Vettel wins thrilling British Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel achieved his first British Grand Prix victory in a thrilling Silverstone race. The Ferrari driver passed Valtteri Bottas late on to win, while home crowd favourite Lewis Hamilton charged back to second after being spun around on the opening lap.

Mercedes used a safety car to get Bottas ahead of early race leader Vettel but the Ferrari driver used fresher, softer tyres to steal the victory with a superb move five laps from the end of the race.

Hamilton then passed his team-mate Bottas at the same spot a lap later to seal second and Kimi Raikkonen made it a hat-trick of late passes at Brooklands to demote his fellow Finn from the podium entirely.

Hamilton dropped to the tail of the field at the start after Raikkonen locked his right-front tyre at the tight Turn 3 right-hander at Village, ran wide and hit the Mercedes.

Raikkonen continued behind both Red Bulls but was handed a 10-second penalty, which would negate his on-track pass of Daniel Ricciardo into Copse, while Hamilton resumed in P17.

Vettel had already assumed the lead after jumping Hamilton off the line and built a commanding lead in the first part of the opening stint, opening up a six-second gap over Bottas.

Hamilton charged back into the points by lap six and was into sixth four laps later, by which time he was already more than a pitstop behind the race leaders.

Bottas began to chip away at Vettel as the Ferrari struggled with its tyres and the lead was down to 4.8 seconds when Vettel stopped on lap 20.

Bottas pitted a lap later and Mercedes got Hamilton to release him with a position-swap at Brooklands the following lap, and the Finn started to nibble further into Vettel’s lead.

Valtteri had brought it down to 2.4 seconds when Marcus Ericsson 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.

That triggered a safety car on lap 32 of 52 and Ferrari reacted by pitting Vettel but Mercedes told Bottas to stay out and claim track position.

Behind, Hamilton moved up to third as Max Verstappen and Raikkonen pit, with Ricciardo staying in sixth as the safety car was called just after he had made a second stop and handed track position to Raikkonen.

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.

Both flew off-track and into retirement, with Grosjean ending a miserable race that started with him dropping out of the points on the opening lap thanks to a collision with team-mate Kevin Magnussen.

The safety car’s second appearance lasted three laps, setting up an 11-lap sprint at the end.

Bottas resisted Vettel again at the restart before coming 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 Dutchman 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 finished sixth for Renault after taking advantage of the messy first lap to jump five places, and he held that best-of-the-rest slot to the end.

Force India’s Esteban Ocon was a quiet but excellent seventh, as Fernando Alonso bested Magnussen in a fiery late fight to finish eighth.

Pierre Gasly claimed the final point in tenth for Toro Rosso and Honda.

So congratulations to Sebastian Vettel in winning the British Grand Prix. Despite neck pain, the four-time champion was able to race to victory. Vettel now has an eight-point lead to rival Lewis Hamilton.

As for the home hero, Hamilton did his best after a collision on the first lap. The Mercedes driver never give up and charged through to second. At least Lewis is still in a shout in the championship.

British Grand Prix, race results:
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 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 52 34.129s
11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 52 34.708s
12 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 52 35.774s
13 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 52 38.106s
14 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 52 48.113s
15 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 46 Not running
– Carlos Sainz Renault 37 Collision
– Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 37 Collision
– Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 31 Spun off
– Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 18 Retirement
– Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1 Retirement

Drivers’ standings:
1 Sebastian Vettel 171
2 Lewis Hamilton 163
3 Kimi Raikkonen 116
4 Daniel Ricciardo 106
5 Valtteri Bottas 104
6 Max Verstappen 93
7 Nico Hulkenberg 42
8 Fernando Alonso 40
9 Kevin Magnussen 39
10 Carlos Sainz 28
11 Esteban Ocon 25
12 Sergio Perez 23
13 Pierre Gasly 19
14 Charles Leclerc 13
15 Romain Grosjean 12
16 Stoffel Vandoorne 8
17 Lance Stroll 4
18 Marcus Ericsson 3
19 Brendon Hartley 1
20 Sergey Sirotkin 0

Constructors’ standings:
1 Ferrari 287
2 Mercedes 267
3 Red Bull-Renault 199
4 Renault 70
5 Haas-Ferrari 51
6 Force India-Mercedes 48
7 McLaren-Renault 48
8 Toro Rosso-Honda 20
9 Sauber-Ferrari 16
10 Williams-Mercedes 4

6 thoughts to “Vettel wins thrilling British Grand Prix”

  1. British Grand Prix race review as reported by

    Lewis Hamilton’s hopes of a record sixth British Grand Prix looked to be in tatters after Kimi Raikkonen pitched him into a spin at the start. The Mercedes driver recovered to second in spectacular fashion but it was title rival Sebastian Vettel who took the ultimate spoils with a superbly measured performance…

    Hamilton arrived at Silverstone one point adrift of Vettel in the drivers’ standings but confident in the knowledge that he was the favourite to win in front of his home crowd. That looked unlikely within moments of the lights going out, but the polesitter refused to give up the fight.

