Defending Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton took a lights to flag victory in Sunday’s British Grand Prix at the Silverstone circuit despite suffering a left front tyre failure and crossed the line 6 seconds ahead of Max Verstappen.
Hamilton goes into next weekend’s 70th Anniversary race at Silverstone with a 30 point lead in the championship and speaking following the race he said:
I have never experienced anything like that before. That last lap was one of the most challenging laps I have ever had. Up until that point, everything was going relatively smoothly, the tyres felt great and I was doing some management. When I heard Valtteri’s tyre had gone, I looked at mine and everything seemed fine, but I started to back off. Then, it just suddenly deflated down the straight. It was a heart-in-your-mouth feeling and then I was just trying to keep the speed up without damaging the car. Bono was giving me the gaps; I think it was 30 seconds at one stage, but it was coming down quite quickly and I was thinking ‘How far is it to the end of the lap?’. But we managed to get the car across the line. That last lap is definitely one to remember, I feel so grateful that I got it back and could secure the win. It was difficult standing up there on the podium without the crowd, but hopefully I did everyone proud who was supporting us from home
Valtteri Bottas endured a similar failure to Lewis Hamilton and went from second to finish the race in eleventh and speaking following the action he said:
It’s a really disappointing result for me. I got very unlucky with the puncture; everything was going OK until that point. I was trying to put the pressure on Lewis, but we knew it was going to be a long stint on the Hard tyre. Towards the end I was starting to get more and more vibrations on the front left. I didn’t see any debris or anything, so I reported the vibrations and started to manage the tyres, but then the tyre failed suddenly on the start/finish straight and I had to complete a full lap back to the pits which cost me a lot of time. I am sure there will be lots of learnings to take from this weekend, so we’ll take those and move onto the next weekend.
Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team Principal and CEO Toto Wolff said:
In the past, we have had some scrutiny for saying that having a fast car isn’t enough to cruise with a 1-2 finish into the sunset. And today showed how cruel motor racing can be. Valtteri lost a valuable second place for his Drivers’ Championship and the team lost valuable points in the Constructors’ Championship. At the same time, Lewis had enough of a gap to make it over the finish line in first place, but we were lucky that Red Bull pitted towards the end – if they hadn’t, what looked like a secure 1-2 finish would have ended up a 2-11. Therefore, we will continue to be sceptical, we know we have a fast car and a powerful engine, but we will not take anything for granted until we’ve crossed the finish line at each race weekend.
Lead engineer Andrew Shovlin said:
It’s very frustrating to lose a car in the final laps and Valtteri will be feeling that more than anyone today. The timing couldn’t have been worse as he was just braking for Turn 16, so he had to do the whole lap on three wheels dropping him out of the points at the end. With Lewis we were luckier; after Max decided to take a fresh set and go for fastest lap, Lewis had a lead of over thirty seconds when he got the puncture. Thankfully that was just enough for Lewis to hold on to the win. Despite our frustration at the way the race finished, we can be pleased with how we’ve worked here. The car had great pace in qualifying and the race and we were able to build gaps to the competition quite quickly today. Next week’s race will be a different challenge on softer tyres and in much hotter temperatures. That may not suit us based on what we’ve seen in the warmer conditions here and in Austria although we’re excited by the technical challenge that it creates and will work hard over the next few days to make sure we remain competitive.