Valtteri Bottas was left to rue his misfortune after a puncture in a dramatic finish left him without a solitary point from the British Grand Prix.

Bottas looked to be cruising to second place behind Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton before his front-left tyre blew with two laps to go at Silverstone.

Hamilton suffered the same issue on the final lap, but somehow limped to a seventh victory on home soil ahead of Max Verstappen, with Charles Leclerc taking third spot.

Bottas could only cross the line in 11th place after making his way back to the pits on three tyres and trails championship leader Hamilton by 30 points.

The Finnish driver felt he might have a problem so late in the race but could not have envisaged how damaging it could be.

He told Sky Sports F1: "It was really disappointing and very unlucky. Also, where I got the puncture, I had to go round the whole lap, so not ideal.

"We knew it was going to be a long stint on the hard tyres and of course I was trying to put pressure on Lewis.

"I started to get more and more vibration, I reported that and then at the end I had it in my mind there could be an issue, so I started to manage it a bit. But it happened so suddenly, and I didn't really predict it happening."

With soft compounds to be fitted and warmer weather forecast at the same circuit next weekend, Bottas says teams will have to adopt different strategies.

He added: "It's going to be an issue for everyone. One stop is not going to happen with the compounds we have next week, so I'm sure there is going to be lots of things learned from this weekend, but we need to move on I guess."

Max Verstappen was left feeling "lucky and unlucky" after a late tactical move from Red Bull saw him miss out on victory at Silverstone to Lewis Hamilton.

Mercedes driver Hamilton had controlled much of the British Grand Prix after qualifying in pole position as he claimed a sixth win at the circuit in seven years.

However, a final-lap puncture put his chances of victory under serious threat, the Brit's front-left tyre giving out shortly after team-mate Valtteri Bottas had dropped out of the points due to the same problem.

Verstappen was suddenly presented with a chance of hauling in Hamilton but Red Bull called him in for a late tyre change to give him a shot at the fastest lap, and the Dutch driver was just unable to catch Hamilton as he limped over the line.

"It's lucky and unlucky," Verstappen told Sky Sports after the race.

"The tyres didn't look great with 10 laps to go and I was already on the radio. Then Valtteri got a puncture so I came on the radio and said, 'I'm going to back it out'. Then, of course, they boxed me to go for the fastest lap.

"Then, unfortunately, Lewis got a puncture himself. But I'm very happy with second, it's a very good result for us."

The tyre drama allowed Charles Leclerc to snatch third place, the Ferrari driver delighted to have capitalised on a slice of good fortune.

"It was a very, very tricky race," he said. "As soon as I heard that Valtteri had a tyre problem, I slowed down quite a lot, but then I think Carlos [Sainz] had it a lap later and then Lewis a lap later.

"On that, we've been lucky, but apart from that, I think we've done the best we could have done today. I'm very happy with the way I managed the tyres from the beginning to the end, very happy with the balance of the car, so the potential, the performance of the car is not where we want it to be but today we took every opportunity and I'm very happy."

Lewis Hamilton admitted he had never experienced anything to compare with the dramatic finish to the British Grand Prix that saw him take the chequered flag with a flat tyre.

The six-time Formula One champion looked comfortable at Silverstone as he closed in on a seventh win in his home race.

However, a dramatic finale saw Hamilton almost caught by Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who was just 5.856 seconds adrift at the end.

Hamilton suspected he was having trouble with his front left on the final lap, before it blew out completely, leaving him to complete the race on three tyres.

He claimed to feel in control all the way but joked that his "heart nearly stopped" amid the excitement of the closing moments.

"Up until that last lap everything was relatively smooth sailing," Hamilton told Sky Sports.

"The tyres looked great. Valtteri [Bottas, his Mercedes team-mate] was really pushing incredibly hard. I was doing some management of that tyre, he looked like he wasn't doing any, so when I heard that his tyre went I was just looking at mine and everything seemed fine.

"The car was still turning no problem, so I was thinking maybe it was okay. The last few laps I started to back off and then just down the straight it just deflated. I noticed the shape just shift a little bit.

