Despite comfortably leading the British Grand Prix in front of his team-mate, Lewis Hamilton said that he completed the most challenging laps he has ever had due to his late-race tyre problems.
With Mercedes enjoying a roughly five-tenth performance advantage over their nearest rival Max Verstappen, the first 51 laps of the 52-lap British Grand Prix seemed to be a walkover for Lewis Hamilton. However, the Briton endured a late tyre drama when his left front Pirelli rubber exploded with just 2 kms left from the race.
"I have never experienced anything like that before. That last lap was one of the most challenging laps I have ever had. Up until that point, everything was going relatively smoothly, the tyres felt great and I was doing some management.
„When I heard Valtteri's tyre had gone, I looked at mine and everything seemed fine, but I started to back off. Then, it just suddenly deflated down the straight. It was a heart-in-your-mouth feeling and then I was just trying to keep the speed up without damaging the car," Hamilton added.
Following Valtteri Bottas’ puncture, Max Verstappen dived into the pits to take fresh tyres in a bid to set the fastest race lap. Red Bull decision meant that Hamilton’s advantage increased to over half a minute which provided him of the necessary gap to limp with his Mercedes W11 to the chequered flag to secure his seventh victory at the British Grand Prix.
„Bono was giving me the gaps; I think it was 30 seconds at one stage, but it was coming down quite quickly and I was thinking 'How far is it to the end of the lap?'. But we managed to get the car across the line. That last lap is definitely one to remember, I feel so grateful that I got it back and could secure the win.
Reflecting on the British Grand Prix that was staged as a ghost race due to the coronavirus outbreak, Hamilton has revealed he missed the enthusiastic British fans.
„It was difficult standing up there on the podium without the crowd, but hopefully I did everyone proud who was supporting us from home."