Hamilton wins British GP after late tyre scare

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Great-Britain, Silverstone Circuitgb

Lewis Hamilton has won the British Grand Prix, albeit on just 3 wheels, as a puncture in the final lap almost ruined the efforts. Max Verstappen finished in second place while Leclerc inherited third thanks to a late puncture for Bottas.

Ahead of the race, Nico Hulkenberg's weekend was already over before it all really started.

When the lights went out, Valtteri Bottas had a great start, but Hamilton still held a slight advantage going into Turn 1, and he aggressively turned in to not give that first place away. Behind them, Leclerc punched to take third, but there too, Verstappen held the position.

Lando Norris on the other hand had a troubled start and dropped back to seventh, behind Sainz and Ricciardo. Stroll complete the first lap in 8th, ahead of Ocon and Vettel. The latter had outbraked himself at Copse but maintained 10th place.

While it seemed everybody had safely completed the first lap, Magnussen had a sliding rear end and got clipped by Alexander Albon at the final corner. The Dane hit the tyre wall to retire from the race. As he came to a halt in the middle of the gravel trap, the safety car was brought out to allow the marshalls to work safely.

On lap 5, the race was on again. There were no immediate position changes, although Stroll and Ocon tangled it up until Stroll got the upper hand, allowing him to maintain 8th position.

Albon pitted on lap 7 to get his some free air. Interesting the team didn't do that during the 4 lap safety car period. His free air wasn't to last long though, and he soon caught up with the rest of the field as on lap 12, Kvyat lost the rear of his AlphaTauri AT01 and crashed heavily into the tyre barriers. The Russian escaped unscathed, but his car seemed like a writeoff.

As such, another safety car period was triggered, this time resulting in everybody but Grosjean to pit for hard tyres. Grosjean was the only one to not pit, ending up in 5th place, in between Leclerc and Sainz.

When the car got cleared out of the gravel trap, the race was on again in lap 19. Grosjean held 5th, but his presence bunched up Sainz, Ricciardo and Norris which Norris thankfully used to pass Ricciardo after a half a lap of exchanging positions with the Renault driver.

One lap later, Sainz put the pressure on Grosjean, and one lap later he made a move stick through Stowe corner. It didn't come after a complaint about Grosjean's defensive driving. The stewards "noted" the incident after a brief investigation and waved a black and white flag, warning him for that behaviour. Another two laps later, Norris did the same to Grosjean in the fight for 6th.

Meanwhile at the very front, Hamilton stayed in the lead with a stabilizing advantage of 1.7s over Bottas, and 8s over Verstappen on lap 28. Behind the Red Bull, there was already a 11s gap to the midfield, headed by Leclerc.

When Ricciardo and Stroll eventually passed Grosjean nearly 10 laps later as well, Grosjean was again complained about, with yet another "note" added by the stewards. Immediately after getting passed by Stroll, the Frenchman pitted for new hard tyres, rejoining the track in last place.

In the final 5 laps, Stroll notably moved backwards and lost two places in 3 laps, most likely due to tyres running out of their expected lifespan.

Three laps from the end, Bottas really found out what it was to run Pirellis beyond their lifespan, as his left front punctured in sector one, meaning he had to complete more than half a lap before returning to the pits. He pitted to softs, and in the end came very close to snatch the final point away from Vettel, but failed.

Meanwhile, Verstappen was pitted and secured the fastest lap of the race.

In the penultimate lap, Sainz had a left front puncture and pitting, seeing his 5th place go to waste as well. The Spaniard would finish in 13th place.

Then, in the final lap, Hamilton also suffered a left front puncture. Luckily for him, he only needed to complete 2km until the finish, and thanks to the margin to Verstappen due to his late pitstop. In fact, has Red Bull not pitted Verstappen, he could actually have won the race, but one never knows if the tyres would have lasted.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarLapsTimePts
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG521:28:01.28325
233Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda52+5.856s19
316Charles LeclercFerrari52+18.474s15
43Daniel RicciardoRenault52+19.650s12
54Lando NorrisMcLaren Renault52+22.277s10
631Esteban OconRenault52+26.937s8
710Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri Honda52+31.188s6
823Alexander AlbonRed Bull Racing Honda52+32.670s4
918Lance StrollRacing Point BWT Mercedes52+37.311s2
105Sebastian VettelFerrari52+41.857s1
1177Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG52+42.167s0
1263George RussellWilliams Mercedes52+52.004s0
1355Carlos SainzMcLaren Renault52+53.370s0
1499Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari52+54.205s0
156Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes52+54.549s0
168Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari52+55.050s0
177Kimi RäikkönenAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari51+1 lap0
NC26Daniil KvyatAlphaTauri Honda11DNF0
NC20Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1DNF0
NC27Nico HulkenbergRacing Point BWT Mercedes0DNS0

* Verstappen awarded extra championship point for setting fastest lap of the race