Vettel wins British Grand Prix to extend world title lead
July 08 2018 06:12 PM
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel celebrates after winning the British Grand Prix
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel celebrates after winning the British Grand Prix

Dpa/Silverstone, England

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel landed a blow in the Formula One world championship by winning rival Lewis Hamilton's home British Grand Prix in a dramatic Silverstone race on Sunday.

Hamilton started his Mercedes badly from pole position and was hit by the other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen as he tried to cling on to third. He fell to 16th but recovered to second, ahead of Raikkonen who completed the podium.

Vettel in contrast was rewarded for a brilliant start in which he overtook Hamilton within metres on the opening straight. A late move on Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas, after two safety cars, then confirmed his 51st career victory.

It was championship leader Vettel's fourth win of the season and extends his advantage over Hamilton from one point in the standings to eight after 10 season races.

Hamilton started on a high after a dazzling final lap on Saturday brought pole position.

But like in Austria week ago he soon ran into trouble and his hopes of a record-breaking race were immediately over. A fifth consecutive home victory would have beaten Jim Clark's streak of four and his sixth win overall would have moved him beyond Clark and Alain Prost's record of five.

A slow start cost him places to Vettel and Bottas before Raikkonen ran into his rear and was given a 10-second time penalty.

Lapping well around the 5.891-kilometre course, Hamilton soon moved into the points and was 25 seconds off Vettel by lap 9, with the German 5 seconds ahead of Bottas at the front.

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. He lost ground by finishing fifth there, while Hamilton won, but has outscored the Brit 40-18 in the last two outings.

The pair hold four world titles each and going into his home German GP on July 22, Vettel is suddenly clear in the race for number five.

He pitted on lap 21, returned ahead of Hamilton on the track and in the lead once Bottas pitted a lap later.

Hamilton let Bottas, with fresh tyres, pass on lap 23 in an attempt to chase down Vettel over the remaining 29 laps.

 When Hamilton pitted on the 25th, he emerged sixth and emerged behind the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo until the Australian pitted again.

That was an unfortunate decision as Marcus Ericsson promptly smashed his Sauber at the Abbey corner, causing a 33rd lap safety car which prompted both Ferraris to pit for soft rubber.

The Mercedes pair stayed out on harder medium tyres with Bottas now leading from Vettel and Hamilton third.

Racing had scarcely resumed when Romain Grosjean (Haas) and Carlos Sainz (Renault) sparked another safety car by clashing at the high speed Copse corner, leaving a 10-lap sprint to the finish.

Bottas, Vettel, Hamilton and Raikkonen were all close enough to enable DRS in an astonishing finale. Bottas twice fended off Vettel, but finally fell to a surprise attack as his tyres gave out and he tumbled down to fourth.

Ricciardo ended fifth while Nico Huelkenberg (Renault), Esteban Ocon (Force India), Fernando Alonso (McLaren), Kevin Magnussen (Haas) and Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso) completing the points.

Sergio Perez (Force India), Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren), Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin (both Williams) also finished.

Brendon Hartley (Toro Rosso), Charles Leclerc (Sauber) and the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, who quit late on, failed to reach the end.

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