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“Up until that last lap everything was relatively smooth sailing,” said the six times world champion of a race with two long safety car periods. “The tires felt great.
“I heard that his (Bottas’s) tire went and I was just looking at mine and everything seemed fine. The car was still turning no problem… Those last few laps I started to back off and then just down the straight it just deflated.
“That was definitely a heart in the mouth kind of feeling…I was just praying to get around and not be too slow. I nearly didn’t get around the last few corners. Thank God we did.”
The victory was the 87th of Hamilton’s F1 career — leaving him four short of Ferrari great Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of 91 — and his third in a row. It was also probably the luckiest.
Verstappen’s race engineer summed it up over the team radio to the Dutch driver: “He’s a lucky boy..”
Mercedes, chasing a seventh successive title double, have won all four races this season.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo was fourth for Renault, ahead of future McLaren team mate Lando Norris, whose own team mate – Carlos Sainz – also had a puncture.
Frenchman Esteban Ocon ensured Renault’s double points finish in sixth, with compatriot Pierre Gasly seventh for AlphaTauri and British-based Thai Alexander Albon riding a rollercoaster of a race to eighth place.
Montrealer Lance Stroll was ninth for Racing Point, and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took the final point.
Nicholas Latifi, Stroll’s fellow Montrealer, finished 15th.