"That was definitely heart-in-the-mouth kind of feeling! Just driving and trying to keep the speed up - sometimes it'll take off and break the wing.

"Oh my god, I was just praying to get around and not be too slow. I nearly didn't get around the last few corners. I really owe it to the team."

Christian Horner, boss of the Red Bull team, told Channel 4 that "Lewis' luck rolls with him at the moment".

Toto Wolff, Hamilton's team chief at Mercedes, called it a "bittersweet result" after Bottas fell out of the points after looking set for second place.

Hamilton was the coolest man on the track.

"I was really chill for some reason at the end," Hamilton said.

"In my mind I was thinking, 'How far is it to the end of the lap?'.

"I could hear the gap coming down from 19 [seconds] to 10 so I was giving it the full gas out of [corner] 15 down to 16 and then the thing wasn't stopping.

"Oh my god, I have definitely never experienced anything like that on a last lap and my heart definitely probably nearly stopped.

"That's probably how cool I was because my heart nearly stopped."

Lewis Hamilton continued his dominance of the British Grand Prix despite suffering a last-lap puncture, though a blown tyre was costly for Valtteri Bottas in a dramatic finish. 

Hamilton dominated for the most part having started on pole position, winning the race for a sixth time in seven years to increase his record tally of victories at Silverstone. 

Yet he was in danger of missing out on a seventh victory of his career at the famous circuit when he suffered a puncture, just as he looked to be cruising to a third successive race triumph in the 2020 season. 

The Brit was forced to limp home on three tyres, with Max Verstappen second after pitting following Bottas' mishap with two laps to go. 

Verstappen may well have claimed victory had he not been called in, with Red Bull looking to clock the fastest lap, but had to settle for second, while Bottas ended up back in 11th place.

Nico Hulkenberg was unable to start the British Grand Prix on Sunday just two days after being drafted in as an emergency replacement by Racing Point.

Hulkenberg was hurriedly secured to take Sergio Perez's place at Silverstone after the Mexican driver tested positive for coronavirus.

The 32-year-old was set to start in 13th but was not on the grid for lights out due to an issue with his car.

Mechanics worked frantically to try and ensure Hulkenberg could make his comeback, but a whirlwind few days ended in disappointment.

Following his late call-up on Friday, Hulkenberg said: "The last 24 hours have been a bit special, crazy and wild.

"[At] 4:30pm yesterday afternoon I got the call, took the plane here, seat fitted until 2:00am, 8:00am this morning into the simulator for an hour, bit of prep work – so it was a short night, but all worthwhile."

Lewis Hamilton will once again start from the front of the grid as he goes in search of a third straight win in 2020 at the British Grand Prix.

The six-time world champion posted a new lap record at Silverstone to finish Q3 in front of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who is the only other driver to record a victory so far this year.

It will be the 71st edition of the famous race - seeing it move out of a tie with the Italian Grand Prix for most appearances on the Formula One calendar - and Mercedes are chasing a seventh win since 2013 at the track.

No driver has done so more often at the venue than Hamilton, with six to his name. He will be a red-hot favourite to add to that tally on Sunday and, in the process, extend his advantage in the drivers' standings.

Can anyone not named Bottas possibly deny the Briton yet another home triumph?


WHAT HAPPENED IN QUALIFYING

There were two battles going on during qualifying. While the Mercedes duo contested pole, the rest battled it out to decide the order behind the obvious front row.

Hamilton did have cause for concern when he spun in Q2, yet recovered impressively to set a new lap record in the next session - a time he then bettered on his final attempt as he finished 0.313 seconds clear of Bottas.

Worryingly for those hoping to see another team mount a challenge, Max Verstappen was over a second adrift in third place in his Red Bull, with team-mate Alex Albon struggling to 12th.

Ferrari received a much-needed boost as Charles Leclerc claimed fourth place, though Sebastian Vettel's struggles continued. The German was slowest of the group involved in Q3 after having his fastest time deleted and will start the race on the softer tyres compared to his team-mate, too.

Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz were fifth and seventh respectively for McLaren, Racing Point's Lance Stroll splitting the pair. Meanwhile, Nico Hulkenberg - summoned to make a comeback at short notice to stand in for Sergio Perez, who tested positive for COVID-19 - will start from 13th position.


THE STARTING GRID 

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
5. Lando Norris (McLaren) 6. Lance Stroll (Racing Point)
7. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) 8. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault)
9. Esteban Ocon (Renault) 10. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 
11. Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri) 12. Alex Albon (Red Bull)
13. Nico Hulkenberg (Racing Point) 14. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
15. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) 16.  Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)
17. Romain Grosjean (Haas) 18. Daniil Kvyat (Alpha Tauri)
19. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)  20. George Russell (Williams)

BRITISH GRAND PRIX TALKING POINTS

Hamilton clearly relishes the chance to drive in his own back yard. While there will be no crowd to cheer him on due to these unprecedented times, he is racing for the chance of yet more history.

A 91st career pole has him primed to break clear of a tie with Alain Prost for the most victories by a driver at a home race. In terms of the season as a whole, Mercedes are turning the constructors' title into a procession, such is their complete dominance.

"I guess we're not making many new friends," team principal Toto Wolff said afterwards. Of course, it is all about gathering points to win the prizes, rather than a popularity contest, but the rest of the paddock should be seriously concerned by what they have seen from the Silver Arrows so far.

Still, the most successful team historically at Silverstone has been Ferrari, albeit they seem a way off competing this time. The Scuderia have recorded just one podium finish in the opening three races, their worst start to a campaign since 2014.


WHAT THE DRIVERS SAID

Lewis Hamilton (pole): "Valtteri was pushing me right to the end. It was a real struggle out there. We had that spin, I was struggling through the first section. I managed to compose myself. The first Q3 lap was clean and the second was even better. We're still powering ahead, we're not resting on the performance that we have, we're trying to push the boundaries and the limits and that's the most impressive thing about this team."

Valtteri Bottas (2nd): "For me, the balance was shifting more and more towards oversteer as the session went on. Maybe the track temperature was getting high, I don't know. He [Hamilton] had a great lap in the end, a better lap than mine. It's still very close between us in the championship points, so of course I'm going to do everything I can and of course will look overnight with the engineers what we can do and if there’s anything different I can do. Last year [Hamilton won from second] with a pretty different strategy to mine [from pole]."

Max Verstappen (3rd): "I had a pretty good qualifying lap and starting third gives us the chance to fight for a good race result. We just hope to have a clean start and from there onwards I just try to do the best I can in the car and if that is just try to follow them a bit, we can be happy with that and score some points."

 

Lando Norris (5th): "It was very difficult with the wind – the cars are so sensitive. I'm very happy – it was better than I thought I could do. I think we out-qualified a few cars that are quicker than us, but that is only going to make Sunday's race more difficult. We have to convert it into a good result at my home race."

Sebastian Vettel (10th): "I struggled to find the rhythm. The car was not too bad, but it didn’t fit me. We made it to Q3, but with the wrong tyre, and then we didn’t make enough progress in Q3, so not a good day. We have to start with the soft tyre, which is probably not good news. Nevertheless, I’ll try everything I can, we’ll see what we could get."

Nico Hulkenberg (13th): "I feel there was more potential and I didn't get everything, but given the circumstances it is also very hard. I don't know if you can expect to get 100 per cent from the car. We were so close to making it to Q3, and I'm happy with that considering I've come in from the cold this weekend! It's a big ask after eight months away to come back and jump into a completely different environment – and into a Formula One car I've never driven before and immediately perform with a challenging circuit and conditions."


CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 63
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 58
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) - 33
4. Lando Norris (McLaren) – 26
5= Alex Albon (Red Bull) - 22
5= Sergio Perez (Racing Point) - 22

Constructors 

1. Mercedes – 121
2. Red Bull – 55
3. McLaren - 41
4. Racing Point – 40
5. Ferrari – 27

Lewis Hamilton needed deep breaths and composure to recover from a dramatic qualifying spin and claim pole position for the British Grand Prix.

