Hamilton scores British Grand Prix victory as Ferrari hit puncture trouble

Lewis Hamilton was victorious at Silverstone after a dominant drive and with a late drama for his championship rival, the Mercedes star has slashed the points gap to Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to a single digit.

Hamilton led from lights to flag, crossing the line 14 seconds ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen completing the British Grand Prix podium.

There was late drama as Raikkonen and Vettel suffered front left tyre problems with three and two laps to go respectively, when running second and fourth.

Raikkonen pitted and rejoined to take third with Vettel – who had reported blistering after a big lock-up – falling right back to seventh position as he had to drive further on his wrecked tyre.

It was Hamilton’s fourth victory of the season, his fourth consecutive British Grand Prix win and fifth Formula 1 triumph at Silverstone.

At the start, Raikkonen challenged Hamilton into the first corner, but the leader held firm and set about building an advantage.

Vettel made a slow start, slipping behind Verstappen before retaking the position only for the Red Bull driver to go back past around him on the outside at the Loop.

The race was neutralised when the safety car was deployed to clear debris after Daniil Kvyat ran wide onto the grass, lost control and hit Toro Rosso team-mate Carlos Sainz.

At the restart, Hamilton pushed clear, first holding a steady gap to Raikkonen before putting the hammer down ahead of the pitstops.

Further back, Vettel put pressure on Verstappen, attacking down the inside of Stowe, only for the Red Bull to hold on around the outside.

Verstappen managed to stay ahead under braking for Vale, squeezing Vettel wide into the chicane and prompting the Ferrari driver to raise his hand in frustration.

Vettel was the first of the frontrunners to pit, with Red Bull reacting by bringing Verstappen in next time around.

But a problem with a wheelnut delayed Verstappen, meaning he rejoined behind Vettel and did not have the pace to respond.

Raikkonen pitted soon after, with Hamilton following suit on the next lap and rejoining comfortably in the lead, ahead of Bottas, who had yet to pit having run deep on softs after starting ninth following a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.

It wasn’t until lap 33 of 51 that Mercedes called in Bottas, the only driver in the top ten to start on the softs, in for the super-softs, and he rejoined fourth.

He used the fresher, softer rubber to gradually reduce the gap to Vettel and then launched an attack on the run to Club, but the Ferrari driver locked up and kept the position.

On the next lap, Bottas was much closer to Vettel on Hangar Straight and swept around the outside of Vettel with ease before they reached Stowe.

Bottas then inherited second when Raikkonen suffered the tyre issue, with Verstappen pitting late as a precaution and rejoining in fourth, ending a run of three successive retirements.

His team-mate Daniel Ricciardo produced an impressive recovery drive to take fifth, having started P19 after a series of grid penalties for engine component and gearbox changes and dropping to last early on having run into the gravel when trying to pass Kevin Magnussen.

Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg equalled his best finish of the season with sixth, losing out to Ricciardo late on, but his team-mate Jolyon Palmer failed to take the start after reporting brake-by-wire and hydraulic problems on the formation lap.

Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez gave Force India an eighth double points finish in ten races with eighth and ninth ahead of Felipe Massa. They had ended up in a three-way battle that developed as they queued behind the long-running Magnussen before the Haas finally pitted.

McLaren again failed to score – although Stoffel Vandoorne was not far behind Massa in P11. Fernando Alonso retired midway through the race having got up to P14 from his back of the grid start.

So a brilliant result for the home crowd favourite. That was an important victory for Lewis Hamilton in terms of the championship.

The late race drama from Ferrari was unfortunate. Both for the drivers and team. Kimi Raikkonen was heading for second position but a puncture cost The Iceman a runner-up spot. Third was the end result.

As for Sebastian Vettel. This was a difficult race, fighting against Max Verstappen. The championship leader also suffered a puncture, much to the delight of the Silverstone crowd. Sebastian dragged his Ferrari around to take seventh.