    Mercedes gave themselves a chance of snatching back the win by leaving Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas out when the Safety Car was called into action late in the race, while Ferrari and Red Bull pitted for fresh tyres. And for a few laps, it looked like it may work as Bottas held off Vettel, with Hamilton to third.

    But ultimately, Vettel had too much pace on the softer tyres and after eyeing his prey for a few laps, brilliantly snatched the lead from Bottas. Hamilton also moved past the Finn, but he didn’t have the performance to attack Vettel and had to settle for second with Raikkonen third.

    It was Vettel’s 51st victory the season, moving him level with four-time world champion Alain Prost in third in the all-time list. The German extends his championship lead over Hamilton to eight points heading to his home race at Hockenheim. It’s the first time it’s been more than a point ahead since the Chinese Grand Prix.

    As polesitter Hamilton suffered wheelspin at the start, Vettel leapt away from second to snatch the lead before the first corner. Bottas took advantage, too, slipping into second, leaving Hamilton vulnerable to an attack from Raikkonen heading into the tight Village complex.

    Raikkonen locked up, sliding into Hamilton and pitching the five-time British Grand Prix winner into a spin. Hamilton kept the engine running, rejoined in 18th and then set about stitching together one of his trademark comeback drives to limit the damage in the drivers’ championship.

    Hamilton reported damage, but the team said they couldn’t see anything on the data. It didn’t look like anything was wrong judging by the lap times either. Hamilton was up to 11th within six laps. He made that sixth after another five laps but his charge then eased with him 27.4s adrift of race leader Vettel.

    After pressing his team to let him pit, Ferrari finally ceded and called Raikkonen in at the end of Lap 13. He was stationary for 10 seconds, serving a penalty for hitting Hamilton at the start, before taking on the medium compound tyres. On returning to the track, his pace was remarkable with the Finn lapping around two seconds quicker than the leaders.

    Meanwhile, Vettel pitted from the lead on lap 20 and took the mediums, with Hamilton now fifth and 20.9s behind. Bottas briefly headed the field, but pitted the following lap. He came out behind Hamilton, who duly obliged by moving over for his team mate as they were on different strategies.

    Hamilton stretched his stint for another three laps before his stop before pitting for a fresh set of mediums. He rejoined 27.3s behind Vettel in sixth. Salvaging a podium looked a tall order. That is until Marcus Ericsson crashed at high-speed at Turn 1, after going through the corner with DRS open.

    The Swede walked away from the incident, with FIA F1 Race Director Charlie Whiting calling on the Safety Car to neutralise the race while they cleared the debris. Ferrari and Red Bull opted to pit both cars for a second time, but Mercedes rolled the dice and kept Bottas and Hamilton out.

    Hamilton wasn’t that impressed by the decision, telling his team that he was worried about his tyre life relative to his rivals but they told him not to worry. The strategy put Bottas in the lead, with Vettel second and Hamilton third. Verstappen, Raikkonen and Ricciardo completed the top six.

    At the restart, Bottas backed the pack up massively on the Hangar Straight before bolting away to run clear in the lead. Raikkonen looked to have pulled off a brilliant move into Brooklands, but Verstappen sensational hung on around the outside of Luffield to keep the place.

    Further back, Sainz got a run on Grosjean around the outside of Copse but the latter had a moment mid-corner as he turned in and they touched, sending both cars off into the gravel. Both were unharmed but the Safety Car was required once more, setting up a dramatic finish.

    Bottas did a good job holding off Vettel for a succession of laps but then it all went wrong. First he was caught napping by a brilliantly late dive from the championship leader into Brooklands with five laps to go. Next time around, Hamilton snuck through at the same corner.

    Raikkonen made short work of the Mercedes for the final podium place, with Bottas managing to hold onto fourth. Daniel Ricciardo was fifth, with Red Bull team mate Max Verstappen on course to beat him, only to be told to retire the car with a suspected gearbox issue, the Dutchman having moments earlier spun at the penultimate corner.

    Nico Hulkenberg was sixth, ahead of Esteban Ocon with Fernando Alonso making into the points for the second successive race and Pierre Gasly completing the top 10 and scoring points for the third time this year – albeit under investigation for a late-race clash with Sergio Perez.

  2. Respect to Kimi Raikkonen in admitting he deserved 10-second time penalty for hitting Lewis Hamilton. has the story.

    Kimi Raikkonen said he deserved the penalty he received for colliding with Lewis Hamilton at the start of the British Grand Prix.

