Ross Brawn stunned by Lewis Hamilton's Silverstone win
Ex-Mercedes boss hails Briton after his Silverstone win was achieved with a flat tyre
Former Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn has hailed Lewis Hamilton's British Grand Prix win, on a flat tyre, as "absolutely mind-blowing".
Hamilton's front left tyre deflated on the last lap while leading Sunday's race, leaving the six-time Formula One champion 3.8km from the finish with Red Bull's Max Verstappen chasing hard after pitting for fresh soft tyres.
Data provided by Mercedes showed Hamilton completed the final lap only 22 seconds slower than he had raced the previous one.
He went through the high-speed Copse and Stowe corners with the puncture at 141kmh and 133kmh respectively, and reached 230kmh on the Hangar Straight with the front tyre already destroyed.
"Lewis' race looked a cakewalk until the last lap of the race. It wasn't of course, because he was driving superbly for the whole of the race," said Brawn, Formula One's managing director for motorsport.
"He reached 230kmh on the straight with a front left tyre flailing around - absolutely mind blowing. He judged it to perfection to win the race by a few seconds and a brilliant example of the amazing talents and bravery of Lewis."
Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas dropped from second to 11th after a similar tyre problem a lap earlier, while McLaren's Carlos Sainz plunged from fourth to 13th.
Tyre supplier Pirelli said yesterday the key reason is "down to a set of individual race circumstances that led to an extremely long use of the second set of tyres".
Pirelli pointed out that nearly all teams brought forward their planned pit stop when the safety car was deployed for a second time, meaning they did around 40 laps - more than three quarters of the 52-lap race - on a single set of tyres.
Silverstone is also one of the fastest and most demanding tracks.
Pirelli said the final laps had been particularly tough "as a consequence of the biggest forces ever seen on tyres generated by the fastest Formula One cars in history".
It added that the front left tyre, which takes more punishment than the others at Silverstone, had been under "maximum stress".
Silverstone hosts another race this weekend, the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, and Pirelli said softer compounds would be used which should rule out such long stints and turn it into a likely two-stop race.
"Also the usage prescription will be reviewed, increasing the minimum tyre pressures to reduce the stress on the construction," it added.
Following his victory at Silverstone, Hamilton now enjoys a 30-point lead in the championship after four races and is set to equal Michael Schumacher's seven crowns.
Jean Todt, who presided over Schumacher's golden years at Ferrari, said he would have to congratulate the Briton if he smashes the great German's Formula One records - even if he would prefer them to remain intact.
"If you have a link to the records, you'd like the records to stay," said former Ferrari boss Todt, now president of the governing Federation Internationale de l'Automobile.
But he added that all records are meant to be broken. - REUTERS