Hamilton admits 'heart in the mouth' reaction to last lap puncture as Bottas rues bad luck

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Lewis Hamilton admits he had his "heart in his mouth" when a final lap puncture threatened to take away his victory at the British Grand Prix.

The six-time world champion had led comfortably throughout Sunday's race at Silverstone but it almost all came undone when his front-right tyre failed on the approach to Brooklands on the last lap.

Thankfully for Hamilton, he was able to crawl home to take the chequered flag just 5.8s ahead of Max Verstappen, this after teammate Valtteri Bottas had suffered his own tyre failure the lap before.

“I started to back off and down the straight, it [the tyre] deflated and I just noticed the shape just shift a bit,” he explained.

“That was definitely a heart in the mouth feeling because I wasn’t quite sure it had gone down until I hit the brakes and then you could see the tyre was falling off the rim.

“I was just driving it, trying to keep the speed up. Sometimes it will take off and break the wing. I was just praying it would get round and it would not be too slow.


"I nearly didn’t get around the last two corners but thank God it did. I really owe it to the team, ultimately maybe we should have stopped towards the end once we saw the delaminations.”

Though the most natural reaction would be to panic when it seemed as though the victory would slip away, Hamilton was able to stay "chilled" thanks to regular updates from his engineer Pete Bonnington.

“Bono was giving me the information of the gap,” he said. “I think it was 30 seconds at one stage, it was coming down quite quickly.

"The car seemed to turn ok through the high- Maggots and Becketts. Thankfully I got to 15 and that’s where it was a bit of a struggle and I could hear the gap coming down from 19 seconds to 10 and I remember giving it full gas out of Turn 15 down to 16 and the thing wasn’t stopping.

“So I got to the corner and had a lot of understeer and I heard him go nine [seconds], eight, seven and I was getting back on the power trying to get it to turn. I’ve definitely never experienced anything like that on the last lap and my heart nearly stopped.”

While for Hamilton, lady luck was certainly on his side, it was a different story for teammate Valtteri Bottas who would drop out of the points to 11th after his own tyre failure, this after running in second the entire race.

"Of course really disappointing and very unlucky," he said. "It was where I got the puncture, I had to go around the whole lap - not ideal.

Bot BritGP Puncture

"We knew it was going to be a long stint on the hard tyres. I was trying to put pressure on Lewis but towards the end, I was going to get more and more vibration.

"I reported that and then at the end, I had in my mind ‘who knows, there may be an issue’ so I started to manage a bit but it just happened like this - so sudden and I couldn’t really predict it happening.”

The duel failures, plus one more for Carlos Sainz, could cause some concern ahead of next weekend's second race at Silverstone where temperatures are set to be higher and the compounds one step softer.

“It’s going to be an issue for everyone,” Bottas admitted.

“For sure, one-stop is not going to happen with the compounds we have next week. I am sure there will be lots of things learned from this weekend. Just need to move on I guess.”