Lewis Hamilton says he has “never experienced anything” like the final lap of Formula 1’s British Grand Prix as he secured victory with just three fully operational tyres.
Hamilton controlled proceedings at Silverstone and looked on course for a dominant victory over Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
However Bottas’ race unravelled when he suffered a tyre failure as he began lap 50 of 52.
Mercedes advised Hamilton to back off and he too then encountered a tyre failure, with his left-front deflating as he approached Brooklands.
At that stage Hamilton held a lead of 34 seconds over nearest rival Max Verstappen and the Briton limped around the remainder of the lap – finishing just 5.8s clear.
“Valtteri was really pushing incredibly hard, and I was doing some management of the tyre and he looked like he wasn’t,” said Hamilton.
“When I heard that his tyre went, I was just looking at mine and everything seemed fine, the car was still turning no problem.
“Those last few laps I started to back off and down the straight it deflated and I just noticed the shape just shift a bit that was definitely 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.”
Hamilton nonetheless revealed that he was ‘really chill’ on the final lap as he tried to guide his W11 to the finish.
“You’d be really surprised, well may or may not be surprised, but I was really chill for some reason at the end,” he said.
“’Bono’ [Race Engineer Pete Bonnington] was giving me the information of the gap I think it was 30 seconds at one stage, it was coming down quite quickly and in my mind I’m thinking like ‘how far is it to the end of the lap’.
“The car seemed to turn ok through Maggots and Becketts, thankfully I got to Stowe and that’s where it was a bit of a struggle and I could hear the gap coming down from 19 to 10 and I remember giving it full gas out of Turn 15 down to Turn 16 and the thing wasn’t stopping .
“So I got to the corner and a lot of understeer and I heard him go nine, eight, seven and I was like just get back to the power trying to get it to turn.
“So oh my god I’ve definitely never experienced anything like that on the last lap and my heart nearly stopped. That’s how cool it was because my heart nearly stopped.”