Only a single point between the Mercedes driver and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel as the title race hots up. It’s game on for the championship.

British Grand Prix race results, 51 laps:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1h21m27.430s
2    Valtteri Bottas    Mercedes    14.063s
3    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    36.570s
4    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    52.125s
5    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m05.955s
6    Nico Hulkenberg    Renault    1m08.109s
7    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m33.989s
8    Esteban Ocon    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
9    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
10    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1 Lap
11    Stoffel Vandoorne    McLaren-Honda    1 Lap
12    Kevin Magnussen    Haas-Ferrari    1 Lap
13    Romain Grosjean    Haas/Ferrari    1 Lap
14    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
15    Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Renault    1 Lap
16    Lance Stroll    Williams-Mercedes    1 Lap
17    Pascal Wehrlein    Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
–    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    Retirement
–    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    Collision
–    Jolyon Palmer    Renault    Not started

Drivers’ standings:

1    Sebastian Vettel    177
2    Lewis Hamilton    176
3    Valtteri Bottas    154
4    Daniel Ricciardo    117
5    Kimi Raikkonen    98
6    Max Verstappen    57
7    Sergio Perez    52
8    Esteban Ocon    43
9    Carlos Sainz    29
10    Nico Hulkenberg    26
11    Felipe Massa    23
12    Lance Stroll    18
13    Romain Grosjean    18
14    Kevin Magnussen    11
15    Pascal Wehrlein    5
16    Daniil Kvyat    4
17    Fernando Alonso    2
18    Jolyon Palmer    0
19    Marcus Ericsson    0
20    Stoffel Vandoorne    0
21    Antonio Giovinazzi    0

Constructors’ standings:

1    Mercedes    330
2    Ferrari    275
3    Red Bull-Renault    174
4    Force India-Mercedes    95
5    Williams-Mercedes    41
6    Toro Rosso-Renault    33
7    Haas-Ferrari    29
8    Renault    26
9    Sauber-Ferrari    5
10    McLaren-Honda    2

Hamilton on British Grand Prix pole

Home crowd favourite Lewis Hamilton claimed his fifth British Grand Prix pole position at Silverstone for Mercedes.

The British Grand Prix hero took the top spot early in the 12-minute Q3 session that decides the top ten on the grid with a lap of one minute, 27.231 seconds using the super-soft Pirellis that proved the tyre of choice for all.

That put Hamilton two tenths of a second ahead of world championship rival Sebastian Vettel, and on his second run he delivered a mighty lap of one minute, 26.600 seconds to provisionally seal his 67th pole position in F1 – now just one behind Michael Schumacher’s Formula 1 record.

Initially Hamilton was been investigated for a potential impeding incident at the end of his first run in Q3 when Haas driver Romain Grosjean complained of being held up by him at Club corner.

In the end, the race stewards came to the conclusion that while Hamilton had got in Grosjean’s way, he had not cost the Haas driver anything. So the qualifying results and pole position stands. Much to the relief of the racing fans.

Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen jumped from fourth to second on his final lap, ending up 0.547 seconds slower than Hamilton.

Vettel struggled on the first two sectors of his final lap, meaning he ended up third and two-tenths off his team-mate.

Valtteri Bottas was fourth fastest, with a lock-up at Turn 3 among the places he lost time on his second run, but has to serve a five-place penalty for a gearbox change.

Max Verstappen was fifth quickest, with Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg sixth to earn his best starting position of the 2017 season for the Enstone-based team.

The Force India duo of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon were seventh and eighth, with Stoffel Vandoorne ninth on his first appearance in Q3.

Grosjean was tenth and slowest in Q3 after first losing three tenths behind Hamilton on his first run, then only making a small improvement on his second.

Renault’s Jolyon Palmer missed out on making Q3 by less than a tenth of a second, setting P11 ahead of Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat.

Fernando Alonso proved unable to join McLaren team-mate Vandoorne in Q3, with his final flier half-a-second off and only good enough for P13.

