Lewis Hamilton tire
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Lewis Hamilton wins at Silverstone despite tire puncture on final lap

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Despite a tire puncture on the last lap causing a large lead to evaporate, Lewis Hamilton won a Formula One race at his home Silverstone, England, circuit for the seventh time Sunday.

Extending his record for F1 victories at Silverstone, Hamilton started from the pole and was in control throughout until several contenders tires began to delaminate and fail in the closing laps. Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas was running second to Hamilton with two laps remaining when he was forced to pit with a tire problem and finished 11th.

A lap later, a near-disaster struck for Hamilton. His lead subsequently shrank from more than 30 seconds to a 5.856-second margin of victory over Max Verstappen as Hamilton limped back to the checkered flag.

“Down the straight, the tire deflated, and that was a heart in the mouth moment,” said Hamilton, who has won the past three races in F1. “I was just praying to get it around.”

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc finished third ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, who took fourth despite also having tire problems on the last lap, and Lando Norris in fifth.

Carlos Sainz Jr., Norris’ McLaren teammate, also suffered a tire puncture on the last lap and fell several spots to 13th.

Verstappen might have had a chance to win, but he pitted with 10 laps remaining. That allowed him to set the race’s fastest lap and pick up an extra point, but he said his Red Bull team also made the call because “the tires didn’t look great. But P2 is a good result for us, and I’m happy with that,” Verstappen said.

It was Hamilton’s 87th career victory, four short of seven-time champion Michael Schumacher’s record. The six-time series champion has won three of four races to start the 2020 season and leads the championship standings by 30 points over Bottas.

Lewis Hamilton tire
Lewis Hamilton nursed home his Mercedes with a punctured left-front tire on the final lap of his victory in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone (Andrew Boyers/Pool/AFP via Getty Images).

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.