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Hamilton surfs his way through to seventh British Grand Prix victory despite a late tyre scare

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Lewis Hamilton won a record seventh British Grand Prix in dramatic fashion. The six-time World Champion started first on the grid but Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas was ahead and threatened to the take the lead but Hamilton held off the attempt to go first in to turn one. He was all on his own until a tyre drama stuck.

He still managed to take his crippled, three wheeled car past the finish line to what was perhaps the most dramatic finishes of his career. His Mercedes teammate Bottas was close at second but the same tyre puncture made way for Max Verstappen to take the second place while Charles Leclerc came third.

This was also Charles’s second pole for this season. Bottas was just two and a half laps away to making it Mercedes one-two finish, eventually finished at 12th on the grid. Bottas and Hamilton opened a very comfortable lead and was unchallenged out in front.

Bottas never really threatened Hamilton, well of course it happened to be business as usual with the fastest Mercedes machines. Soon after Bottas had a tyre scare, Hamilton was asked to ease off a bit and to not go for the fastest lap so as to take pressure off his worn rubber, soon after fate stuck twice.

Hamilton’s front left suffered the same issue. Over two- thirds of the circuit still to be managed,  with pure skill and luck he controlled the car as the tyre rips apart completely across through the chequered flag just five seconds ahead of Max Verstappen. 

It was definitely heart in the mouth,” Hamilton said. “You could see the tyre was falling off the rim. I was just praying to get it round. I nearly didn’t do it, but thank God we did. I had never experienced anything like that on the last lap. My heart almost stopped.”

It was no little accomplishment and indicative of why the world champion has enjoyed such sustained success. This makes sure that yet another record has fallen to the British driver.  He adds one more victory in his home race than the previous best of six held by Alain Prost. He is only four behind Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 race wins, a tally which is most likely fall to him this season. With Bottas failing to score, Hamilton now has a 30-point lead over Bottas in a season that may run to just 15 races.

Meanwhile, with Max Verstappen having opted to pit a few laps from the end to take the soft rubber in an attempt to go for the fastest lap. He appropriately took the plunge positively as the two vehicles he was behind started shedding rubber. Without that final stop the win would have certainly been the Dutchman’s.  Max was informed of the leaders puncture. “Can I win this?” he radioed to his team. “If you get on with it,” came the laconic reply from Gianpiero Lambiase.

Team principal Christian Horner pronounced Hamilton was a “lucky boy”.  Having taken the fastest lap point and in a sport where man and machines are pushed to extremes, Lady Fortuna can make you smile or cry on any given day. “I don’t regret anything, we made the right decision,” he said. “You don’t often get punctures, they were deserved winners. I am not upset or disappointed and it is better to be second than third.” 

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz had been set to finish fourth, however his own last lap tyre issue saw him in the end return home with P13, permitting Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo to guarantee fourth, after a late pass on the sister McLaren of Lando Norris. 

Renault’s Esteban Ocon finished 6th, having had a pleasant time, a race-long fight with the Racing Point of Lance Stroll, with Pierre Gasly having delighted in a fine race to finish seventh for AlphaTauri.

Alex Albon completed eighth for Red Bull, having recuperated from a Lap 1 tussle with the Haas of Kevin Magnussen that saw him tumble to last. Kevin Magnussen hadn’t finished even one lap of the race, when he crashed into the Red Bull of Alex Albon at Club corner, which resulted in safety car being deployed.

Albon had the option to proceed, however vibrations on the tyre from the shunt constrained him to pit after racing continued on Lap 6 – while the stewards gave the Thai driver a five-second race time penalty for the incident he was a part of.  

Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel finished in the top 10, Vettel holding off a late charge structuring the recouping Mercedes of Bottas.

It had only been about six laps since the race resumed just when the safety car was called out again, with Daniil Kvyat having had to go through an alarming moment at the entry to Maggots, turning uncontrollably into the barriers and ripping the left-back corner off his AlphaTauri – Kvyat fortunately rising up out of the vehicle without any outside help before indignantly driving a cameraman away.

The safety car ensured that almost all the drivers had their rubbers changed to the hard compound, over the course of lap 13 and 14. 

Meanwhile, Nico Hulkenberg fans were left baffled, after the German couldn’t take the start when a technical issue was found on the RP20 that he’d taken over from Sergio Perez on Friday. 

Most of the race anyway had been a nearly a masterclass exhibition of Mercedes prevalence this season. The couple put four seconds on Verstappen by lap eight, while for Ferrari the gap they face this season was distinctly delineated. Charles Leclerc, who finished third, was 12 seconds off the lead with only 10 laps finished. Significantly separated Hamilton had two seconds on his partner and was altogether peaceful driving. Their race to the finish line looked untroubled until those final moments. The way Hamilton limped his way to the line were spectacular, but Mercedes predominance up to that point was just as forebodingly attractive.

POS NO DRIVER CAR LAPS TIME/RETIRED PTS
1 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 52 1:28:01.283 25
2 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING HONDA 52 +5.856s 19
3 16 Charles Leclerc FERRARI 52 +18.474s 15
4 3 Daniel Ricciardo RENAULT 52 +19.650s 12
5 4 Lando Norris MCLAREN RENAULT 52 +22.277s 10
6 31 Esteban Ocon RENAULT 52 +26.937s 8
7 10 Pierre Gasly ALPHATAURI HONDA 52 +31.188s 6
8 23 Alexander Albon RED BULL RACING HONDA 52 +32.670s 4
9 18 Lance Stroll RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES 52 +37.311s 2
10 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 52 +41.857s 1
11 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 52 +42.167s 0
12 63 George Russell WILLIAMS MERCEDES 52 +52.004s 0
13 55 Carlos Sainz MCLAREN RENAULT 52 +53.370s 0
14 99 Antonio Giovinazzi ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 52 +54.205s 0
15 6 Nicholas Latifi WILLIAMS MERCEDES 52 +54.549s 0
16 8 Romain Grosjean HAAS FERRARI 52 +55.050s 0
17 7 Kimi Räikkönen ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 51 +1 lap 0
NC 26 Daniil Kvyat ALPHATAURI HONDA 11 DNF 0
NC 20 Kevin Magnussen HAAS FERRARI 1 DNF 0
NC 27 Nico Hulkenberg RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES 0 DNS 0

Also Read: F1: Lewis Hamilton breaks yet another Schumacher record as Mercedes sweep Spanish GP front row

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