Lewis Hamilton wins at Silverstone despite tire puncture on final lap

Lewis Hamilton tire
Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

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).