Vettel wins British GP; Hamilton spunposted in F108 | 07 | 2018

    ANY HOPES LEWIS HAMILTON had of winning the British Grand Prix at Silverstone were scuppered on the opening lap when his Mercedes was tapped into a spin by the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel won the race to open an eight-point lead over Hamilton, who battled back from last place to finish second, in the championship. (Related: Verstappen wins as Mercedes implodes)

    Polesitter Hamilton made a poor start, allowing the two Ferraris to mount a challenge. While Vettel eased into the lead, Raikkonen locked his right-front tyre at the tight Turn 3 right-hander at Village, ran wide and tapped the Mercedes rear right tyre.(Related: Hamilton dominates French GP)

    While Hamilton was pitched into a spin, Raikkonen continued behind both Red Bulls. The Finn was eventually handed a 10-second penalty. At the front, Vettel quickly established a six-second lead over the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.


    By lap six, Hamilton had charged through the field and was back into the points. Four laps later he was sixth, though he was still more than a pitstop behind the leading cars. And as Vettel began to struggle with his tyres — especially his front left — Bottas closed the gap to 4.8secs. (Related: Vettel dominates Canadian GP)

    Vettel pitted on lap 20, with the Mercedes driver following a lap later and the Finn quickly set about again closing the gap to the lead Ferrari. But just as Bottas had closed the gap to 2.4s, Marcus Ericsson lost the rear of his car when he turned into the first corner with DRS still open and flew across the gravel and nose-first into the tyres.


    The incident triggered a full safety car on lap 32 of the scheduled 52. Ferrari again reacted immediately by pitting Vettel. Seven days after its strategic error in Austria,  Mercedes again elected not to pit Bottas, instead telling him to stay out and claim track position.

    Hamilton too stayed out and the Englishman moved up to third as Max Verstappen and Raikkonen also pitted. Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull remained in sixth as the safety car was called just after he had made a second stop.


    Bottas now lead on the restart on lap 37, but he was immediately under pressure from Vettel’s Ferrari which was fitted with new tyres. But seconds after fending off the fast-charging Ferrari at the end of the Hangar Straight, the  race was again neutralised after an accident at Copse between Carlos Sainz Jr and Romain Grosjean. Both cars were pitched into the gravel after contact, but fortunately both drivers were unscathed.


    That triggered another safety car, which lasted three laps, and set up a nailbiting 11-lap sprint to the chequered flag.

    Both flew off-track and into retirement, with Grosjean ending a miserable race that started with him dropping out of the points on the opening lap thanks to a collision with team-mate Kevin Magnussen.

    The safety car's second appearance lasted three laps, setting up an 11-lap sprint at the end with Bottas, Vettel, Raikkonen and Hamilton all covered by less than two seconds over the thrilling closing laps.


    Bottas again fended off the Ferrari, but on lap 47 Vettel surprised the Finn — after the Mercedes driver wobbled slightly exiting The Loop on to the Wellington Straight — drafting him towards Brooklands before diving inside very late as Bottas failed to cover the inside line.

    It was a lead the German four-times world champ would hold to the chequered flag. Hamilton managed to pass Bottas for second, while Raikkonen then eased passed his countryman to take the final step on the podium.


    While Bottas finished fourth, Max Verstappen had looked on course for a comfortable fifth place before retiring late on with a long-standing brake-by-wire problem. Team-mate Ricciardo finished fifth, ahead of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg.

    The final four points-scoring placed went to The Force India of Esteban Ocon, followed by the McLaren of Fernando Alonso, with the Haas of Kevin Magnussen ninth and Ocon’s team-mate Sergio Perez 10th.


    F1 — British Grand Prix, Silverstone (Result):

    1. Sebastian Vettel GER Scuderia Ferrari 52 laps

    2. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport +2.264s

    3. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Scuderia Ferrari +3.652s

    4. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport +8.883s

    5. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Aston Martin Red Bull Racing +9.500s

    6. Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault Sport Formula One Team +28.220s

    7. Esteban Ocon FRA Sahara Force India F1 Team +29.930s

    8. Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren F1 Team +31.115s

    9. Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas F1 Team +33.188s

    10. Sergio Perez MEX Sahara Force India F1 Team +34.708s

    11. Stoffel Vandoorne BEL McLaren F1 Team +35.774s

    12. Lance Stroll CAN Williams Martini Racing +38.106s

    13. Pierre Gasly FRA Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda +39.129s*

    14. Sergey Sirotkin RUS Williams Martini Racing +48.113s

    15. Max Verstappen NED Aston Martin Red Bull Racing +1 lap


    Carlos Sainz Jr. ESP Renault Sport Formula One Team

    Romain Grosjean FRA Haas F1 Team

    Marcus Ericsson SWE Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team

    Charles Leclerc MON Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team

    Brendon Hartley NZL Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda

    *Pierre Gasly handed five-second time penalty for clashing with Sergio Perez

    Related: Scot Sandy Mitchell claims debut Blancpain GT win

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    Jim McGill


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