How do the other driv­ers stop ram­pant Hamil­ton?

Cape Argus - - SPORT -

LEWIS Hamil­ton has added another chap­ter to his For­mula One great­ness and the op­po­si­tion may be won­der­ing how on earth the im­pe­ri­ous Bri­ton in his Mercedes can be stopped.

Not even a last-lap punc­ture at Sun­day’s home grand prix in Sil­ver­stone stopped Hamil­ton from gar­ner­ing his sev­enth vic­tory on the fa­mous track, his third in a row, and an 87th over­all.

There was ar­guably some luck in­volved be­cause Red Bull’s Max Ver­stap­pen should have won the Bri­tish Grand Prix, which only be­came ex­cit­ing in the clos­ing stages, had he not gone for a late pit stop in the quest to get the fastest race lap.

But even­tu­ally all the ifs and buts didn’t mat­ter – af­ter all, Hamil­ton’s team­mate Valt­teri Bot­tas and McLaren’s Car­los Sainz also had front left punc­tures in a bizarre fi­nale – and Hamil­ton was once again top of the podium.

“If Lewis Hamil­ton even wins on three wheels then you might as well close shop,” Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport said yes­ter­day.

Switzer­land’s Blick said: “Who is sup­posed to stop Hamil­ton when not even a flat tyre does.”

Hamil­ton safely ma­noeu­vring the stricken Mercedes only con­firmed a mid-week state­ment from his mo­tor sport chief Toto Wolff who said that “on a good day Lewis is un­beat­able”.

It was such a day from the out­set be­hind the closed doors at the track, with Hamil­ton mak­ing the most of his 91st pole po­si­tion de­spite a poor start, un­trou­bled by two safety car stages and com­fort­ably keep­ing Bot­tas at bay al­though the Finn tried his best.

What looked like a pro­ces­sion for the podium places – Ver­stap­pen 10 sec­onds be­hind the top two but more than 20 ahead of Fer­rari’s

Charles Le­clerc – even­tu­ally turned into drama which all went Hamil­ton’s way.

Bot­tas had to pit and faded to 11th and Ver­stap­pen’s stop gave Hamil­ton the nec­es­sary ad­van­tage to limp home in first and in­crease his cham­pi­onship lead from five to 30 points.

“Of all the pal­pi­ta­tions Lewis Hamil­ton has sub­jected us to on his roller­coaster blaze through For­mula One, his three-wheel vic­tory at Sil­ver­stone on Sun­day must rank high among them,” Bri­tain’s Daily Mail said.

Red Bull did not want to be drawn into the de­bate whether Ver­stap­pen would have won with­out the stop as team prin­ci­pal Chris­tian Horner said the Dutch­man also felt vi­bra­tions and “there’s no guar­an­tee he would have got to the end of the race”.

Hamil­ton said: “I have never ex­pe­ri­enced any­thing like that be­fore. That last lap was one of the most chal­leng­ing laps I have ever had.

“I am just think­ing of all the things that could have hap­pened if the tyre had given up in a high­speed cor­ner. It would have been a much dif­fer­ent pic­ture, so I feel in­cred­i­bly grate­ful that it didn’t.”

There have been sug­ges­tions that de­bris on the track, com­bined with heavy tyre wear on the fast cir­cuit with most teams on just one pit stop, con­trib­uted to the flats, but tyre sup­pli­ers Pirelli said it was too early to tell.

Lewis Hamil­ton

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