SILVERSTONE, England -- Lewis Hamilton took a remarkable victory at the British Grand Prix after his car suffered a tyre failure on the final lap of the race.
Such was Hamilton's advantage over Max Verstappen in second place before his tyre failed that he still crossed the line 5.8 seconds clear of the Red Bull. But in order to do so, he spent the majority of the final lap on three wheels with sparks trailing in his wake.
Three cars experienced front left tyre issues in the final couple of laps, including Hamilton's Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who dropped from second to 11th with a late pit stop. The Silverstone circuit is notoriously hard on tyres, and a high-speed battle between Hamilton and Bottas earlier in the race appeared to take its toll.
Hamilton's win would have been under threat from Verstappen on the final lap had Verstappen not made a late pit stop of his own. Verstappen's late tyre change ultimately cost him a shot at a surprise win, but it was taken before Hamilton's tyre failure occurred in order to allow him to chase the fastest lap at the end on fresh tyres.
Bottas, who had pressured Hamilton throughout the middle of the race by trading fastest laps with his teammate, was running in second place until three laps from the end, when he suffered his tyre failure. Like Hamilton's failure, the front left delaminated and he was forced to nurse the car back to the pits. The timing of Bottas' failure was far more costly, as it saw him drop down the field as he returned to the pits for a fresh set of tyres to complete the race.
Charles Leclerc benefited from the incidents ahead of him to take Ferrari's second podium of the year after spending most of the race at the head of the midfield battle in fourth place. Carlos Sainz looked set to finish behind Leclerc, but also suffered a front left tyre failure, which dropped him to 13th at the finish.
Daniel Ricciardo took fourth place for Renault ahead of Sainz's teammate Lando Norris and his own Renault teammate Esteban Ocon. Pierre Gasly, Alex Albon, Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel took the final points on offer between seventh and 10th places.
The tyre issues were likely related to the long 40-lap stints the drivers had to do at the end of the race. Relatively early pit stops were triggered by a safety car for Daniil Kvyat, who had a huge accident on Lap 16 at the high-speed Maggots and Becketts corners. Kvyat emerged from the wreck unharmed.
Pitting under the safety car allows teams to make their mandatory tyre stop without losing as much race time as a normal pit stop, and the vast majority of the field took on hard tyres to run until the end once the safety car came out. The subsequent failures came right at the end of the race and all occurred on the front-left tyre, which endures the most punishment on a lap of Silverstone.
Hamilton's win was the 87th of his career and his seventh at the British Grand Prix. Combined with Bottas' failure to score points, it gives him a 30-point lead at the top of the drivers' championship after just four races.