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August 3, 2020

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Hamilton nears Schumi’s record

Lewis Hamilton held on to win the British Grand Prix yesterday despite a puncture on the last lap to clinch an 87th career win and move within four of Michael Schumacher’s Formula One record.

The championship leader’s record-extending seventh Silverstone win saw him finish six seconds ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who unexpectedly moved up a place after Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas sustained a puncture with three laps left.

With Hamilton so far ahead, Verstappen went in for a tire change in a bid to gain an extra point for the fastest lap but that pit stop ultimately cost him victory because Hamilton’s front left shredded with half a lap to go. Verstappen swallowed up most of the 25-second gap but ran out of time.

“I definitely haven’t experienced anything like that. I thought my heart was going to stop,” Briton Hamilton said.

“Up until that last lap everything was relatively smooth sailing. When I heard his (Bottas’ tire) went I looked at mine and it seemed fine.”

Charles Leclerc finished third for Ferrari with Daniel Ricciardo fourth for improving Renault and British driver Lando Norris fifth for McLaren.

“It was a very tricky race,” said Leclerc after his second podium of the season. “I am very happy with how I managed the tires from beginning to the end.”

When his tire melted, Bottas had to come back for a tire change and dropped out of the points altogether into 11th spot and 30 points behind Hamilton in the title race after four races.

Sebastian Vettel, a four-time F1 champion, placed 10th and has now failed to get into the top five for his worst start to a season since 2008.

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr also sustained a last-gasp puncture and fell to 13th.

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen and AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat were both unharmed after crashing early in the 52-lap race.

There is another race at Silverstone next Sunday, where Pirelli may modify its tire selection.

Before the race, drivers again wore black T-shirts with “End Racism” written on them as part of an ongoing campaign. This time it was better coordinated than the disorganized scenes two weeks ago in Hungary that angered Hamilton.

They stood behind an “End Racism” message written on the grid, and then 13 of the 20 drivers took a knee, removing their face masks as they did so. The seven others remained standing behind them.

“Thank you for the statement of support to end racism in the world,” was said over loud speaker.

Hamilton set a track record and secured a record-extending 91st career pole and a record seventh at Silverstone on Saturday. Bottas qualified second ahead of Verstappen, who was racing in his 106th GP to equal his father Jos Verstappen’s tally. Jos Verstappen was Schumacher’s teammate at Benetton in the 1990s.

Nico Hulkenberg’s race was over before it started as mechanics could not get his car ready because of a power unit problem. He was a last-minute replacement for Sergio Perez, who is in quarantine after testing positive for the coronavirus. “It’s so surreal,” Hulkenberg said.


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