Hamilton wins British GP to close in on Schumacher's record

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Frank Augstein/AP

Race winner Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain adjusts his hair after getting out of his car after the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone racetrack, Silverstone, England, Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein,Pool)

SILVERSTONE – Lewis Hamilton held on to win the British Grand Prix on Sunday despite a puncture on the last lap to clinch an 87th career win and move within four of Michael Schumacher's Formula One record.

The championship leader's record-extending seventh Silverstone win saw him finish six seconds ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who unexpectedly moved up a place after Hamilton's Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas sustained a puncture with three laps left.

With Hamilton so far ahead, Verstappen went in for a tire change in a bid to gain an extra point for the fastest lap but that pit stop ultimately cost him victory because Hamilton's front left shredded with half a lap to go. Verstappen swallowed up most of the 25-second gap but ran out of time.

“I definitely haven’t experienced anything like that. I thought my heart was going to stop," Hamilton said. “Up until that last lap everything was relatively smooth sailing. When I heard his (Bottas' tire) went I looked at mine and it seemed fine.”

Charles Leclerc finished third for Ferrari with Daniel Ricciardo fourth for improving Renault and British driver Lando Norris fifth for McLaren.

"It was a very tricky race," said Leclerc after his second podium of the season. “I am very happy with how I managed the tires from beginning to the end.”

When his tire melted, Bottas had to come back for a tire change and dropped out of the points altogether into 11th spot and 30 points behind Hamilton in the title race after four races.

Sebastian Vettel, a four-time F1 champion, placed 10th and has now failed to get into the top five for his worst start to a season since 2008.