Hamilton wins British Grand Prix to slash Vettel's championship lead

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F1 Grand Prix, GP United Kingdom, Silverstone Circuitgb

Lewis Hamilton has won the British Grand Prix for the fifth time in his career. Valtteri Bottas finished second after a late race charge while both Ferraris dropped down the order following left front punctures close to the end. Raikkonen salvaged by completing the podium.

Already on the warm-up lap, bad luck struck again for Jolyon Palmer, as he reported a long brake pedal, followed by his saying he lost the hydraulics by the time he got through Copse corner. As he parked his car on the grass alongside the track past Turn 14, the subsequent start of the remaining 19 cars was aborted, requiring all to do another warm-up lap before the real start.

When the light went out for real, Lewis Hamilton saw Raikkonen close in, but in the end he managed to retain the advantage. Behind Raikkonen meanwhile, Verstappen made an impressive start and went ahead of Vettel immediately. The German recovered his lost position through Turn 2, before getting passed around the outside just ahead of the Wellington straight.

A bit further behind, both Toro Rosso's collided at Becketts. Kvyat went on the grass through on the apex of the left hand of the corner, sending him a bit straight and collecting Sainz who was taking the same corner alongside his team mate. Needless to say, they immediately blamed each other, and a stewards' investigation was triggered. The debris that was left on track also necessitated a safety car. The debris was mostly from Sainz and Magnussen as Sainz was spinning off the track and the Dane tried to wade through. Sainz retired immediately while Kvyat pitted and continued.

On lap 5, the racing was on again. At the front, no positions changed, even though Verstappen clearly lost of bit of time to Raikkonen. Daniel Ricciardo on the other hand went slightly wide on the exit of Luffield and dropped down to last.

Ricciardo however seemed on fire, and 5 laps later, he was again right on the back of Fernando Alonso, who had moved up fro 20th on the grid to 13th. Another three laps later, Ricciardo made it past the McLaren driver through Stowe.

Verstappen meanwhile lost time on Raikkonen - op to 10 seconds to Raikkonen by lap 16 - as he had to focus on defending his position to Vettel. The latter tried through Stowe, but Verstappen came back while running wide and surely gaining an advantage. Or at least, not losing one. Verstappen therefore had the inside of the next turn, and returned the favour by pushing Vettel off on the exit of the turn.

As the two battled it out for third, Valtteri Bottas silently closed in, waiting for an incident to happen ahead of him.

On lap 19, Vettel had enough of his battle with Verstappen and pitted to change to softs. Red Bull covered the stop by doing the same one lap later, but with a sluggish stop of 3.4 seconds, Verstappen came back out on track behind Vettel.

Bottas was subsequently told to floor it, but with Vettel setting the fastest lap of the race on his new soft tyres, things weren't looking all that bright for the Finn. 3 laps later, the tables turned however, as Bottas set the fastest lap himself, amidst another string of improvements from Lewis Hamilton.

On lap 24, Raikkonen pitted and rejoined 5s ahead of Vettel. Another lap later, Hamilton changed to softs as well, rejoining just ahead of Bottas, and still in the lead. Hamilton was asked to let Bottas past if he could not pull a gap, but one lap later, it was clear that his new soft tyres allowed him to go faster than what Bottas could do on his old softs.

Bottas eventually pitted on lap 32, changing to a new set of super softs to rejoin the track in 4th, 5 seconds down on Vettel, and 3 ahead of Verstappen. Ricciardo pitted from 6th with the same strategy as Bottas, returning to the track in 8th.

At about the same time, Alonso reported "no power", getting a swift response from his team "ok, Fernando, we need to retire".

Following the stop, Bottas started eating up Vettel's advantage, and by lap 40, it was clear that Vettel was having problems keeping up the pace, losing out on Raikkonen as well. Three laps later, Bottas easily passed Vettel at Stowe. The latter reported to the pits he had "no more fronts", while Bottas told his team "minimal talking", showing his focus.

The next lap, Bottas set another fastest lap, while Raikkonen posted his personal best. It was still a second short, seeing his advantage reduce to 6 seconds. As Raikkonen felt the threat, he told his team to "show me the right numbers on the pitboard", aware that Ferrari was cheating a bit to make the situation look better than it actually was.

Bottas pushed hard and was eventually slightly lucky to get past Raikkonen as well, as the Finn had to pit on lap 50 following a failure on his left front tyre. Half a lap later, Vettel's left front punctured as well. He had more than half the lap to complete until the pits, but made it nonetheless. It was an anticlimax for the Scuderia though, with Raikkonen finishing third, and Vettel down to 7th.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarLapsTimePts
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG511:21:27.43025
277Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG51+14.063s18
37Kimi RäikkönenFerrari51+36.570s15
433Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer51+52.125s12
53Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer51+65.955s10
627Nico HulkenbergRenault51+68.109s8
75Sebastian VettelFerrari51+93.989s6
831Esteban OconForce India Mercedes50+1 lap4
911Sergio PerezForce India Mercedes50+1 lap2
1019Felipe MassaWilliams Mercedes50+1 lap1
112Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren Honda50+1 lap0
1220Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari50+1 lap0
138Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari50+1 lap0
149Marcus EricssonSauber Ferrari50+1 lap0
1526Daniil KvyatToro Rosso50+1 lap0
1618Lance StrollWilliams Mercedes50+1 lap0
1794Pascal WehrleinSauber Ferrari50+1 lap0
NC14Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Honda32DNF0
NC55Carlos SainzToro Rosso0DNF0
NC30Jolyon PalmerRenault0DNS0