Sebastian Vettel takes British Grand Prix victory as Hamilton makes brilliant recovery drive
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News July 8, 2018 Updated: 11:11 PM PT
SILVERSTONE, U.K. — Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel took his 51st career win and first British Grand Prix victory since 2009 with Lewis Hamilton making a brilliant recovery drive to finish second.
Vettel was able to pull a major upset in the reigning world champion’s backyard and retake the lead in the drivers' championship and extend Ferrari's constructors’ title margin to 20 points.
“Every race is a team race, but today it was even more important for us to win here, because the last few years had been very difficult to us. This year we have proved to be strong every time on every track so far. The most important thing is that the car is strong and fast. The new updates that we brought here have worked very well through the whole weekend,” said Vettel.
Hamilton started from pole after a milestone-setting performance in Saturday’s qualifying. But, the chances of a fifth British Grand Prix victory slipped away when he made heavy contact with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen at Turn 3. Raikkonen would receive a ten-second time penalty for the incident.
The contact spun Hamilton’s car sending him to the back of the grid. Hamilton stormed up the field. With a roll of the dice by Mercedes to leave him out during the first safety car, he was able to finish the race on the podium and limit the damage in the championship to eight points.
“It was a difficult race, but I gave it everything and I’m grateful to make it back up to second,” Hamilton said. “It was eventful from the start, but in the final laps, we just didn’t have the pace of the Ferraris on the fresher tires. I’m very grateful that the car was in one piece after the incident in Turn 3 and that I could continue the race.
I was last at that point, but I still believed that I could win – and I needed that mentality to make it back to where I finished. When the guys in front of me pitted under the Safety Car, it was an opportunity for me to get up into third. It was absolutely the right decision – if I had followed them into the pits I would have come out behind them on equal tires and I would have struggled to get by them and most certainly would not have been second. The fans have been incredible this weekend and I’m so grateful for all their support.”
Raikkonen went on to finish third after a very intense battle with Max Verstappen in the closing laps with Raikkonen finally getting the best of the young Dutchman at Turn 15 after the second safety car. Valtteri Bottas finished fourth after attempting to hold off a charging Sebastian Vettel in the final laps.
The Finnish driver defended hard against Vettel before he was able to find an opening taking Bottas on the inside of Turn 6. Shortly after, teammate Lewis Hamilton would also get by Bottas as his tires had begun to reach the end of their life.
Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth after trying to chase down Bottas in the final laps. Teammate Max Verstappen was forced to retire after dealing with a break-by-wire issue.
Nico Hulkenberg was the only surviving Renault in sixth after losing teammate Carlos Sainz, who made contact with Haas’ Romain Grosjean and triggered the second safety car in the race.
Force India’s Esteban Ocon finished seventh with McLaren’s Fernando Alonso in eighth.
Kevin Magnussen scored Haas’ only points in ninth after losing teammate Grosjean. Sergio Perez scored the final points on the grid in the second Force India after fighting with Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly for tenth.
Stoffel Vandoorne finished 11th in the second McLaren followed by Lance Stroll in 12th and Pierre Gasly, was hit with a five-second time penalty for his incident with Perez, leaving him to finish 13th. Stroll’s teammate Sergey Sirotkin finished 14th.
Sauber saw both of their cars drop out of the race with Charles Leclerc running into an issue after his pitstop and Marcus Ericsson losing his car and crashing out at Turn 1.
With race three of F1’s first triple-header in the books, everyone will look forward to some much-needed rest before heading off to Germany for the return of the German Grand Prix in two weeks.