Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton held onto his lead despite suffering a punctured tyre halfway through the final lap of the British Grand Prix as the world champion secured his third win of the ongoing Formula 1 season on Sunday.
With he chequered flag approaching, the left-front tyre of Hamilton’s Mercedes gave way leaving the Briton and his team with anxious last few seconds as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen quickly began gaining on him.
In the end, Hamilton secured the win with Verstappen finishing second followed by Charles Leclerc of Ferrari.
“Until the last lap, everything was relatively smooth sailing,” Hamilton was quoted as saying by the BBC. “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.”
Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas also suffered a punctured tyre but two laps earlier to be pushed out of the points, finishing 11th. Carlos Sainz of McLaren was the third driver to endure a puncture, also on the final lap to finish 13th from fourth.
Hamilton thus took a 30-point lead over his nearest world championship rival Bottas in the standings.
“When (his) tyre went, everything seemed fine, so I was thinking maybe it was OK. And then just down the straight it deflated,” Hamilton said.
“I noticed the shape of the tyre shifting, and that was heart in the mouth and I didn’t know if it had gone down until I braked. Then just driving it – sometimes it will come off and break the wing. I nearly didn’t get round the last two corners. Maybe we should have stopped towards the end when we saw the delaminations (on other cars).”