Hamilton was 'really chill' on final lap despite puncture

Formula 1 2020: Mercedes Valtteri Bottas emerges fastest at British GPs final practice session

That was definitely a heart-in-the-mouth kind of feeling, because I wasn't quite sure if it had gone down until I hit the brakes, and you could see the tyre was falling off the rim.

"I was just praying to try to get it around, to not be too slow".

A safety auto was required at the end of the opening lap, as Red Bull's Alex Albon punted the Haas of Kevin Magnussen into a spin at the final corner, and the latter's vehicle hit the tyrewall and its left-front corner was torn off. Albon was given a 5s time penalty for causing the collision.

His lap was three-tenths off Bottas' speed and lifted him to second ahead of Verstappen, nudging Hulkenberg down to 11th.

Bottas suffered a front-left puncture with three laps to go, while Hamilton sustained a near-identical blow-out on the final tour as he came out of Luffield. "They (Mercedes) were of course in the race too quick ... then of course Valtteri got a puncture".

McLaren's Carlos Sainz Jr was fifth ahead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.

"But tomorrow is race day and I hope we can carry the momentum forward and we can bring the race to a happy ending like we did in qualifying".

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Nearly the entire field had been running the same strategy after a Lap 12 safety vehicle tempted them into a long final stint that took the hard tire to the limit of its expected life.

At the flag a relieved Hamilton even had to check with his team whether he had in fact pulled off the feat of steering the auto home with only three functioning tyres, asking his team: "Was that the last lap?" before receiving the reply: "That's it!"

Hamilton and Mercedes had been comfortable until Valtteri Bottas' front-left tyre failed on lap 50 of 53. Doubling the damage was that his tire failed early on Lap 50, forcing him to undertake nearly an entire lap on three wheels. No problem. So I was thinking maybe it's OK. The auto was still turning. "The potential, the performance of the auto is not where we want it to be, but today we took every opportunity". Then it was a question of whether he could get around the remainder of the lap - more than half of it - before Verstappen caught him.

After a final flurry, Racing Point's German stand-in was pushed down to 13th and eliminated along with Pierre Gasly of Alpha Tauri, Red Bull's Alex Albon, Daniil Kvyat in the second Alpha Tauri and Russell. It's Magnussen who has ended up in the gravel and that will be the end of the race for him.

Albon, who took on a set of hard tyres soon after and dropped to the back of the pack, was found to be at fault by the stewards who handed him a five-second time penalty.

Hamilton was impressive in his consummate control, both of the race and his final lap but Leclerc was perhaps the stand-out performer, taking third in the uncompetitive Ferrari having qualified it fourth, while his team-mate Sebastian Vettel was a long way behind in an uncompetitive 10th, losing out in fights with midfielders.

Like Austria, Britain is hosting back-to-back races at Silverstone.

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