Lewis Hamilton survives late drama to secure seventh British Grand Prix victory

Britain F1 GP Auto Racing

Lewis Hamilton survived an extraordinary last-lap puncture to win the British Grand Prix for a remarkable seventh time.

Hamilton appeared on course to cruise to victory but limped over the line, virtually on three wheels, following the late drama at Silverstone.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen crossed the line just five seconds back, having started the last lap 31 seconds behind Hamilton.

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Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton gestures on the winners' podium holding the trophy after winning the Formula One British Grand Prix at the Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England on August 2, 2020. - Lewis Hamilton survived a dramatic finale to win the British Grand Prix on Sunday, just making it across the line on three tyres to beat a fast closing Max Verstappen on Red Bull. The defending world champion claimed his seventh British Grand Prix win as Ferarri's Charles Leclerc came third and Daniel Ricciardo of Renault fourth. (Photo by Bryn Lennon / POOL / AFP) (Photo by BRYN LENNON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain, center, celebrates his victory on the podium with second placed Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands, left and third placed Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc of Monaco the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone racetrack, Silverstone, England, Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020. (Ben Stansall/Pool via AP)
Race winner Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain adjusts his hair after getting out of his car after the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone racetrack, Silverstone, England, Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain sprays champagne at the podium after winning the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone racetrack, Silverstone, England, Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain inspects puncture on his car after winning the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone racetrack, Silverstone, England, Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020. (Bryn Lennon/Pool via AP)
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain steers his car with flat tire during the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone racetrack, Silverstone, England, Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)
Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas of Finland steers his car during the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone racetrack, Silverstone, England, Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)
The damaged tyres of Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton's car are pictured after he won the Formula One British Grand Prix at the Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England on August 2, 2020. - Lewis Hamilton survived a dramatic finale to win the British Grand Prix on Sunday, just making it across the line on three tyres to beat a fast closing Max Verstappen on Red Bull. The defending world champion claimed his seventh British Grand Prix win as Ferarri's Charles Leclerc came third and Daniel Ricciardo of Renault fourth. (Photo by Will Oliver / POOL / AFP) (Photo by WILL OLIVER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02: Race winner Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on August 02, 2020 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) McLaren F1 Team MCL35 Renault on track with a punctured tyre during the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on August 02, 2020 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Andrew Boyers/Pool via Getty Images)
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02: Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF1000 leads Esteban Ocon of France driving the (31) Renault Sport Formula One Team RS20 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on August 02, 2020 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) McLaren F1 Team MCL35 Renault on track as Kevin Magnussen of Denmark driving the (20) Haas F1 Team VF-20 Ferrari crashes into a track barrier in the background during the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on August 02, 2020 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Ben Stansall/Pool via Getty Images)
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton (L) leads Mercedes' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas as they drive during the Formula One British Grand Prix at the Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England on August 2, 2020. (Photo by Will Oliver / POOL / AFP) (Photo by WILL OLIVER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton (R) follows the safety car during the Formula One British Grand Prix at the Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England on August 2, 2020. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / POOL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02: The car of Daniil Kvyat of Russia and Scuderia AlphaTauri is removed from the track after he crashed into a track barrier during the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on August 02, 2020 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Andrew Boyers/Pool via Getty Images)
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02: F1 drivers kneel on the grid in support of the Black Lives Matter movement before the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on August 02, 2020 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 leads Valtteri Bottas of Finland driving the (77) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 during the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on August 02, 2020 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Andrew Boyers/Pool via Getty Images)
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB16 leads a line of cars during the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on August 02, 2020 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton (2L) and Mercedes' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas (L) lead at the first corner of the first lap during the Formula One British Grand Prix at the Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England on August 2, 2020. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / POOL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 leads Valtteri Bottas of Finland driving the (77) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W11 during the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on August 02, 2020 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02: Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Scuderia Ferrari SF1000, Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB16 and Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren F1 Team MCL35 Renault battle for position during the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on August 02, 2020 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02: A spitfire performs a fly-past in support of the NHS before the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on August 02, 2020 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP prepares to drive on the grid before the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on August 02, 2020 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton (C) and fellow drivers make a statement on the track as they prepare to 'take a knee' in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, prior to the start of the Formula One British Grand Prix at the Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England on August 2, 2020. (Photo by Bryn Lennon / POOL / AFP) (Photo by BRYN LENNON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates after he clocked the fastest time during the qualifying session for the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone racetrack, Silverstone, England, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020. The British Formula One Grand Prix will be held on Sunday. (Will Oliver/Pool via AP)
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain, left, celebrates with team members after he clocked the fastest time during the qualifying session for the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone racetrack, Silverstone, England, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020. The British Formula One Grand Prix will be held on Sunday. (Will Oliver/Pool via AP)
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands enters the pit lane after he clocked the third fastest time during the qualifying session for the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone racetrack, Silverstone, England, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020. The British Formula One Grand Prix will be held on Sunday. (Ben Stansall/Pool via AP)
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany steers his car during the qualifying session session for the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone racetrack, Silverstone, England, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020. The British Formula One Grand Prix will be held on Sunday. (Andrew Boyers/Pool via AP)
Red Bull driver Alexander Albon of Thailand steers his car during the qualifying session for the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone racetrack, Silverstone, England, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020. The British Formula One Grand Prix will be held on Sunday. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: Sebastian Vettel of Germany driving the (5) Scuderia Ferrari SF1000 on track during qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on August 01, 2020 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)
Ferrari's Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc walks away from his car after finishing fourth in the qualifying session for the Formula One British Grand Prix at the Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England on August 1, 2020. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / POOL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: Third place qualifier Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing looks on in parc ferme during qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on August 01, 2020 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Will Oliver/Pool via Getty Images)
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: Pole position qualifier Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates in parc ferme during qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on August 01, 2020 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
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Valtteri Bottas had looked set to take second spot, but also suffered a puncture with two laps to run, dropping him to 11th.

