3 augustus 2020 Lewis Hamilton is convinced that debris caused him a flat tire on the final lap of the British Grand Prix, nearly losing his home race victory.
Hamilton drove the entire race at the front at Silverstone on his way to his seventh victory on home soil, but he crossed the finish line with three functioning tires and one flat. When coming out of Luffield, the Mercedes driver got a flat tire that forced him to slow down, but in the end the half minute lead over Max Verstappen was enough to cross the finish line first. At the end, there were five seconds left for Hamilton, who thus booked his third victory in a row. After the race he joked that he almost had a ‘heart attack’ on the last lap.
Asked by GPUpdate.net about how he looked after his tires in the race, Hamilton said he never felt threatened and thought there was still plenty of life left for his Pirelli. “I really, really feel like I drove really well and managed my tires to the best of my ability,” explained the six-time world champion. “Valtteri put the pressure on at the start of the stints, so in the places where I normally watch the tires, I couldn’t do that now so I kept him out of my DRS. He was very fast today. I knew he was at some point. moment less, because he didn’t pay attention to his tires where he should have. Then you saw the gap grow and then I felt pretty comfortable with where I was. I was sure my tires were still good were enough. “
In addition to Hamilton, teammate Valtteri Bottas and McLaren driver Carlos Sainz also had to deal with a flat tire in the absolute final phase. The reigning world champion thinks that debris, which should probably come from Kimi Raikkonen’s car, is to blame for the flat tire. The Alfa Romeo driver lost half of his front wing a few laps before the end, leaving some debris on the track. “It will be interesting to see what they come up with, because of course they can see from the tread what caused the failure,” Hamilton said. “But I’m convinced they were probably broken pieces.”
Hamilton was right behind Raikkonen when his front wing broke and the Briton has seen debris in Maggots and Becketts since the safety car phases early in the race. “I don’t think it was cleaned up. The tire just worked well, so much so that I thought I could have pushed and done some fast laps towards the end, but luckily I didn’t,” Hamilton continues. “Going forward, we’re going to see how we can do better. But to be honest, I think my tire management was spot-on, as you could see from my speed.”
In collaboration with Luke Smith and Alex Kalinauckas