    Hamilton dropped to the back of the field after Raikkonen locked up and slid into his right-rear corner at Village, the first braking zone of the lap.

    Raikkonen was given a 10-second penalty for the collision, which prompted suspicion from Mercedes, with Hamilton referring to “interesting tactics” from Ferrari, and senior Mercedes figures suggesting it was “deliberate or incompetence”, following Sebastian Vettel’s recent collision with Valtteri Bottas at the start of the French Grand Prix.

    The Finn recovered from serving the penalty at his first pitstop to finish third at Silverstone, passing countryman Valtteri Bottas late on to claim the final step on the podium.

    When asked in parc ferme after the race if the penalty was fair, Raikkonen said: “Yeah, it was my mistake. That’s fine.

    “I deserve it and I took the 10 seconds and kept fighting. That’s how it goes.

    “Obviously on the third corner I locked a wheel and ended up hitting Lewis in the rear corner and he spun.

    “My bad, that is how it goes sometimes. It was not a straightforward race.”

  3. Ferrari crashes “deliberate or incompetence” according to Mercedes. has the details.

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has suggested Ferrari’s opening-lap collisions with his drivers are either ‘deliberate or incompetence’ after Lewis Hamilton was spun around by Kimi Raikkonen at the British Grand Prix.

    Just two races on from Valtteri Bottas being hit at the French Grand Prix by Sebastian Vettel at the first corner, Raikkonen made a mistake at Silverstone and clouted Hamilton at Turn 3 – earning himself a 10-second penalty.

    Although Hamilton recovered well to finish second, Wolff was far from happy about seeing his team facing a fightback again through no fault of its own.

    Asked by Sky for his view on the incident, Wolff said: “A racing incident. Unfortunate because Le Castellet first time we got taken out and now it is the second time we got taken out.

    “It is a lot of constructor points. In [technical director] James Allison’s words, ‘do you think it is deliberate or incompetence?’. So this leaves us with a judgement.”

    Wolff’s questions about Ferrari come after Hamilton also dropped a hint that there could be more behind the first corner clashes.

    “Our team did an amazing job this weekend, we have so much support and so much pressure for us all,” he said.

    “Interesting tactics I would say from their side, but we will do what we can to fight them and improve in the next races.”

    Although frustrated by the first period of the race, Wolff said Mercedes did the right thing at the end in not changing tyres during the first safety car period, even though it left Valtteri Bottas exposed in the lead.

    “I think it worked because we gained track position,” he said. “At the end we had a two and four, and that was better than where we were running before.

    “I think it was absolutely the right call. Nevertheless we knew it was going to be very difficult in the end.”

  4. British Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel commented that the Ferrari-Mercedes deliberate crash suggestion is “silly”. has the full story.

    Sebastian Vettel says it is “quite silly” to accuse Ferrari of deliberately hitting the Mercedes drivers after Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton clashed in Formula 1’s British Grand Prix.

    Raikkonen locked up and turfed Hamilton into a spin on the opening lap at Silverstone, two races after Vettel made a mistake at the start of the French GP and wiped out Valtteri Bottas.

    Hamilton recovered to second, beating Raikkonen, but referred to “interesting tactics” from Ferrari on the podium and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said they had questioned whether the incident was “deliberate or incompetence”.

    Asked to comment on the suggestion it was intentional, British GP winner Vettel said: “Why? Things can happen.

    “It’s quite silly to think that anything that happened was deliberate. I, at least, would struggle to be that precise and take somebody out.

    “In France I lost my wing, so I screwed my race. I think it’s easy to attack and have a great move and easy to have an incident.

    “I only saw it briefly but I don’t think there was any intention and I find it a bit unnecessary to even go there.”

    Raikkonen also dismissed the suggestion as nonsense, saying: “Funnily enough you start blaming us but I locked up a wheel and unfortunately we touched.

    “That’s how it goes sometimes. It’s easy to say after the last couple of races but we’ve been hit plenty of times in the past.”

    Vettel’s mistake in France was punished by a five-second time penalty that was not enough to drop him behind Bottas, who had to limp back to the pits for a new set of tyres.

    Raikkonen was eventually beaten by Hamilton but his own 10-second penalty did not actually drop him behind the Mercedes during the race.

    Asked to elaborate on his “interesting tactics” comment, Hamilton said: “All I’d say is it’s now two races one of the Ferraris has taken out one of the Mercedes.

    “A five-second penalty and a 10-second penalty doesn’t appear to feel…ultimately it spoils the race.

    “There’s a lot of points there that Valtteri and I have lost in those two scenarios.

    “We’ve just got to try to position ourselves better so we are not exposed to the red cars because who knows whether that’s going to happen again.

