After a short break from racing, the fossil fuelled drama of F1 resumed in Silverstone for the British Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton gained an extraordinary victory at his home race, overcoming a severe puncture in the last lap. The Mercedes driver’s left front tire failed but the six-time world champion was able to hold off the Red Bull of Max Verstappen as the young dutchman gained rapidly in the sensational final moments of the race.
Verstappen was called in for a soft tyre change in a successful quest for the fastest lap, if this change had not happened the dutchman would surely have overtaken the British veteran driver.
Hamilton was not the only driver to fall victim to a brutal puncture. Teammate Valtteri Bottas suffered tire failure in his second to last lap falling from 2nd to 11th place and subsequently just missing out on those precious points. Carlos Sainz met the same cruel fate as a puncture in the last lap dropped him down to 13th place from fourth. This tyre fiasco at the front of the pack gave way to an opportunity for Charles Leclerc, who was able to manage his underperforming Ferrari past Bottas and Sainz to take 3rd place and his second podium of this truncated and eventful season.
The Monegasque admitted that there was more than a touch of good fortune in his Silverstone finish, however, he did well in managing his slightly disadvantaged machine until the end. Ferrari teammate Sebastien Vettel was less fortunate behind the wheel of the same car as he finished in 10th place.
Hamilton now leads the championship table by a considerable distance after four rounds. Could the 2020 season be the one in which the Brit matches Micheal Schumacher in the number of world championships won? Quite possibly. The combination of driver and machine has lead to over half a decade of Mercedes dominance in the motorsport but as it was demonstrated on track today, anything can go wrong.
Formula 1 resumes in the same place for the sports 70th anniversary and Hamilton will surely be keen to double up on his home victory, however, increasingly fiercer competition in the rear view mirror pose a threat. Either way, it’s all the more interesting for the rest of us that way.