In Depth

Can anyone stop Lewis Hamilton from winning the 2020 F1 title?

Six-time champion claims victory in dramatic British GP at Silverstone

Formula 1’s 2020 season is only four races old but Lewis Hamilton is already breaking records in his quest to become a seven-time world champion.  

The Mercedes star has built a 30-point lead ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas at the top of the drivers’ standings following his dramatic victory at yesterday’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone - a record career seventh chequered flag for the 35-year-old in his home race.

Bidding to equal Michael Schumacher’s record seven world championships, Hamilton is also now just four race wins from the German’s all-time tally of 91. 

However, it was not all plain sailing for Hamilton at Silverstone. In the final laps he and Bottas looked to be cruising towards a Mercedes one-two before tyre issues affected both cars. 

Bottas dropped out of the points after suffering a puncture with two laps to go and on the final lap Hamilton’s front left tyre also shredded. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was in hot pursuit of the leader but British ace Hamilton managed to cross the finish line on three wheels.

‘My heart nearly stopped’

Speaking after the race Hamilton explained how it was “the most dramatic ending I can remember”.

He told Formula1.com: “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. 

“Until that last lap everything was relatively smooth sailing, the tyres felt great, Valtteri was really pushing incredibly hard, and I was doing some management of the tyre and he looked like he wasn’t. When I heard that his tyre went, I was just looking at mine and everything seemed fine, the car was still turning no problem so I thinking, ‘Maybe it’s okay’ and 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. Just driving it trying to keep the speed up, sometimes it will take off and break the wing I was just praying it would get round and it would not be too slow, I nearly didn’t get round the last two corners. But thank God it did. I really owe it to the team, ultimately we should have stopped towards the end once we saw the delamination.”

Is Lewis on track for another title?

In his post-race report Andrew Benson of the BBC said “there has never really felt much doubt about Lewis Hamilton winning this year’s Formula 1 world championship”. Despite the drama at Silverstone rival drivers also believe that the reigning champion will defend his title

Second-placed Verstappen was asked if anyone can stop Hamilton, to which he replied “no”. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who finished third, added: “No. The guy that has some chances is Valtteri but that’s it.”

GrandPX reports that even Hamilton admits he would prefer more competition. He said: “Honestly, look - I’m a through and through racer at heart. This is not the championship I would have hoped for. I’d much, much prefer to be having a super-close battle because that’s what gets me going. 

“Ultimately, every team is given rules and at the end of the day we’ve just done an exceptional job and you can’t fault my team for that. That’s not our fault.”

F1 stays at Silverstone this weekend for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on 9 August. Hamilton will aim to extend his lead at the top of the drivers’ standings while Mercedes, who have 146 points from four races, have built a 68-point advantage over Red Bull in the constructors’ championship.

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