Hamilton's ‘best last lap ever’ made team ‘nervous as hell’
This year, the addition of a point for fastest lap has added a new dimension to the end of races. At Silverstone, Lewis Hamilton capped his race victory with a last-gasp charge for the accolade, even if he admits his engineers were far from happy about him going for it...
“We’re always talking about tyres that don’t last and all those kind of things but it was really cool to still have tyres left at the end,” said Hamilton, who converted second on the grid into a record sixth British GP win.
“Basically it was like a qualifying lap – it was the qualifying lap that I was supposed to do [on Saturday], better late than never.” He added: “It was awesome. There’s no better way to finish a race just on the edge of your seat, and it was definitely the best last lap that I’ve ever had.”
Set on hard tyres, his time of 1m 27.369s was a tenth faster than team mate Valtteri Bottas’s soft-shod attempt.
Hamilton went on to explain that his engineers weren’t so ecstatic about his late dash for an extra championship point.
“They’re not happy with us doing it, they’re nervous as hell because you could spin or make a mistake but it’s acceptable within limits,” he said.
On paper, a 32-lap-old hard tyre should never be good enough for fastest lap
Regardless, Mercedes Technical Director James Allison was astonished by the attempt. “Well it’s quite breathtaking isn’t it? The old used hard tyre and fastest lap at the end there? It’s pretty impressive,” he said.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, meanwhile, referred to Hamilton's lap as “absurd”.
“There’s a funny context to that because since we have these new regulations with points for fastest lap, the engineers are showing on the Sunday morning briefing that it makes no point to go for fastest lap, there’s too much risk.
“And you can see the drivers and they’re like ‘yeah whatever’… This led to a totally absurd situation because on paper, a 32 [lap] old hard should never be good enough for fastest lap but they’re just able to pull it out.”
Silverstone is the second time this season Hamilton has claimed fastest lap. In the race for the DHL Fastest Lap Award, Bottas, Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly also have two, while Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen have one apiece.