Six-time Formula One world champion and 2020 standings leader Hamilton beat Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas by a comfortable margin of 0.313 seconds on Saturday.

But his two fine laps in Q3, including a track-record effort, came after he spun at Luffield in the second session, the debris caused by the incident bringing out the red flag at Silverstone.

That mishap, coupled with Bottas coming out on top in FP3, Q1 and Q2, meant Hamilton was up against it before taking a record seventh pole on home soil.

"Obviously there's a relatively big gap between us and third place, but it doesn't matter - Valtteri is pushing me right to the limit," Hamilton said after qualifying, with Mercedes' rivals over one second adrift.

"He's been doing such a fantastic job all weekend - I made some changes going into qualifying and it was worse, it was a real struggle out there. 

"This track is awesome because with a gust of wind, you have a tailwind and headwind and crosswind across the circuit so it's like juggling balls on a moving plate, at high speed!

"Obviously we had that spin. Qualifying is a lot about confidence building and man, I was already down and down in the first sector every lap. 

"I don't know how, but I took some deep breaths and managed to compose myself. Q3 still wasn't perfect but still a really clean lap, and the second one even better. It never gets old that's for sure."

Asked about the absence of his home supporters, Hamilton added: "You normally have sirens and flags and smoke and the atmosphere is buzzing. 

"We definitely miss the fans. Hopefully back home they enjoyed it."

Bottas was not giving up on his chances for the race as he hopes to reverse the result of last year when he claimed pole only to be beaten on the Sunday by Hamilton.

"It was a pretty good qualifying up until Q3," said the Finn. "I felt pretty good with the car but in Q3 I started to drift a bit more than I wanted with the rear end. We need to look into it.

"Lewis found a bit more than I did, but my performance has been pretty good this weekend.

"Lewis won it here last year from second place with a different strategy to me so hopefully I will get opportunities. Everything is still wide open for the race."

Max Verstappen was third for Red Bull and seemed resigned to battling to be the best of the rest unless the Mercedes cars run into unexpected issues.

"You could see early in qualifying Mercedes are way too fast, as they have been the last three races," said the Dutchman, who was 1.022s adrift of Hamilton. 

"You just have to expect that and do the best you can, and that's P3. I may not be able to fight them but we are little bit closer in the race and at least you have a fighting chance starting third.

"The newer cars are very sensitive to the wind, low speed corners and they become like a completely different car. But it was fun to drive."

Charles Leclerc was fourth for Ferrari, while Sebastian Vettel was a disappointing 10th and Verstappen's team-mate Alex Albon had to settle for 12th.

Lewis Hamilton continued his fine Formula One form by beating Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas to pole position on home soil at the British Grand Prix.

Having overcome a spin in Q2, Hamilton produced two impressive laps in Q3 and a track-record time of 1:24.303 put him 0.313 seconds clear of Bottas at Silverstone.

The Finn had been fastest in FP3 and the first two sessions of qualifying but had no answer when it mattered.

Max Verstappen was third for Red Bull with Charles Leclerc taking fourth for Ferrari, with both those cars over a second behind Hamilton, who came into the event on the back of two straight wins.

Lando Norris caught the eye again to take fifth for McLaren, with Racing Point's Lance Stroll separating him from team-mate Carlos Sainz.

Renault duo Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon took eighth and ninth, the latter promoted above Sebastian Vettel, whose second lap time was deleted due to exceeding track limits.

As well as being a poor day for Vettel, there was more frustration for Alex Albon as he failed to reach the final shoot-out and finished 12th.

That was one place ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, who is standing in for Sergio Perez at Racing Point after the Mexican's positive coronavirus test.

Along with Albon and Hulkenberg missing out, there was further drama in Q2 as Hamilton spun at Luffield, spraying gravel onto the track which led to a red flag.

Fortunately for the championship leader, he was able to continue with the damage to his car not significant.

He later looked relieved after taking what ultimately proved to be a comfortable seventh British Grand Prix pole, improving on a record he already holds.
 

