Lewis Hamilton’s remarkable victory at the British Grand Prix has launched him into a large lead in Formula 1 world championship, and it is one his closest rivals reckon will prove too big to overcome.

The six-times world champion claimed his seventh win at Silverstone despite finishing the race with a punctured front-left tyre which gave way on the final lap of Sunday’s British Grand Prix.

Hamilton’s victory, coupled with a similar puncture for Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas that dropped him out of the points, means Hamilton now holds a 30-point advantage over the Finn after the opening four rounds of the season.

Asked in the post-race press conference whether anyone can stop Hamilton from winning the title, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen - who is a further six points adrift of Bottas and yet to win this season - simply replied: “No.”

Charles Leclerc scored his second podium of what has been a difficult start to the campaign for Ferrari, as he moved up to fifth place in the championship, some 55 points down on Hamilton.

In response to the same question, the Monegasque said: “The question is ‘can anybody stop Lewis?’ No. I think the guy that has some chances is Valtteri – but that’s it.”

Bottas conceded that the loss of 25 points comes as a big blow to his hopes of winning a maiden F1 title, but is refusing to give up on his dream.

“Of course it’s not ideal,” he admitted. “For the moment, if everything goes to the plan with the calendar there are going to be more than ten races, but we just don’t know.

“The best bet would be to be on top of the points all the time, so it’s a big loss of points. This kind thing we can’t really afford but, obviously, Lewis had a good race, but he also got away [with it] in a way.

“What can I do? What can I say? It’s not ideal, but I can’t change what has happened, just got to move on and take the learnings and try again next weekend.

“Keep positive, because if I would now start thinking now that it’s done, then it would be done. I’m just not going to do that, I’ll keep pushing, keep believing, because you never know.”

After winning his third race on the bounce - and 87th of his career - Hamilton, who will level with Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world championships if he triumphs to another crown this year, insisted 2020 is not shaping out to be the type of title fight he enjoys.

“I’m a through and through racer at heart,” the Briton explained.

“I’ve grown up, particularly when you’re in karting, you’ve got the wheel-to-wheel racing, that’s what has always excited me, and that’s what gets me up in the morning.

“This not the championship fight I would have hoped for. I’d much, much prefer to be having a super-close battle with these two here because that’s what gets me going.

“I’m still putting in the laps that are required but it’s not a close battle with Max in qualifying and the same with Charles. I really, really hope that in future it’s closer. It’s the rules.

“Ultimately every team is given rules and at the end of the day we’ve just done an exceptional job collectively and you can’t fault my team for that. That’s not our fault.”

And Hamilton hopes a major overhaul to the technical regulations in 2022 will succeed in its aim to close up the field.

“You have to look at the people that run the sport doing a better job moving forwards,” he said.

“I think they’re showing some signs… I think Ross [Brawn] is showing us a car for the future that’s going to have us all closer.

“Hopefully it’s not as slow as a GP2 car, and then hopefully we’ll get some more karting-like races in the future.”

 

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