Mercedes driver cuts Vet­tel’s lead to just one point

Muscat Daily - - SPORTS -

Sil­ver­stone, UK - Lewis Hamil­ton swept to his fourth con­sec­u­tive vic­tory at the Bri­tish Grand Prix on Sun­day to move within a sin­gle point of world cham­pi­onship leader Se­bas­tian Vet­tel.

In a dra­matic race packed with in­ci­dent, Vet­tel suf­fered a late punc­ture and fin­ished seventh for Fer­rari af­ter his team-mate Kimi Raikko­nen also pit­ted with a sim­i­lar prob­lem in the clos­ing stages.

Hamil­ton’s vic­tory, a record­e­qualling fifth in his home event and the 57th of his ca­reer, re­booted his ti­tle chal­lenge as he came home ahead of team-mate Valt­teri Bot­tas, who started ninth, in a dom­i­nant Mercedes one-two fin­ish.

"It’s a feel­ing I just can’t de­scribe re­ally," said a de­lighted Hamil­ton. "Look at this crowd. Thank you to ev­ery­one who turned up. God bless you! "It was in­cred­i­ble – I was in­spired by all the kids who came."

Raikko­nen was third for Fer­rari, af­ter the Ital­ian team had made a strate­gic gam­ble with their tyres, ahead of Max Ver­stap­pen and his Red Bull team­mate Daniel Ric­cia­rdo, who had started 19th on the grid.

Nico Hulken­berg fin­ished sixth for Re­nault ahead of Vet­tel, Este­ban Ocon and his Force In­dia team-mate Ser­gio Perez and Felipe Massa, who came home tenth for Wil­liams.

Bot­tas said, "I am re­ally happy for this to­day. It was not easy, with so many cars to get through, but the team did a per­fect strat­egy. I just kept my head down and we man­aged it."

Raikko­nen said he was dis­ap­pointed with his mis­for­tune, but Vet­tel said he did not blame the team. "It’s just one of those things," said the Ger­man.

Hamil­ton made a per­fect get­away un­der heavy grey skies while Vet­tel had flames leap­ing from his Fer­rari’s brake drum, a dis­trac­tion that did noth­ing to stop Ver­stap­pen pass­ing him for third on the open­ing lap.

The two Toro Rosso cars clashed at Chapel where Car­los Sainz spun off into re­tire­ment, hav­ing col­lided with Daniil Kvyat’s car. The Spa­niard also made con­tact with Kevin Mag­nussen’s Haas. Af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the stew­ards gave Kvyat a drive-through penalty.

This ac­ci­dent brought out the safety car for four laps be­fore rac­ing re­sumed with Hamil­ton back in con­trol ahead of Raikko­nen and Ver­stap­pen while Ric­cia­rdo climbed to 12th.

Bot­tas, hav­ing started ninth af­ter tak­ing a penalty for an un­sched­uled gear­box change, was soon up to fifth with a set of clean passes.

Vet­tel and Ver­stap­pen were scrap­ping on and off the track in a fight for third, giv­ing the packed crowd sev­eral thrilling mo­ments.

Vet­tel, frus­trated by his in­abil­ity to pass the Dutch­man, pit­ted af­ter 19 laps and re­joined sixth, but moved ahead when Ver­stap­pen pit­ted the fol­low­ing lap and came out be­hind the Ger­man.

This gave Bot­tas his chance to take third ahead of Vet­tel and Ver­stap­pen, both hav­ing swept past Hulken­berg, to run be­hind Hamil­ton who led Raikko­nen by six sec­onds.

With ten laps re­main­ing, Hamil­ton was clear by 12 sec­onds and Bot­tas, fourth, was clos­ing on Vet­tel, in­tent on fight­ing for a podium fin­ish.

The Finn tried to pass him on lap 42, when Vet­tel de­fended his po­si­tion, but suc­ceeded a lap later by surg­ing past on Han­gar Straight into Stowe as the Ger­man's tyres faded.

This en­cour­aged the men be­hind him to close in for the fi­nal laps as Hamil­ton reeled off an­other fastest lap to prove his mas­tery. And then with two laps re­main­ing, Raikko­nen suf­fered a left-front punc­ture and had to pit, gift­ing Bot­tas sec­ond place and Vet­tel third be­fore the Ger­man also suf­fered the same fate.

There was bad luck for Fer­nando Alonso when he re­tired with yet an­other en­gine fail­ure. Bri­tish GP re­sults [Top ten]: 1 Lewis Hamil­ton (Mercedes) 1hr 21min 27.430sec, 2 Valt­teri Bot­tas (Mercedes) at 14.063sec, 3 Kimi Raikko­nen (Fer­rari) 36.570s, 4 Max Ver­stap­pen (Red Bull) 52.125s, 5 Daniel Ric­cia­rdo (Red Bull) 1m:05.955s, 6 Nico Hulken­berg (Re­nault) 1m:08.109s, 7 Se­bas­tian Vet­tel (Fer­rari) 1m:33.989s, 8 Este­ban Ocon (Force In­dia) 1 lap, 9 Ser­gio Perez (Force In­dia) 1 lap, 10 Felipe Massa (Wil­liams) 1 lap. World cham­pi­onship driver stand­ings [Top ten]: 1 Vet­tel (177 points), 2 Hamil­ton (176), 3 Bot­tas (154), 4 Ric­cia­rdo (117), 5 Raikko­nen (98), 6 Ver­stap­pen (57), 7 Perez (52), 8 Ocon (43), 9 Car­los Sainz Jr (29), 10 Hulken­berg (26).

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