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British GP: Vettel wins Silverstone thriller

9th Jul 2018 1:59 pm

Hamilton recovers from first-lap collision with Raikkonen to finish his home race in second place.

Sebastian Vettel has extended his championship lead, pulling off an attack on Valtteri Bottas in the concluding laps to win the 2018 British GP. The Ferrari driver now holds an eight-point lead over Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ championship standings.  

Hamilton, meanwhile, salvaged a second place finish after a collision with Kimi Raikkonen dropped him to the back of the field at the beginning of the race – an incident for which the Finnish driver was handed a 10-second time penalty.

Vettel had already assumed the lead of the race, after jumping Hamilton at the start, and went on to build a commanding gap over Bottas in the first stint. However, Bottas began to chip away at Vettel as the Ferrari struggled with its tyres; the lead was down to 4.8sec when Vettel stopped on lap 20 with Bottas following him a lap later. Bottas started to further close the gap to Vettel over the next few laps, bringing it down to 2.4sec when Marcus Ericsson triggered a safety car on lap 32. The Sauber driver 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.

While Vettel, Raikkonen and Max Verstappen headed into the pits under the safety car for soft tyres, Mercedes decided to keep both drivers out on track. Daniel Ricciardo had already made his second pit stop just before the safety car was deployed and was in sixth place. At the re-start, Bottas gunned the throttle at the end of the Hangar Straight on lap 37 and kept Vettel at bay, as Raikkonen and Verstappen engaged in a fierce fight that went the way of the Red Bull.

The race was neutralised again moments later for an accident at Copse between Carlos Sainz Jr and Romain Grosjean, when Sainz attacked on the outside but Grosjean suffered a wobble at the apex. The safety car's second appearance lasted three laps, setting up an 11-lap sprint at the end.

Bottas once again pulled away from Vettel at the re-start but came under attack into the Brooklands left-hander at the end of the Wellington Straight three laps in row. He held on until lap 47, when Vettel took advantage of a slight wobble from Bottas exiting The Loop onto the Wellington Straight, and drafted him towards Brooklands before diving inside very late as Bottas failed to cover the inside line. That released Vettel into a lead he would hold to the end, while Hamilton forced his way inside Bottas at Brooklands a lap later.

Raikkonen cleared Verstappen before the Red Bull driver retired with a long-standing brake-by-wire problem then blew past Bottas for third on the outside into Brooklands using DRS. Bottas managed to keep Ricciardo at bay to finish fourth, with Nico Hulkenberg finishing sixth for Renault after taking advantage of the messy first lap to jump five places.

Force India's Esteban Ocon was a quiet but excellent seventh, as Fernando Alonso passed Magnussen in a fiery late fight to finish eighth. Pierre Gasly claimed the final point in 10th place for Toro Rosso.

Race result

POS

DRIVER

CAR

LAPS

GAP

1

Sebastian Vettel

Ferrari

52

1h27m29.784s

2

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes

52

2.264s

3

Kimi Raikkonen

Ferrari

52

3.652s

4

Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes

52

8.883s

5

Daniel Ricciardo

Red Bull/Renault

52

9.500s

6

Nico Hulkenberg

Renault

52

28.220s

7

Esteban Ocon

Force India/Mercedes

52

29.930s

8

Fernando Alonso

McLaren/Renault

52

31.115s

9

Kevin Magnussen

Haas/Ferrari

52

33.188s

10

Sergio Perez

Force India/Mercedes

52

34.708s

11

Stoffel Vandoorne

McLaren/Renault

52

35.774s

12

Lance Stroll

Williams/Mercedes

52

38.106s

13

Pierre Gasly

Toro Rosso/Honda

52

39.129s

14

Sergey Sirotkin

Williams/Mercedes

52

48.113s

15

Max Verstappen

Red Bull/Renault

46

Not running

-

Romain Grosjean

Haas/Ferrari

37

Collision

-

Carlos Sainz

Renault

37

Collision

-

Marcus Ericsson

Sauber/Ferrari

31

Spun off

-

Charles Leclerc

Sauber/Ferrari

18

Retirement

-

Brendon Hartley

Toro Rosso/Honda

1

Power Unit

 

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