The crowd's hero was leading his home grand prix, looked to have it all under control. It was a beautiful sunny day and all was right with the world...
Bang! "I felt it fractionally before it actually went," said Lewis Hamilton a couple of hours later, still numb of emotion. "It just suddenly went a bit loose as I was coming out of Turn 5. I didn't think it was about to explode; I just felt something a bit strange. Then it went. You're just a passenger for a moment, because as the left-rear drops down, the front-right is up in the air and you're in fifth gear with only two wheels on the ground, fighting for control."
Hamilton had most of the lap to complete before he could crawl into the pits; his sidewall and its Pirelli lettering remained intact, but the fibres attached to it flailed around like a Catherine wheel. It was a beautiful pattern with an ugly message. It was lap eight, and that message carried on the gusting wind, a portent of what was to come.
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