Alonso will start at the back thanks to a 30-place grid penalty for new power unit components being introduced.

Despite this set back, Alonso did set the quickest time in Q1 thanks to smart thinking from McLaren to use the slicks as the track conditions improved.

Carlos Sainz was P14 ahead of the Williams of Felipe Massa.

Williams driver Lance Stroll was fastest of those to be eliminated in Q1 thanks to a last-gasp effort by Alonso to jump from last to first.

It started to rain 12 minutes before the session, leading to a flurry of drivers going out at the start of Q1 using a mix of intermediate and slick rubber before it emerged it was too damp for the latter.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who was fastest early on using intermediates, then stopped at Luffield reporting a loss of power, leading to the session being red flagged for five minutes.

The session got going again with ten minutes remaining, with Alonso running on intermediates but opting to pit with just enough time to bolt on super-softs and complete his out-lap before the chequered flag.

He managed to do that, crossing the line moment before the flag, leading to him taking top spot by 1.3 seconds and relegating Stroll into the dropzone. Alonso was one of only two drivers, alongside Ocon, to use slicks in Q1.

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen was P17 ahead of Sauber duo Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson.

Ricciardo was quickly shuffled down the timing screens, ending up P20, but is current due to start one place higher despite his five-place grid penalty for changing a gearbox because of Alonso’s drop.

So a fantastic result for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton. A popular pole position for the Silverstone crowd favourite. Championship leader Sebastian Vettel is third on the grid but the title fight is still on. Bring on the race.

Qualifying standings, Silverstone:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m26.600s
2    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m27.147s
3    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m27.356s
4    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    1m28.130s
5    Nico Hulkenberg    Renault    1m28.856s
6    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m28.902s
7    Esteban Ocon    Force India-Mercedes    1m29.074s
8    Stoffel Vandoorne    McLaren-Honda    1m29.418s
9    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    1m29.549s
10    Valtteri Bottas    Mercedes    1m27.376s
11    Jolyon Palmer    Renault    1m30.193s
12    Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m30.355s
13    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m31.368s
14    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m31.482s
15    Lance Stroll    Williams-Mercedes    1m42.573s
16    Kevin Magnussen    Haas-Ferrari    1m42.577s
17    Pascal Wehrlein    Sauber-Ferrari    1m42.593s
18    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m42.633s
19    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m42.966s
20    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m30.600s

Bottas fends off Vettel to score second F1 victory

Valtteri Bottas fended off the challenge against Sebastian Vettel to score his second Formula 1 victory in the Austrian Grand Prix.

Mercedes driver Bottas resisted the late attack from the Ferrari to secure the win by just six tenths of a second.

Vettel has extended his championship lead to 20 points over Lewis Hamilton, who recovered well from eighth on the grid after his gearbox-change penalty but was denied a podium by Daniel Ricciardo.

Bottas made a lightning getaway from pole position to comfortably lead Vettel into the first corner, although his start was so good it prompted an investigation into whether he had jumped it.

He had to wait 20 laps to be cleared – with the review revealing his reaction to the lights changing was just 0.2 seconds – and by this time had stretched his lead to 7.6 seconds over the chasing Ferrari.

Bottas ran a long opening stint, eventually pitting on lap 41 of 71 and emerging with a reduced lead of just 2.5s seconds

Vettel engaged in a race long pursuit of Bottas and was getting close to strike but eventually falling just short.

An aggressive first lap set Ricciardo on his way to his fifth podium in a row. That’s great consistency from the Red Bull driver.

Ricciardo attacked Kimi Raikkonen into Turn 1 but had to continue the move all the way up the hill into Turn 3, eventually claiming the place and forcing the Ferrari wide in the process.

Raikkonen dropped behind Romain Grosjean’s Haas as a result of Ricciardo’s move, and it took two laps for the works Ferrari to finally make it past the customer car at Turn 4.

