Hamil­ton seizes on Vet­tel’s tire blow­ing out

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - ROB HAR­RIS

SIL­VER­STONE, ENG­LAND — Se­bas­tian Vet­tel’s cham­pi­onship lead was shred­ded at the Bri­tish Grand Prix — just like his tire.

A 20-point lead was slashed to a sin­gle point by Lewis Hamil­ton af­ter the Mercedes driver led from start to fin­ish to cruise to a fourth win of the sea­son as Vet­tel ca­pit­u­lated.

Vet­tel was never in re­al­is­tic con­tention for vic­tory on Sun­day, but he was still third en­ter­ing the penul­ti­mate lap — a fin­ish that would have en­sured 10 points still sep­a­rated him from Hamil­ton.

But Sil­ver­stone wit­nessed a re­mark­able col­lapse, a fi­nal twist on an af­ter­noon of thrilling rac­ing.

A front-left blowout on Vet­tel’s Fer­rari sent rub­ber rem­nants of the tire fly­ing across the track as the four-time world cham­pion crawled back into the pits for re­pairs just in time.

It en­sured Vet­tel was still able to fin­ish sev­enth and col­lect the points that kept him top head­ing into the Hun­gar­ian Grand Prix on July 30.

“It could have been a bit bet­ter for sure, but a dis­as­ter? I don’t think so,” Vet­tel said.

“I don’t think there is any­one par­tic­u­larly to blame.”

Trou­blingly for Fer­rari, Vet­tel’s tire trou­ble struck a lap af­ter team­mate Kimi Raikko­nen’s car also ex­pe­ri­enced a punc­ture as he was set for sec­ond. It al­lowed Valt­teri Bot­tas to com­plete a Mercedes one-two with Hamil­ton as Raikko­nen com­pleted the podium.

“I don’t wish any mis­for­tune on any­one,” Hamil­ton said. “But we didn’t have any is­sues.”

Un­like the last two races when Hamil­ton lost ground in the cham­pi­onship.

There was a faulty head rest in Azer­bai­jan that con­tributed to Hamil­ton fin­ish­ing fifth, fol­lowed by a five-place grid penalty for an unau­tho­rized gear­box in Aus­tria where he was fourth.

Now Hamil­ton is back on top of the podium, for a record-equalling fifth time at his home race.

“Ob­vi­ously the pen­du­lum has swung this week­end,” Hamil­ton said. “That is only good for For­mula One and good for the fans with the close bat­tle we con­tinue to have.”

Hamil­ton wasn’t on the podium for long.

Soon he was among the fans who roared him to glory, vault­ing out of the pit line and crowd-surf­ing.

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