Formula 1's managing director Ross Brawn has labelled Lewis Hamilton’s achievement of winning the British Grand Prix with a puncture as “mind-blowing”.

Hamilton appeared to be cruising to a seventh victory at Silverstone when potential disaster struck as he exited Luffield on the final lap, with his left-front tyre sustaining a near-identical blow-out to the one Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas suffered a few laps earlier in a dramatic end to the race.

Despite only having three fully-inflated wheels on his W11, Hamilton managed to keep cool and crawl his way home, crossing the line a mere 5.8s clear of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Writing in his post-race column, Brawn said: “Lewis’s race looked a cakewalk until the last lap of the race. It wasn’t of course, because he was driving superbly for the whole of the race.

“However, let us reflect on what he achieved on that last lap. No front left tyre on the car and he still took Copse and Stowe corners at more than 130km/h. He reached 230km/h on the straight with only three wheels, and a front left tyre flailing around - absolutely mind-blowing.

“He judged it to perfection to win the race by a few seconds and a brilliant example of the amazing talents and bravery of Lewis.”

Verstappen said he felt “lucky and unlucky” to have finished second at Silverstone after Red Bull opted to pit him in response to Bottas’ tyre failure, with the Dutchman looking set to land an easy second place.

But in hindsight, a victory may have been on the cards had Red Bull decided to keep its driver out, with Verstappen 32-seconds behind Hamilton at the point the six-times world champion suffered his puncture.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner defended the call to bring Verstappen in, explaining that there was “no guarantee” he would have been able to make to the end without the stop. Brawn says he would have made exactly the same decision if he was in charge.

“As things worked out, Red Bull’s decision to pit Max Verstappen on the penultimate lap cost them the race, but they wouldn’t have known that at the time,” Brawn explained.

“As soon as Bottas did such a slow lap and then had to pit, Verstappen who was promoted to second was afforded a free pit stop. I don’t know in Red Bull’s mind whether they were thinking that because there was a tyre problem, they would give themselves some insurance or whether they were going for the extra point for fastest lap, or probably a combination of both.

“I’m sure they would never have imagined for a moment that the failure with Bottas at that stage would be replicated and that Lewis would suffer the same type of issue, so I don’t think they made a bad decision.

“I think it was an unlucky decision, because as it subsequently proved, he could have won the race. He was only in that position because of what happened to Bottas. I would have made the same call as it appeared to be a free pit stop.”

 

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