07/08 2018



Sebastian Vettel took the lead on the first lap.PHOTO BY MOTORSPORT IMAGES-LAT

Hamilton recovers after first lap spin sends him to the back


Sebastian Vettel won Sunday’s Formula 1 British Grand Prix ending Lewis Hamilton’s streak of four home victories in a race that had fans on the edge of their seats from start to finish.

For the home fans, Saturday had been perfect with Hamilton taking pole and England winning through to the FIFA World Cup semi-finals. Sunday however got off to the worst possible start. Vettel took off to a flier when the lights went off and instantly took the lead. Making the most of Hamilton’s poor getaway, Mercedes’ teammate Valtteri Bottas also passed the British driver.

The real damage to Hamilton’s championship hopes came at turn three when he attempted to defend from Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn locked a brake and tapped the rear of Hamilton’s Mercedes, sending the Silver Arrow into a spin and relegating Hamilton to the back. Raikkonen would later receive a ten-second penalty for the contact — quite harsh when compared to Vettel’s five second penalty for a similar offense with Bottas in the French Grand Prix.

While Vettel steadily built a six second lead ahead of second placed Bottas, Hamilton was slicing through the field. Having been dropped to P18, he managed to climb into sixth place by the end of lap 10, behind only regular rivals Red Bull, Ferrari and teammate Bottas.

By the time the first round of pit-stops had played out, Hamilton remained sixth but was running almost two-seconds a lap faster than those ahead of him. Daniel Ricciardo was pulled in for a second stop by Red Bull to switch back onto the soft tires, promoting Hamilton to fifth.

Sauber then took center stage. Charles Leclerc retired early after a wheel wasn’t properly fixed to the chassis when released from the pits; Marcus Ericsson then crashed in turn one; bouncing across the gravel before crashing heavily into the tire wall. This was Sauber’s first double retirement since Monaco last year.

The crash on lap 33 of 52, brought the safety car out and caused a few headaches for the chief strategists up and down pit lane. Vettel pitted from the lead — sacrificing track position and the lead to Bottas in favor of fresher tires — as did Max Verstappen but Hamilton didn’t and was stuck on medium rubber against the softs of Vettel ahead and the Red Bull’s behind.

Verstappen and Raikkonen fought wheel-to-wheel when racing resumed but there is a popular phrase in motorsport; safety cars breed safety cars. That’s exactly what happened when Romain Grosjean and Carlos Sainz got too close for comfort around Copse corner, colliding and bringing out the safety car after one lap of green flag racing.

With Raikkonen battling hard with Verstappen for the right to take on Hamilton, Vettel was all over Bottas’ rear wing. Although the battle was fierce, Raikkonen’s Ferrari was ultimately too much for the Red Bull and an eight lap, four-way dog fight for the win commenced.

The weekend has seen some huge crashes at Brooklands — both Grosjean and Brendon Hartley hitting the tires at over 200mph — Vettel made his move on Bottas and then Hamilton made a similar pass just a lap later while Verstappen’s Red Bull was retired from the race.

Raikkonen copied the maneuver with three laps to go and Bottas was a sitting duck when Ricciardo too cruised up to his gearbox.

Vettel pulled a slight lead on Hamilton, eventually taking the win by two-seconds but the drive of the day undoubtedly came from Hamilton who recovered from his lap-one collision. Recovering to second place in front of his home crowd may not have been the result that Hamilton was looking for but it’s hardly a bad day in the office when you imagine how much worse that lap one contact could have been.

  Driver Manufacturer Race Time
1 Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari 27:29.8
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 2.264
3 Kimi Raikkonen Scuderia Ferrari 3.652
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 8.883
5 Daniel Ricciardo Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 9.5
6 Nico Hulkenberg Renault Sport Formula One Team 28.22
7 Esteban Ocon Sahara Force India F1 Team 29.93
8 Fernando Alonso McLaren F1 Team 31.115
9 Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 Team 33.188
10 Pierre Gasly Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda 34.129
11 Sergio Perez Sahara Force India F1 Team 34.708
12 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren F1 Team 35.774
13 Lance Stroll Williams Martini Racing 38.106
14 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Martini Racing 48.113
15 Max Verstappen Aston Martin Red Bull Racing DNF
16 Carlos Sainz Renault Sport Formula One Team DNF
17 Romain Grosjean Haas F1 Team DNF
18 Marcus Ericsson Alfa Romeo SauberF1 Team DNF
19 Charles Leclerc Alfa Romeo SauberF1 Team DNF
20 Brendon Hartley Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda DNF