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:24.303
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0.313s
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +1.022s
4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +1.124s
5. Lando Norris (McLaren) +1.479s
6. Lance Stroll (Racing Point)  +1.536s
7. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) +1.662s
8. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) +1.706s
9. Esteban Ocon (Renault) +1.906s
10. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +2.036s

Racing Point chief Otmar Szafnauer absolved Sergio Perez of blame after the driver's positive coronavirus test, but he suggested Formula One should consider implementing a permanent 'bubble' this season.

Perez will miss this weekend's British Grand Prix having contracted COVID-19 between the Hungarian Grand Prix two weeks ago and the latest round at Silverstone.

During that time he returned to Mexico to visit his mother, who had been in hospital.

The 30-year-old, whose seat for this week has been filled by Nico Hulkenberg, said he had followed all the protocols and Szafnauer defended his driver's trip, despite Mexico being one of the worst-affected countries by the global pandemic.

"I think it's no different to Ferrari going back to Italy," Szafnauer said in a video news conference.

"There are many people that are in hotspots all around the world. A big contingent of our factory live in Northampton, and Northampton was shut down as well."

In other sports, such as basketball and cricket, organisations have implemented 'bubbles' which players and support staff must remain within between competing to minimise the risk of someone contracting coronavirus.

Szafnauer sees the merit in such a method, even if F1 operates within bubbles at actual races.

"In hindsight, perhaps we should look at that, change the code and say throughout the season you stay within your bubble," said the Racing Point team principal and CEO.

"I don't know. That's something for the FIA [motorsport's world governing body] to consider."

Even without Perez, Racing Point had a fine day at Silverstone on Friday as Lance Stroll was fastest of all drivers in the Free Practice 2 session.

Hulkenberg, whose return was only confirmed on Friday morning, placed seventh.

Nico Hulkenberg will make his return to the Formula One grid with Racing Point this weekend as Sergio Perez's replacement for the British Grand Prix.

It was confirmed on Thursday that Perez would be unable to race at Silverstone having tested positive for coronavirus, meaning he would have to self-isolate along with some members of the Racing Point team.

Racing Point needed another driver to join Lance Stroll for the fourth round of the 2020 season and have called in Hulkenberg.

The 32-year-old, who has started 177 grands prix but never finished on the podium, had been without a seat after leaving Renault following the 2019 season.

Hulkenberg has familiarity with the team having raced for Racing Point's previous incarnation Force India in 2012 and between 2014 and 2016.

A statement from Racing Point read: "Nico's experience of racing in contemporary Formula One and his strong track record ensure he is the ideal driver to stand in for Sergio Perez this weekend.

"In a bid to minimise disruption and ensure the best possible chance of building upon the team's strong start to the 2020 campaign, Nico's familiarity with the team will prove invaluable."

Having seen Racing Point call in a veteran driver for the race, former F1 world champion Jenson Button - who has not raced in the sport since 2017 - jokingly tweeted: ".@RacingPointF1 Have you lost my number?"

Prior to the Hulkenberg announcement, Perez explained he had returned home to Mexico to see his mother after she was involved in an accident, and the 30-year-old was unsure how he had contracted COVID-19.

"I'm extremely sad, definitely one of the saddest days in my career," he said in a video posted on his Twitter account.

"The amount of preparation that we put into this weekend - to be 100 per cent ready for it - I know I had a great car, that the team had done a fantastic job, I'm really sad that this happened. But it does show how vulnerable we all are to this virus. 

"I followed all the instructions from the FIA, from my team. After Hungary we prepared a plane to go to Mexico to see my mum for two days because she had an accident.

"As soon as she left hospital I was able to see her. Then I came back to Europe the same way, with all the protocols in place, and I just got [coronavirus], I don't know from where. 

"I have no symptoms at all so it just shows how vulnerable we all are to this."

Racing Point diver Sergio Perez will play no part in this weekend's British Grand Prix after testing positive for coronavirus.

The 30-year-old had earlier returned an inconclusive COVID-19 test and was absent from the Silverstone paddock on Thursday in line with precautionary measures.

The test has now come back positive and Perez, sixth in the drivers' standings after three rounds, will self-isolate along with a small group of Racing Point team members.

