BRITISH GP – Lewis Hamilton takes a dramatic seventh home win despite tyre failure on final lap

Testing & Race Reports

Lewis Hamilton has taken a dramatic seventh home win after dragging his car home with a tyre failure with a lap to go to win the British Grand Prix. The six-times champion and his Mercedes looked unstoppable building a nineteen second lead before the tyre failure.

Mercedes had looked in control of the race until the tyre issues, Hamilton luckily had an over a ten second lead over Red Bull’s Max Verstappen which was enough for him to secure victory. It had looked as Mercedes were on course for another one-two finish, until the tyre failure.

The German team 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 gave away and he was forced to limp home and take the flag with the tyre barely still attached to his car.

Verstappen pitted when Bottas’s failure happened, the Dutchman was then able to close rapidly on Hamilton but it was not enough to allow him to chase down the Englishman and pass. There will now be questions about Pirelli’s decision to bring softer tyres to next weekends race.

Hamilton said, “The tyres looked great. Valtteri was really pushing incredibly hard. I was doing some management of tyre, he looked like he wasn’t doing any, so when I heard that his tyre went I was just looking at mine and everything seemed fine.”

“Just driving to keep the speed off, oh my god, I was just praying to get around and not be too slow. I nearly didn’t get around the last few corners.”

Verstappen added, “The tyres didn’t look great with 10 laps to go and I was already on the radio. Then Valtteri got a puncture so I came on the radio and said I’m going to back it out. Then, of course, they boxed me to go for the fastest lap.”

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

Mercedes opted to try and do over forty laps on the tyres which failed in the closing stages. The decision to stop came following a huge crash for the Alpha Tauri of Daniil Kvyat on lap sixteen through the high-speed Maggots and Becketts corners. Kvyat emerged from the wreck unharmed.

It appeared as if the Russian suffered some kind of tyre failure, which saw him spin into the wall wrecking his Alpha Tauri but he managed to emerge from the incident unharmed.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was third the Monacan once again not having the pace to challenge the Mercedes, the pace of the Mercedes was so quick that he still remained thirty seconds off the pace despite the tyre failures. Leclerc passed Daniel Ricciardo in the closing stage to take fourth, which became third when Bottas’s tyre failed.

Ricciardo gained fourth after the McLaren of Carlos Sainz, who was having a good decent race also suffered a tyre failure which dropped him down to fourteenth, that promoted his teammate Lando Norris up to fifth. As expected the midfield battle was between the McLaren and Renault, with Norris having the edge early on before losing out.

Ricciardo’s teammate Esteban Ocon was sixth behind the McLaren. Ocon lead home a battle for what would become seventh between himself, Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll. Alex Albon was eighth on the road but was handed a five-second penalty for a collision with Kevin Magnussen.

It wasn’t a perfect afternoon for Albon, the incident happened when he appeared to go for a move down the inside of Vale when Magnussen went to try and pass the Red Bull. That left him behind following the second safety car.

Stroll was ninth, finishing ahead of the second Ferrari of Vettel. Vettel was under pressure from Bottas as he tried to salvage some points from his tyre failure, but it wasn’t enough to get himself into the points despite his attempts.

Renault has again launched a protest against Racing Point over the similarities with the 2019 championship-winning Mercedes W10. The protest also launched at the Styrian and Hungarian Grand Prix was cantered on the legality of the RP20’s brake ducts.

A ruling will not be made until after next weekend’s Anniversary Grand Prix, so is likely to be adjourned until then.

George Russell was twelfth ahead of the McLaren of Sainz, the Spaniard also having his own tyre failure after running for much of the race in fifth. Like Bottas the failure proved costly dropping him down to thirteenth, these tyre failures will pose questions for Pirelli as to whether its right to bring the C2, C3 and C4 compounds to next weekends race.

Antonio Giovinazzi was fourteenth ahead of the second Williams of Nicolas Latifi, Romain Grosjean was sixteenth. The Haas driver looked for most of the race to be in the points, before losing out on strategy and made questionable defence against Sainz at Stowe.

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

Nico Hulkenberg in what could be his last Grand Prix failed to start the race because of power unit problems. It is uncertain whether Sergio Perez will be able to race next weekend after testing positive for Coronavirus on Thursday.

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Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.