Sebastian Vettel wins at Silverstone

July 8 2018 , 3:37 pm

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel passed the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas to win a British Grand Prix full of action as Lewis Hamilton fought up from the back of the field to take second.

Hamilton drove superbly to recover from a first-lap collision with Vettel’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, and the result hinged on two late-race safety cars, on which the world champion’s Mercedes team took a strategic gamble.

Unlike rivals Ferrari and Red Bull, Mercedes chose not to pit both their drivers for fresh tyres at the first safety car intervention.

The decision promoted Bottas, who had run second from the start, to the lead ahead of Vettel, while it gained Hamilton two places on the track, promoting him to third ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Raikkonen.

It was a gamble that paid off for Hamilton, winning him crucial points in his title fight with Vettel, limiting the damage that could have been caused after the first lap, but failed with Bottas, who ran out of tyres and was passed by Vettel, Hamilton and Raikkonen before the end of the race.

Hamilton is eight points behind Vettel in the championship which is as tight as ever as the season approaches its halfway point.

What happened to Hamilton at the start?

In front of more than 100,000 fans at a packed Silverstone and in glorious summer weather, Hamilton’s race went wrong from the start.

He had taken a superb pole position, just edging out Vettel and Raikkonen, on Saturday, but had too much wheelspin off the line and immediately dropped behind Vettel and Bottas.

Coming into Turn Three, Hamilton was under pressure from Raikkonen. The Briton left the Finn a car’s width worth of room, but Raikkonen locked a front wheel and his front left wheel slid into Hamilton’s rear right, pitching the Mercedes into a spin.

The incident sent Hamilton to the back but he immediately set about picking off the backmarkers, benefiting from his car’s huge pace advantage and the three DRS overtaking zones.

By lap 10, Hamilton was up to sixth place, behind the other cars from the top three teams and he and Mercedes were starting to think about strategy.

What they said

“The safety car spiced it up,” Vettel said. “In the end, I surprised Valtteri. I wasn’t sure I would make the corner.”

Vettel had hurt his neck in Saturday practice and was wearing heat pads on it to minimise pain, but said it had not affected him in the race.

“It was fine,” he said. “The neck held up, the race was fantastic and what a great crowd. I enjoyed a lot. I think the people enjoyed a lot, what an amazing day.”

Raikkonen said: “I ended up hitting Lewis in the first corner. My bad. It was my mistake. I deserve it, and I took the 10 seconds and kept fighting.”

Hamilton paid tribute to the support of the crowd, and said: “We’ll take it on the chin and live to fight another day. I will not give up.”


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