LEWIS HAMILTON was made to work far harder than expected for victory in the British Grand Prix.
The two Mercedes drivers appeared to be cruising to a one-two before Bottas suffered a puncture with two laps left.
And then Hamilton himself had to bring his Mercedes home following a puncture, as he ended up edging out Max Verstappen by just five seconds.
Red Bull may rue what might have been after pitting Verstappen with a lap left to save his tyres when victory may have been in sight.
Lewis Hamilton: “Up until the last lap everything was smooth sailing. The tyres felt great, Valtteri was pushing very hard while I was trying some management of the tyre.
“When I heard that his went I kept looking at mine and everything seemed fine. Then just down the straight it deflated. It was a heart in mouth moment and I could see the tyre falling off the rim.
“I was trying to keep the speed up but just praying to try and get it round. I nearly didn't get it round the last two corners but thank god I did.
“I've not experienced anything on the last lap like that – my heart nearly stopped.”
Max Verstappen: “It's was lucky and unlucky. The tyres didn't look great with 10 laps to go and I was on the radio. Valtteri got a puncture and then they boxed me for the fastest lap. Then Lewis got a puncture as well. But second is a good result.
“It was pretty lonely – I was just trying to manage my race and look after my tyres.”
Hamilton crosses the line with only three tyres on his car. He wins by 5.8 seconds from Verstappen.
Leclerc is third for Ferrari – an unlikely podium. Ricciardo is fourth and Norris is fifth.
A TRIPLE WOW
AND NOW HAMILTON has a puncture front left…
And now Sainz has a puncture also on the front left…
It was all going so well for Mercedes. It all looked easy but Bottas has a puncture in his left front.
He's limped back to the pits and now Verstappen is to second.
Leclerc is now up to third.
Pierre Gasly is up to 9th.
After taking the scalp of Sebastian Vettel, the Frenchman honed in on Lance Stroll and made his way past the Racing Point driver.
10 LAPS TO GO
It has not been a cracker. Hamilton has simply maintained his lead over Bottas.
The Finn is now making excuses about excessive vibrations. She simply cannot catch Hamilton.
The battle I am looking at now is the two McLaren of Sainz and Norris in 5th and 6th.
That car seems to pick up in the later stages of the race on light fuel. They could squeeze Leclerc.
CALL A VET
Sebastian Vettel's day is going from bad to worse as he is passed by Pierre Gasly to move out of the points positions.
Max Verstappen has just told his race engineer to remember to drink.
That's usually the reverse way around. Think the Dutchman is bored.
He cannot catch Bottas and Leclerc cannot catch him.
Third-place coming right up.
HULKENBERG HAS HAD HIS SAY
Having been ruled out due an an engine issue, he said: “It's crazy – somehow it fit into these crazy days I've experienced.
“It's disappointing for me and the team – they tried everything. It was one sort of power issue. They didn't manage to start the car and get out there and that's obviously disappointing. They're looking into why – we don't know yet.
“Even for next weekend, it would have been important today to get more experience and learn more about and understand the car – especially in race conditions. I guess it is what it is now and we'll have to see how things go for next weekend.”
ALBON TAKES HIS PENALTY
He is now running in last place. He is under so much pressure now. Red Bull do not have too much sympathy with their drivers who don't deliver.
Halfway though this race and Hamilton has been untroubled up front.
The most he's had to contend with is a couple of safety car restarts – no sweat really.
He's 2.3 seconds ahead of Bottas. Verstappen is 5 seconds behind the Finn.
Then Leclerc, Sainz, Norris, Grosjean, Ricciardo, Stroll and Ocon.
NAUGHTY FROM GROSJEAN
He moves to block Sainz under braking – that's against the rules.
The Haas man is in nosebleed territory – up to 5 – but now dropping after the Spaniard gets past.
Norris now lining up to pass the Frenchman, who has not stopped yet for tyres.
ALBON GETS A PENALTY
That is hard on Red Bull's Alex Albon, who gets a five second time penalty for clipping Magnussen and sending him out of the GP.
It's been such bad luck for the London-born Thai.
Safety car is in. We are racing again…
That felt like an eternity to recover Kvyat's car.
THE STATE OF THAT ALPHATAURI…
The car is in bits, shows you just how tough the survival shell is – the bit around the cockpit to protect drivers in crashes like this.
Kyvat has said sorry but it is still not clear what actually happened. It was most strange to see a car go off like that. Looked like something broke on his car.
BIG CRASH FOR KVYAT
The Russian goes off in a huge dust cloud and has a heavy smash into the barriers. He is ok and out of the car but the medical car has been deployed, such is the force of that crash.
The Alphatauri driver radios his team saying: “I am so sorry guys…”
Safety car is out again. Teams taking the chance to pit their cars for tyres.
NORRIS IN A BIT OF TROUBLE
Lando Norris has been told to look after his front left tyres.
Says it will be a struggle to keep Stroll behind him.
Hamilton has opened up a 1.5 second gap over Bottas, who is in second place.
Verstappen in third is a further 3 seconds back.
Hamilton starting to pull away again from the rest of the field and give himself some breathing space.
Albon pits, he did make contact with Magnussen, so maybe this is a check over as well as a stop for fresh tyres.
And just as he pulls in, the stewards say they are investigating his clash with the Haas man.
We are back and it is Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen, Leclerc, Sainz, Ricciardo, Norris, Stroll, Ocon and Vettel
Safety Car is coming in, racing will resume.
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