Perez is the first driver to test positive since the delayed 2020 season began earlier this month.

A statement from Formula One read: "With assistance of the local organiser of the British Grand Prix, local health authorities and the FIA COVID-19 delegate, a full track and trace initiative has been undertaken and all close contacts have been quarantined.

"The procedures set out by the FIA and Formula One have provided for swift containment of an incident that will have no wider impact on this weekend's event."

Racing Point confirmed they still intend to enter two cars this weekend, with either of their reserve drivers Stoffel Vandoorne or Esteban Gutierrez – a duo they share with the factory team of engine supplier Mercedes for testing duties – expected to step in.

"Sergio is physically well and in good spirits, but he will continue to self-isolate under the guidelines of the relevant public health authorities, with safety the ultimate priority for the team and the sport," the Silverstone-based team said.

"The entire team wishes Sergio well and looks forward to welcoming him back into the cockpit of the RP20 soon.

"Our intention is to race two cars on Sunday. We will communicate the next steps for our British Grand Prix weekend in due course."

Racing Point diver Sergio Perez will play no part in this weekend's British Grand Prix after testing positive for coronavirus.

 

Racing Point driver Sergio Perez is in self-isolation after he returned an inconclusive coronavirus test ahead of the British Grand Prix.

All personnel who are attending races must undergo testing for the virus, which caused the suspension of the Formula One season – along with sport around the globe – in March.

On Thursday, Racing Point confirmed Perez was not at Silverstone after an inconclusive test result.

It has also been confirmed a small group of Racing Point team members, who had been in contact with Perez, were also isolating and would – along with the driver – be re-tested in line with standard procedure.

Prior to this incident, there have been no positive or inconclusive tests since the 2020 season got started in Austria on July 5.

Perez is sixth in the drivers standings after three races on 22 points, level with Alex Albon of Red Bull.

Lewis Hamilton says the absence of Formula One crowds makes little difference once he is "in the zone", but he is concerned there may be few opportunities left to soak up his "insane" Silverstone support.

Six-time world champion Hamilton is again at the top of the drivers' championship as the delayed 2020 season heads to the British Grand Prix this weekend.

It is the first of two Silverstone events on consecutive weekends, but there will be no paying spectators present due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hamilton, who is now 35, will miss his home support, while the recognition his career is coming towards a close makes the behind-closed-doors nature of the race especially painful.

"Absolutely, the atmosphere, for me, is night-and-day different," said Hamilton, who has a record six British GP wins.

"At Silverstone, there's nothing like it. The whole year, it's the highlight of my year, the support is insane.

"It grows every year and I get to interact with the fans differently on that weekend and it's such an honour and privilege to be able to perform well and win a grand prix in your home country."

He told Sky Sports: "It feels great to be out there, because once you're in the zone, you're in the zone. But I really do miss the energy [the fans] bring.

"At Silverstone, for sure - I don't have a lot of years left and that's going to be one year that I miss all the fans.

"But I do want them to stay safe and we're in that period of time where safety is everything."

The opening eight races of the truncated 2020 Formula One season have been confirmed, with Spielberg and Silverstone hosting two each.

All of the events are provisionally slated to be held behind closed doors and "under the strongest safety procedures", according to a statement published on F1's official Twitter account.

It also said further races will be announced in the coming weeks as the sport emerges from a coronavirus-enforced shutdown. 

The campaign will begin with the Austrian Grand Prix on July 5, with the teams remaining at the site for another event the following weekend.

After a race in Hungary on July 19, there will be a week off before a double-header on successive weekends at the home of the British Grand Prix.

The Spanish Grand Prix will take place on August 16, before events at Spa and Monza on August 30 and September 6 respectively.

F1's 2020 season had been scheduled to begin with the Australian Grand Prix in March but the event was cancelled when a member of the McLaren garage tested positive for coronavirus.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a further nine races being postponed, with events in the Netherlands, Monaco and France all being written off.

It is still hoped rescheduled events can go ahead in Australia, Bahrain, Vietnam, China, Azerbaijan and Canada.

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