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Lewis Hamilton clinch his seventh British Grand Prix despite late dramatic tyre issue

Lewis Hamilton was subjected to his rollercoaster blaze through Formula One, his three-wheel victory at Silverstone on Sunday must rank high among them.

Hearts leapt into mouths as coming around Woodcote into the old pit straight, the great champion’s front left tyre betrayed him during a last lap as dramatic as most of the foregoing British Grand Prix had been torpid.

Sparks flew under his Mercedes that was suddenly slung low so it grated along the asphalt.

The question was whether Hamilton could pilot his crippled car to the chequered flag without Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, reshod on fresh rubber and closing fast, passing him and stealing glory.

Half the 3.7-mile lap was left to run. Copse, Maggotts, Becketts, Chapel — corners of speed and legend — were still to be navigated.

Then the Hangar Straight, Stowe, Vale and Club, before the final short, but this time agonisingly painful, trip to the start-finish line and sanctuary.

The butchered tyre hung off its wheel, Hamilton’s physio Angela Cullen peered nervously through her fingers back in the garage, but Hamilton steered himself to safety. Just.

His last lap was 28 seconds slower than Verstappen’s desperate dart. The margin of victory was 5.8sec, down from half-a-minute before the excitement unfolded.

Hamilton was lucky because if Verstappen had not been called in for new tyres in order to shoot for the point that comes with the fastest-lap time, which he secured, the Dutchman would only have needed to get around in one piece to snatch a victory that had previously looked unlikely all afternoon.

But he can take satisfactions galore regardless: he is a yawning, almost sport-destroying, 30 points ahead of his nearest pursuer Valtteri Bottas after three successive wins; and he now stands on 87 career wins, four off Michael Schumacher’s 91.

Was it the most dramatic final lap Hamilton has been involved in? We can forgive him his hyperbole, but no.

That came in Brazil in 2008, when he took his first title on the final corner of the final lap of the final race.

This was merely the second best, but still a spectacle to cherish among memorable British Grand Prix moments.

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