Lewis Hamilton fears his tyres could explode during Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone.
The world champion will start from second on the grid after Valtteri Bottas sprung a surprise by snatching pole position from his Mercedes team-mate by just 0.063 seconds.
Hamilton’s British Grand Prix victory last weekend was almost derailed after he suffered a dramatic last-lap puncture.
He limped over the line of three wheels and the Mercedes driver believes he could be forced to nurse his rubber to the chequered flag at the same venue in Sunday’s 52-lap race.
‘I have not looked at the different race scenarios with the tyres but I imagine we will have to manage them,’ said Hamilton. ‘We don’t want to push these things or they might explode.’
Pirelli, Formula One’s sole tyre supplier, determined that high tyre wear following a one-stop strategy led to Hamilton’s puncture last Sunday. Bottas and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz were also subjected to tyre failures late on.
Pirelli have brought a softer tyre compound to the fifth round of the championship here, and it is expected that the change in rubber will make a one-stop strategy almost impossible.
Hamilton will head into the race with a 30-point championship lead over Bottas – but the Finn denied his team-mate a 92nd career pole and fourth on the spin by saving his best lap until last.
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