    “We’ve got to work hard as a team to try to lock out the front row and make sure we’re fully ahead of these guys.”

  5. The key to this Silverstone victory was to “surprise” Bottas according to race winner Vettel. has the story.

    Sebastian Vettel says he had to “surprise” Formula 1 rival Valtteri Bottas to pull off the overtake that earned him victory in the British Grand Prix.

    A pitstop during a late-race safety car, caused by Marcus Ericsson’s crash at Abbey, left long-time leader Vettel running second behind Bottas, although the German had the advantage of running fresh soft tyres against Bottas’ worn mediums.

    But Bottas rebuffed Vettel’s attacks on the restart, and following another stoppage for a crash involving Romain Grosjean and Carlos Sainz, the Finn continued to hold his own out front – narrowly seeing off Vettel’s attempts around the outside of Brooklands and Luffield.

    Vettel eased off for a couple of tours but then lunged down the inside of Bottas at Brooklands on lap 47 of 52, securing the win.

    “It was quite intense,” Vettel recalled after the race. “Obviously I had the advantage on the tyres, but he had clean air, so in high-speed stuff I was able to follow but it was difficult the closer I got.

    “I sort of sniffed my chance already in the first laps after the restart out of Turn 4 [The Loop] and then on the Wellington straight down to Turn 6 [Brooklands].

    “The final move, obviously I was able to surprise him, I think he thought that I wouldn’t dare [to go down] the inside and the braking zone was coming quite fast.

    ”I would’ve liked to be closer [exiting Aintree] but I wasn’t, but I still thought it’s good enough to have a shot, so I gave it everything.

    “I tried also the outside before, and he was very late on the brakes, and so was I, and I couldn’t really go anywhere – so I thought ‘okay, time to do that again, and I have to somehow surprise him.

    “I think I was a little bit further back, and close to the braking zone he was covering the inside – but then still gave me a little bit of room to make the move happen.”

    Vettel admitted he thought he risked overshooting the corner in making the move.

    “It felt great when I was side by side – I wasn’t sure if I’d make the corner but I did,” he added.

    “Once I was ahead, obviously I could use that advantage to pull out a gap and control the race from there. But it was crucial, it wasn’t easy, they seemed to be very strong in the straights.”

    Bottas began to fade soon after Vettel’s last-gasp manoeuvre, and would tumble down to fourth by the chequered flag – but the German has insisted he was in no position to bide his time.

    “I wanted to win, I had to go for it,” Vettel said. “Obviously I think he struggled a little bit more towards the end with his tyres but yeah, I wanted to get by as soon as possible.”

  6. The collisions between Ferrari and Mercedes drivers in the past two Formula 1 races are “unfair” and “not funny”, says Niki Lauda.

    Kimi Raikkonen tipped Lewis Hamilton into a spin at the start of the British Grand Prix on Sunday, after Sebastian Vettel did the same to Valtteri Bottas in France two weeks ago.

    Hamilton dropped to last but charged back to second at his home race.

    Mercedes non-executive chairman Lauda told “Lewis did an incredible job today, no question about it. Everything was going right.

    “The accident was unfair basically, because it’s the second time a Ferrari hits us in the first corner, and it’s not funny. But that’s the way it is.”

    Vettel received a five-second penalty for hitting Bottas at Paul Ricard while Raikkonen picked up a 10-second penalty for the Hamilton clash on Sunday.

    “First of all it was wrong when they gave Vettel five seconds,” Lauda told Sky Sports F1.

    “At least now they gave Kimi 10 seconds at least. The stewards realised what’s going on here.

    “But that’s the way it is. It should not have been, but for me, Lewis’s job, being last, coming all the way to second, shows what performance he had here.

    “So, I say without the crash he would have won the race.”

    Vettel won the race after a thrilling conclusion in which he wrested the lead from Bottas, who along with Hamilton had stayed out on slightly old tyres under a safety car.

    Ferrari swapped Vettel and Raikkonen onto fresh softs, costing them track position but giving them chance to attack.

    Hamilton was able to resist Raikkonen and ended up second as Bottas slipped from first to fourth in the closing stages.

    After Mercedes came under much scrutiny for its strategy in Austria, Lauda said that on this occasion “we were absolutely right, we did nothing wrong”.

    “Valtteri had some problems with the tyres near the end, yes, but if he had come in the pits he would have had even more trouble,” Lauda said.

    “I think Lewis could have won the race without crashing on the first lap, but nevertheless to come from last to second, is fantastic.

    “The question is it’s such a close call, Bottas did a very good job to defend his position with Vettel as long as he could, but then it was over.

    “It worked out for Lewis, it didn’t work out for Bottas.”


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