NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 08: Race winner Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari celebrates on the podium during the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on July 8, 2018 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

Sebastian Vettel clinched an impressive win at the British GP amid controversy. Vettel clinched his 51st win and extended his lead to eight points at the top of the drivers’ championship. Lewis Hamilton claimed second spot with a comeback drive after he fell to dead last on the first lap. Kimi Raikkonen completed the podium places as he recovered from a 10-second penalty for hitting Hamilton at the start. Valtteri Bottas finished fourth and Daniel Ricciardo finished in fifth position. Nico Hulkenberg, Esteban Ocon, Fernando Alonso, Kevin Magnussen, and Sergio Perez rounded off the top 10 positions.

Sebastian Vettel Wins British GP Amid Controversy

The race started under clear skies and hot conditions with air temperature at 27 degrees C and track temperatures at 51 degrees C at Silverstone. Lewis Hamilton started from pole position. Title rival Sebastian Vettel joined him on the first row.

Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas were on the second row. Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo lined up on the third row. Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean, Charles Leclerc, and Esteban Ocon lined up at the front of the grid.

All the drivers in the top 10 started on the yellow-striped soft tyres. Brendon Hartley started from the pitlane after his heavy crash in FP3 caused him to miss qualification and a change of PU components. The Kiwi was joined by both the Williams drivers, Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin, as the team elected to change their rear wing and floor after qualification. But Hartley did not start in the end because of last minute reliability issues in the pitlane.

The Start

Hamilton had a poor start off the line with wheel spin. Vettel had a rocket start and led into Turn 1 with Bottas behind him. As Hamilton and Raikkonen jostled for positions behind them, the Finn hit Hamilton at Turn 3 and shunted him off the track. As Hamilton spun off, it looked like his race was over. But he rejoined last and was told by the Mercedes pitwall that they did not see any damage. Stewards imposed a 10-second penalty on Raikkonen for the collision with Hamilton on the first lap which he took at his first pitstop.

The two Haas F1 drivers, Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, collided with each other and dropped down the order. The two Renault drivers, Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz, gained the most and were in P6 and P9 soon. The order was Vettel, Bottas, Verstappen, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Leclerc, Ocon, Sainz, Magnussen and Alonso.

Hamilton Moves Up The Field

Hamilton was told by his team that they did not see any damage on the car. The Briton complained that something felt wrong with the rear of the car. But he was able to make short work of the cars at the back with the faster Mercedes car. By lap 10, Hamilton had moved up to P7.

After he got past Hulkenberg on the next lap, Hamilton was over 12-seconds behind Ricciardo in P5. Vettel in the meantime had opened a healthy 5-second lead over Bottas at the front.

First Pitstops

Raikkonen was the first of the fronrunners to pit. The Finn pitted on lap 14 and rejoined P10 behind Sainz. On lap 18, Verstappen pitted and rejoined P5 behind Hamilton. By that time Raikkonen had moved up the field to P6. Then on successive laps Ricciardo, Vettel and Bottas pitted.

On lap 20, Charles Leclerc who was running in an impressive seventh position pitted. But when he exited the pits he was asked to stop the car and the yellow flags came out.

Finally on lap 26, Hamilton also pitted and rejoined P6. All the drivers had put on the white-striped medium tyres at the first pitstop.

At the end of the first set of pitstops for the frontrunners, Vettel, Bottas, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Grosjean, Hulkenberg, Ocon and Alonso.

Ericsson Crashes and Safety Car Comes Out

On lap 32, Marcus Ericsson had a heavy crash as he exited turn 1 with his DRS open. The Safety Car (SC) came out. Vettel, Verstappen and Raikkonen pitted and put on new soft tyres under the SC. Ricciardo was the unlucky driver who had pitted just before the SC came out.

Mercedes left both their drivers out on the used medium tyres. The pitwall elected to keep their drivers out and gain track position. The order was Bottas, Vettel, Hamilton, Verstappen, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Ocon, Alonso, Magnussen after the SC restart.

Grosjean and Sainz Crash and Another Safety Car

On lap 39, Sainz overtook Grosjean on the outside at the Copse corner and both drivers crashed. The Safety Car was back out and the field was bunched up together.

With 8 laps to go on the SC restart, Bottas, Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Ricciardo were all within DRS range of each other. The Mercedes drivers were on older tyres and were on the backfoot.

Verstappen was experiencing problems with the car and spun off first and then rejoined. But his race ended soon.

Lap after lap Vettel was hunting down Bottas and the Finn defended as best as he could. With 6 laps to go, Vettel overtook Bottas with a clean move to take the lead in the race. Bottas was then overtaken by teammate Hamilton and then Raikkonen.

Vettel Clinches Win On Rival Hamilton’s Home Turf

Vettel won his fourth race of the season. The German won and not only extended his championship lead, but denied Hamilton a record sixth British GP win. Ferrari won at Silverstone for the first time since 2011. The double podium finish for Ferrari at a track where Mercedes has dominated since 2013 is also a crucial psychological blow against their rivals.

Vettel goes to his home race in Germany with an 8-point lead in the championship. Ferrari has extended their lead over Mercedes in the constructors’ championship to 20-points. Mercedes for the first time in the hybrid-engine era has a serious challenge on their hands. How they respond in the races to come will be interesting to watch.

Hamilton and Mercedes Unhappy

Hamilton did not take part in the parc ferme interviews as he said he wanted to calm down. He expressed his unhappiness about the first lap incident with Raikkonen at the post-race press conference.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff also expressed his unhappiness over Ferrari drivers hitting the Mercedes cars twice in the last three races.

British GP Race Results:

Pos No Driver Car Laps Time/Retired Pts
1 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 52 1:27:29.784 25
2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 52 +2.264s 18
3 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 52 +3.652s 15
4 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 52 +8.883s 12
5 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 52 +9.500s 10
6 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 52 +28.220s 8
7 31 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 52 +29.930s 6
8 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Renault 52 +31.115s 4
9 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 52 +33.188s 2
10 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 52 +34.708s 0
11 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Renault 52 +35.774s 0
12 18 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 52 +38.106s 0
13 10 Pierre Gasly Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 52 +39.129s 0
14 35 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Mercedes 52 +48.113s 0
15 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 46 DNF 0
NC 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 37 DNF 0
NC 55 Carlos Sainz Renault 37 DNF 0
NC 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 31 DNF 0
NC 16 Charles Leclerc Sauber Ferrari 18 DNF 0
NC 28 Brendon Hartley Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 1 DNF 0

Note – Raikkonen received a 10-second penalty for causing a collision. Gasly originally finished 10th but received a 5-second penalty for causing a collision.

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