], you are quite vulnerable.

    “And of course, there was a few incidents today. Maybe [because of] a bit of debris out on track and, there’s three or four cars I think had the punctures at the end there.

    “So, we got the fastest lap, we got the second place.

    “Disappointing to miss out on a victory. But I think we’d have taken that before the race.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

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