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Vettel triumphant in the battle of Silverstone

10 July, 2018, 04:01 | Author: Candice Daniels
  • Ocon happy to be back among the top 10 where he belongs

Championship leader Sebastian Vettel hit Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas at the first corner of the French Grand Prix, forcing both to return to the pits to fix damage and fight from the back.

Hamilton had surged back with a display of overtaking pace the watching Lord Coe, would have been proud of in his athletics heyday to take second place behind Sebastian Vettel in the other Ferrari. "The race was fantastic", Vettel said after claiming his fourth win of the season.

Sebastian Vettel, who re-takes the championship lead after winning at Silverstone, called the accusations of deliberate Ferrari sabotage "silly".

Two Safety Car periods played into Hamilton's hands, as well as giving Mercedes' teammate Valtteri Bottas a shot at victory, only for the two-stopping Vettel to recover the lead with five laps remaining en route to his 51st career win.

The Ferrari driver hit the Mercedes man on the opening lap sending the world champion into a spin.

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 vehicle. It nevertheless marked an impressive drive from the 2007 world champion following his earlier penalty.

Hamilton expressed doubt about competing against Ferrari's new tires but was told over team radio: "Lewis, you are the fastest auto by miles". Vettel finished fifth that day with Bottas seventh while Hamilton won. Hamilton was able to pull out some quick laps, yet Vettel was quick to respond, keeping his rival at an arm's length.

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"It was a super start, a super race and, yeah, a hammer finish", Vettel said.

However, questions will again be asked about Mercedes' tactics after deciding not to pit to replace the tires.

The safety auto was out again after Romain Grosjean and Carlos Sainz collided.

Vettel's best chance came on Lap 47 when he was able to gain six-tenths through the first sector before popping DRS open on the Wellington Straight. Bottas, still on medium tires, was soon struggling, and Ferrari was celebrating when Raikkonen went past to go third.

Bottas was fourth with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo fifth and Nico Hulkenberg sixth for Renault. The New Zealander crashed spectacularly in Saturday's final practice. "I am sorry I could not bring it home for you today".

"I came here to clarify, if he actually said something like that", said Arrivabene, speaking to Sky Italia about Allison, who left Ferrari in mid-2016 and joined Mercedes in 2017. "I gave him enough space but that was not enough: we still made contact and I lost the place".

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