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
The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Prime

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

Why Verstappen should be confident of Russian GP recovery Prime

Why Verstappen should be confident of Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi...

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2021
Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1 Prime

Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Prime

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. Damien Smith brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1.

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Prime

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus Prime

How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Prime

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Prime

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says Stuart Codling.

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021