Verstappen stopped for new tyres following Bottas' puncture. Had he not pitted, he would have been close enough to take the win off Hamilton.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc finished third ahead of Renault's Daniel Ricciardo with Lando Norris fifth.

The safety car was deployed on two occasions at Silverstone following high-speed shunts involving Kevin Magnussen, and then Daniil Kvyat.

But Hamilton kept his cool at both restarts, leading from start to finish, despite the puncture, to move 30 points clear of Bottas in his seemingly inevitable march towards a record-equalling seventh world crown.

"Up until that last lap, everything was smooth sailing," Hamilton said.

"When I heard Valtteri's tyre went I looked at mine and everything seemed fine.

"The car was still turning, and the last laps I started to back off and then the tyre deflated.

"It was definitely heart in the mouth. You could see the tyre was falling off the rim.

"Oh my God, I was just praying to get it round. I nearly didn't do it, but thank God we did.

"I had never experienced anything like that on the last lap. My heart almost stopped."

Hamilton recovered from a rare spin in qualifying to take pole with the fastest lap ever recorded at Silverstone, and, after beating Bottas to the opening bend, his victory did not appear in doubt until the late drama.

Bottas got a better getaway than Hamilton, but, after failing to draw alongside his team-mate before the first corner, he backed out of a lunge for the lead.

Alexander Albon compounded a poor weekend by banging wheels with Magnussen on the opening lap, sending the Haas driver into the gravel.

The safety car was deployed and Albon was dealt a five-second penalty from the stewards. He would cross the line in eighth, with pressure mounting on the under-performing London-born Thai.

After Magnussen's damaged machine was cleared away, the race restarted on lap six, but Bottas failed to put Hamilton under any pressure.

Just seven laps later, the safety car was deployed again after Kvyat lost control of his AlphaTauri through the high-speed Maggots.

The Russian thudded into the barriers but despite sustaining serious damage to his car walked away unscathed from the incident. "I am so f****** sorry," he said over the radio before shoving a camera out of his way as he returned to the pits.

The second safety car period saw the drivers stop for fresh rubber, and once Kvyat's wreckage was cleared, Bottas again did not do enough to put Hamilton under any pressure on the restart.

Instead, it was Norris on the move after he stormed past Ricciardo at Luffield before attempting to take team-mate Carlos Sainz around the outside at Copse. They young Briton, however, was forced to abandon the ambitious move.

Sainz and Norris then made their way past Romain Grosjean – the Haas driver running in fifth after choosing not to pit for tyres during the safety car. The Frenchman was handed a black-and-white flag by the stewards for his aggressive defence when duelling with Sainz.

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