The longest first stint of any of the frontrunners meant Raikkonen, who stopped on lap 44, fell behind the recovering Hamilton as the tyre strategies played out.

Hamilton had been gifted a position at the start by a clutch-related poor getaway from Max Verstappen, and worked his way past Sergio Perez’s Force India and Grosjean in the opening stint as well.

The Mercedes driver complained about his tyres once he swapped his super-softs for ultra-softs, but charged in the closing stages and got within DRS range of Ricciardo with three laps to go – though he could not find a way past.

Raikkonen finished a lonely fifth, while Grosjean scored his best result of the season with sixth.

Behind Grosjean came the Force Indias, with Perez leading Esteban Ocon, while the Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll charged into the points after a disappointing qualifying left them P17 and P18 on the grid.

They were helped by a first-lap collision that was caused when Verstappen started slowly from fifth on the grid and was collected at Turn 1 by Fernando Alonso, whose McLaren had been rear-ended by Daniil Kvyat.

The Toro Rosso driver was handed a drive-through penalty for the incident, which led to Verstappen stopping further round the lap and Alonso returning to the pits immediately with terminal damage.

Kevin Magnussen, who complained of no power steering, and Carlos Sainz were the only other retirements.

So not the most thrilling Austrian Grand Prix but for Valtteri Bottas, this was the perfect result. Supreme reaction to the five red lights at start, resisted the pressure from championship leader and a second victory for Mercedes.

As for the Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton title fight. The Ferrari driver extends his lead to 20 points with the British Grand Prix coming up next. The home support for Hamilton will be very vocal and passionate at Silverstone.

Austrian Grand Prix, race results after 71 laps:

1    Valtteri Bottas    Mercedes    1h21m48.527s
2    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    0.658s
3    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    6.012s
4    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    7.430s
5    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    20.370s
6    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    1m06.281s
7    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
8    Esteban Ocon    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
9    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1 Lap
10    Lance Stroll    Williams-Mercedes    1 Lap
11    Jolyon Palmer    Renault    1 Lap
12    Stoffel Vandoorne    McLaren-Honda    1 Lap
13    Nico Hulkenberg    Renault    1 Lap
14    Pascal Wehrlein    Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
15    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    2 Laps
16    Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Renault    3 Laps
–    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    Retirement
–    Kevin Magnussen    Haas-Ferrari    Retirement
–    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    Collision
–    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    Collision

Drivers’ standings:

1    Sebastian Vettel    171
2    Lewis Hamilton    151
3    Valtteri Bottas    136
4    Daniel Ricciardo    107
5    Kimi Raikkonen    83
6    Sergio Perez    50
7    Max Verstappen    45
8    Esteban Ocon    39
9    Carlos Sainz    29
10    Felipe Massa    22
11    Lance Stroll    18
12    Nico Hulkenberg    18
13    Romain Grosjean    18
14    Kevin Magnussen    11
15    Pascal Wehrlein    5
16    Daniil Kvyat    4
17    Fernando Alonso    2
18    Jolyon Palmer    0
19    Marcus Ericsson    0
20    Stoffel Vandoorne    0
21    Antonio Giovinazzi    0

Constructors’ standings:

1    Mercedes    287
2    Ferrari    254
3    Red Bull-Renault    152
4    Force India-Mercedes    89
5    Williams-Mercedes    40
6    Toro Rosso-Renault    33
7    Haas-Ferrari    29
8    Renault    18
9    Sauber-Ferrari    5
10    McLaren-Honda    2

Bottas comes out on in Austrian GP qualifying

Valtteri Bottas narrowly beat Sebastian Vettel to pole position in the Austrian Grand Prix, while Lewis Hamilton will start no better than eighth place thanks to a gearbox penalty.

Bottas’s Mercedes led the Ferrari of championship leader Vettel by less than a tenth after the first runs in Q3, with Hamilton’s Mercedes 0.131 seconds further back in third.

