LEWIS HAMILTON survived an almighty late scare to win his seventh British Grand Prix in dramatic style.
The Brit's front tyre completely gave way on the final lap at Silverstone, and he just about nursed the car home with sparks flying everywhere in a heart-stopping finale.
Hamilton said: "I have never experienced anything like that on a last lap - my heart nearly stopped!
"That was definitely the most dramatic ending I can remember.
"Up until the last lap, it was smooth sailing. The tyres felt great. I started to back off and then on the back straight it just deflated.
"It was a real heart in the mouth moment when I could see the tyre falling off the rim.
"I was praying to get round and I nearly didn't make it.
"I had been really chillened and then as the gap to Max started coming down I was thinking 'how long until the end?'
Hamilton's win, coupled with Valtteri Bottas finishing out of the points in 11th after he too suffered a late puncture, means the Brit already has a whopping 30 point lead in the championship.
That huge lead comes after only four races where Hamilton has taken the last three pole positions and converted them all into wins.
No wonder his rivals say that nobody can stop him from winning a record-equalling seventh world title.
Both Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, who was third in his Ferrari, gave a simple "no" when asked by SunSport if anyone could stop the Mercedes man.
And even Hamilton wants it to be more of a fight for title no.7 that would equal Michael Schumacher.
He added: "I'm a through-and-through racer at heart. Growing up karting, wheel to wheel, that's what gets me up in the morning.
"This is definitely not the championship fight I'd be hoping for . I'd want a super close battle with these two guys beside me.
"I really really hope in future it's closer but it's the rules, ultimately. Every team is given the same rules. But at the end of the day we are doing an exceptional job collectively.
"It's up to the guys running the sport to come up with rules which make it closer."
Bottas got off the line better than Hamilton and threatened to take the lead, but the Brit held off his attempt into turn one.
And that seemed to be as close as anyone came all day to denying Hamilton a remarkable seventh win at Silverstone - two more than Jim Clark and Alain Prost.
But then tyre drama struck both Mercedes drivers in the final few laps.
Bottas looked to be cruising to second place before a puncture just three laps from home ruined his afternoon.
Max Verstappen pounced to take second place while Charles Leclerc was third in his Ferrari.
Bottas dropped all the way to 11th place after his puncture just two laps from home in a nightmare finish.
And Hamilton's tyres gave way, too, on the final lap, but he just had enough of an advantage to hold off Verstappen and win his third race in a row.
Hamilton said: “I've not experienced anything on the last lap like that – my heart nearly stopped.
“I heard of Valtteri's tyre going but I thought I looked after mine relatively well.
“But I backed off and didn't push through the corners.
“Going into the last lap everything seemed chilled and then the tyre deflated. I'm really glad it didn't happen in a high-speed corner or it would've been a disaster.
“I told the team it was a deflation and then nearly didn't make it through the next two corners.
“Then rather than panic I just tried to get back home.
“As I tried to accelerate the tyre started to deflate more and I thought I was going to lose the wing, the wing might go under the car. All those different scenarios.
“And it didn't want to turn right, obviously. I made some changes to lock all the diff and tried my hardest to get over the line. I could hear Max catching me – it was one of the most horrible feelings.
“But thankfully we managed to bring it home. I don't know why I managed to be cool during the period, I had no choice. Survival instincts took over.”
Bottas added: "Really disappointing and very unlucky. Where I got the puncture, I had to go round the whole lap which was not ideal.
"We knew it was going to be a long stint on the hard tyre and I was trying to put pressure on Lewis.
"I started to get more and more vibration and I reported that, but then at the end I had in my mind that there could be an issue so I started to manage a bit, but it happened so suddenly."
Most read in Motorsport
Daniel Ricciardo came home fourth in his Renault ahead of McLaren's Lando Norris and Esteban Ocon in 6th.
There was heartbreak before the race for late replacement Nico Hulkenburg when his car failed to start.
The German was drafted in at the last minute by Racing Point after Sergio Perez tested positive for Covid-19.
But he failed to start the race and ended up becoming one of few spectators watching the action when there would normally be more than 100,000 fans in attendance.
2020 RACE CALENDAR
July 5 - Austria (W: Bottas)
July 12 - Styria (W: Hamilton)
July 19 - Hungary (W: Hamilton)
Aug 2 - Britain (W: Hamilton)
Aug 9 - 70th Anniversary
Aug 16 - Spain
Aug 30 - Spa
Sept 6 - Italy
Sept 13 - Tuscany
Sept 27 - Russia
Oct 11 - Germany
Oct 25 - Portugal