--
 
On the road during lockdown

Here's what motorists should know.

Meet Smokey Nagata

The man behind the legendary twin-turbo V12 Toyota Supra build.

'The tyres are gone!' Double blowout nearly saw Mercedes-AMG lose it all at 2020 British GP

2020-08-03 13:15

Charlen Raymond

formula 1,f1,lewis hamilton,mercedes

Lewis Hamilton (Bryn Lennon / Getty Images)

• Mercedes almost saw both its drivers retire from the British GP due to tyre failures.

• Hamilton won the race, Bottas finished in 11th place.

• Verstappen could have won if Red Bull didn't pit him for fresh tyres.

For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za


What an absolutely crazy end to the 2020 British Grand Prix!

The Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 team was in a class of their own throughout the weekend, and no team could hold a candle to them. In qualifying, both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were head and shoulders above the rest and cleared Verstappen - in third place - by more than a second.

It was an ominous warning for what was to come on Sunday, and bar the final two laps there was no threat to Merc's dominance. On lap 50, however, things took a turn for the worst for F1's most dominant team in the new hybrid era when not one but both drivers saw left front tyre bursts.

All this as the race was nearing its end!

There seems to be no stopping the Mercedes team in 2020, and they are on their way to securing a record seventh consecutive championship win. But yesterday, around the Silverstone racetrack, the team seemed to have turned their performance up a wick. From the moment the lights went out, Hamilton and Bottas put clear daylight between them and the chasing pack.

The dominance was so intense that Mercedes never needed to exploit the full potential of their car. Even turning the engine's performance down by 10% will still see them run riot in a race. Their car is just that damn good.

When the 14th lap came around, both Mercedes drivers came into the pits to swap their Soft tyres for the Hard ones. That leaves them with 38 laps until the end of the race. And, with the information available to them, they should make it to the end of the race on the Hard tyre. Theoretically.

Double blow

At the start of lap 51, the camera switched to Bottas who had suffered a burst on his left front tyre. It was too much of an ask for the tyres to last the entire race! Bottas had more than two-thirds of the lap to complete before he'd make it to the pits. While nursing his car, he was passed by both Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing) and Charles Leclerc (Ferrari).

Bottas would make it to the pits and rejoin the race, but he finished in eleventh place.

READ: 'Lucky and unlucky,' says Verstappen after chasing three-wheel Hamilton

'What about Hamilton?' everyone began wondering. And then it happened: the defending champion also suffered a burst on the same tyre as Bottas! Hamilton's happened on the final lap, and he had no choice but to bring the car home. Just after Bottas' bad luck, Red Bull brought Verstappen in for a set of new Soft tyres. This in a bid to chase down Hamilton and secure the win. With 32 seconds between the two, Verstappen set off in chase of Hamilton.

The Mercedes driver saw his more-than-30-second lead being cut down with each passing moment, but he managed to keep everything afloat and crossed the line 5.8sec ahead of Verstappen. If Red Bull did not pit their driver, they would have secured their first win of the season.

It was an exciting end to a rather dull race, and one that will be remembered for the longest time.

NEXT ON WHEELS24X

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.