All drivers lost their opportunity to improve on the second Q3 runs after Romain Grosjean’s Haas broke down at the exit of Turn 3 while he tried to adjust his engine settings, and Max Verstappen’s Red Bull spun into the gravel at the exit of Turn 7.

Bottas therefore secured his second pole in Formula 1, and will share the front row with team-mate Hamilton’s title rival Vettel.

Hamilton was already more than two tenths down on his earlier best through the first sector on his second lap and he also suffered a wobble on the exit of Turn 4, so would not likely have qualified better than third fastest.

He used the super-soft Pirelli to progress through Q2, so will start the race on an alternative tyre strategy following his five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was fourth quickest, just ahead of the Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, who was struggling with oversteer through Turn 3 before his high-speed spin.

Grosjean ended up seventh quickest thanks to a strong first run, while Force India team-mates Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon were eighth and ninth, separated by less than a tenth.

Carlos Sainz’s Toro Rosso made Q3 for the first time since the Monaco Grand Prix and completes the top ten.

Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg only just failed to displace Ocon’s Force India from the top ten shootout in Q2, falling short by 0.047 seconds.

Hulkenberg was only five thousandths of a second quicker than Fernando Alonso’s Spec-2 engined McLaren-Honda, which failed to improve during its second run.

Alonso’s team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne, running the quicker Spec-3 Honda power unit, was happy to qualify P13, the 0.139 seconds gap to Alonso being the closest Vandoorne has managed to get to his illustrious team-mate so far this season.

Daniil Kvyat had a difficult qualifying session and ended up only P14 for Toro Rosso, while Kevin Magnussen ended up last of the Q2 runners, having failed to participate in that segment of qualifying after his Haas suffered a rear suspension failure in Q1.

Vandoorne escaped Q1 for only the second time this season, denying Renault’s Jolyon Palmer a place in Q2 by just 0.029 seconds with a late improvement.

Palmer failed to improve on his final lap, dropping nearly a tenth compared to his earlier best, so he wound up P16.

Williams endured its worst qualifying session of the season, with both drivers failing to escape Q1. This was such a big contrast to 2014, in which the team recorded a front row lock-out at the Red Bull Ring.

Felipe Massa was more than two tenths away from making the cut and was only P17, while team-mate Lance Stroll was another 0.074 seconds down in P18.

Marcus Ericsson got the better of Sauber team-mate Pascal Wehrlein, lapping only 0.249 seconds away from Stroll, having been more than half a second off the next fastest car in final practice.

So an anticlimax end to qualifying caused by a yellow flag. Bottas the winner in qualifying – his second pole position this season – but all focus are on Vettel and Hamilton following that bash in Baku. Sebastian is in a good position to score big thanks to second on the grid, while Lewis has work to do with eighth.

The Austrian Grand Prix is going to be fascinating in terms of the championship and supreme between the title rivals. Bring on the battle at the Red Bull Ring!

Austrian Grand Prix, qualifying positions:

1    Valtteri Bottas    Mercedes    1m04.251s
2    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m04.293s
3    Kimi Raikkonen       Ferrari    1m04.779s
4    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m04.896s
5    Max Verstappen        Red Bull-Renault    1m04.983s
6    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    1m05.480s
7    Sergio Perez      Force India-Mercedes    1m05.605s
8    Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes    1m04.424s*
9    Esteban Ocon    Force India-Mercedes    1m05.674s
10    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m05.726s
11    Nico Hulkenberg    Renault    1m05.597s
12    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m05.602s
13    Stoffel Vandoorne    McLaren-Honda    1m05.741s
14    Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m05.884s
15    Kevin Magnussen    Haas-Ferrari    No time
16    Jolyon Palmer    Renault    1m06.345s
17    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m06.534s
18    Lance Stroll    Williams-Mercedes    1m06.608s
19    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m06.857s
20    Pascal Wehrlein    Sauber-Ferrari    1m07.011s

*Five-place grid penalty for changing gearbox