Hamilton's "heart nearly stopped" after puncture

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's "heart nearly stopped" after puncture

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."

shares
comments

Related video

2020 F1 British Grand Prix race results

Previous article

2020 F1 British Grand Prix race results

Next article

2020 F1 World Championship points after the British Grand Prix

2020 F1 World Championship points after the British Grand Prix
Load comments
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Prime

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Prime

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Prime

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1's elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he's recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Italian Grand Prix driver ratings

Two drivers produced faultless performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left many to rue what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo would have won without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Prime

Why Ricciardo would have won without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates Prime

Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates

For the second time in 2021, McLaren will line up for the start of a grand prix from the first row. It knows it has the chance of "glory" if things go well for Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris at the start of the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, but even if they just maintain their grid positions, signs from the rest of the Monza weekend suggest success is very possible for Formula 1's other orange army

Formula 1
Sep 12, 2021
How Formula 1 has made itself unattractive to new teams Prime

How Formula 1 has made itself unattractive to new teams

OPINION: The Formula 1 cost cap has been billed as a saviour to several teams and helped to guarantee their viability for investors. But there already exists another mechanism that effectively had the same purpose, and serves as a strong deterrent for those with the means to go it alone in setting up a new team

Formula 1
Sep 10, 2021
How Schumacher's first year marked him out as F1's king in-waiting Prime

How Schumacher's first year marked him out as F1's king in-waiting

After his sparkling F1 debut with Jordan at Spa, Michael Schumacher quickly leapt to Benetton for the 1991 Italian Grand Prix. This move paved the way for the German to win his first grand prix one year later and laid the foundations for his ascent to become a title contender by 1994.

Formula 1
Sep 10, 2021