Sebastian Vettel wins British Grand Prix to extend title lead

Ross Houston
July 9, 2018

It was Ferrari's first win in Britain since 2011.

It was the second time in three races that a Ferrari driver had been at fault for colliding with a Mercedes auto on an opening lap.

Raikkonen dropped to fifth position during the second Safety Car period but profited from a brake-by-wire problem for Max Verstappen to overhaul the Red Bull driver, before passing compatriot Valtteri Bottas. I was last but I still believed I could win and I had to keep that mentality to get back up there.

Bottas had held Vettel off on a number of occasions but the championship leader then pulled off a sublime late dive to the inside at Brooklands to force his way through (pictured above) and escape up the road, with Bottas then fading as Hamilton and Raikkonen also found a way through.

Ricciardo is fourth on 104 points, with Bottas sitting just two points below him.

Hamilton rushed back into the mix for a podium spot with the majority of runners picking a one-stop strategy until Marcus Ericsson lost control of his Sauber at Turn 1, and his fierce shunt into the tyre barrier brought out a lap 33 safety auto. Ericsson tried to keep DRS open through the corner, only for his vehicle to spear into the barrier at high speed.

The Swede was unhurt and climbed out to applause from the crowd as a Safety Car was deployed.

Ferrari was quick to react, bringing both Vettel and Raikkonen in for a fresh set of Soft tyres.

Red Bull racer Max Verstappen says the power deficit between his auto and that of Mercedes and Ferrari was "tragic" and that "on the straights it's like you are driving in a different series".

Vettel now leads the title race with 171 points, eight ahead of Hamilton on 163 while Raikkonen is third on 116.

The race was neutralised again moments later for an accident at Copse between Carlos Sainz and Romain Grosjean, when Sainz attacked on the outside but Grosjean suffered a wobble at the apex.

Hamilton struggled to get away from pole and fell behind the Ferrari driver.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff also wondered whether the incident that sent Hamilton into a spin before he fought back to second at the finish, had been deliberate or simply a sign of incompetence.

Wolff's comments came after Hamilton had pointed at Ferrari.

Speaking on the podium today, Hamilton said: "Interesting tactics, I would say, from their side, but we'll do what we can to fight them and improve in the next races".

Asked if it was because of the first-lap clash, Hamilton said: "Not at all. No".

Ferrari F1 team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said the Silverstone British Grand Prix was "good for Formula 1" with both Ferraris and both Mercedes duking it out at the front in the closing stages of the race.

Vettel has emerged the clear victor from F1's first-ever triple header of races having led Hamilton by a point going into the French GP on June 24. It nevertheless marked an impressive drive from the 2007 world champion following his earlier penalty.

Mercedes drivers also pick up a single handicap point for having the quickest vehicle, while Williams get 10 for having the worst.

Fernando Alonso was the leading midfield driver on a two-stop strategy, finishing the race eighth.

An instant classic: This season's races seem to be swinging between tiresome processions and brilliant, memorable duels for the win. Pierre Gasly was 10th for Toro Rosso. Perez had recovered from a freakish first-corner spin that saw him nearly take out the cars starting in the pit lane to finish the race 11th for Force India.

Vettel finished 2.264 seconds ahead of Hamilton.

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