Lewis Hamilton is just 1 point behind championship leader Sebastian Vettel as he dominated the British Grand Prix, with Vettel suffering a late late puncture.
In his home race, it was disastrous for Jolyon Palmer as his race ended before it began, a hydraulics problem meant he was unable to make the start of the race.
When the race did get going, it was a good start from Hamilton. As he retained the lead, Verstappen swept around the outside of Vettel superbly for 3rd place. Bottas made his move straight away, moving up to 7th place from 9th off the start. Lap 1 didn’t go without further incident. The two Toro Rosso’s went side-by-side, and Kvyat went wide. When he rejoined the track, he punted Sainz off, ending his race. The safety car was deployed.
Hamilton kept the lead. At the back, Ricciardo had already got into 12th place from 19th on the grid. This was short lived, however, as he went very wide, falling to 18th place. Bottas continued his charge, moving passed both Force Indias for 5th. Meanwhile, Verstappen was holding Vettel up badly. Vettel had a few go’s at Verstappen, but the Red Bull driver expertly held on each time.
By this time, Ricciardo was nearly in the points in 12th place. The first to blink at the front was Vettel, who tried to get the undercut on Verstappen. When Red Bull pitted the Dutchman the very next lap, Vettel got passed him. Hulkenburg was going very well in 4th place, but put up no fight when Vettel got behind him with DRS.
Hamilton then pit, and just maintained the lead from Bottas, who started on the harder soft tyre compared to the super-softs. While Vettel made no impression on Ricciardo, Bottas pitted for the super-soft tyres and came out ahead of Verstappen, 5 seconds behind Vettel. Alonso’s race ended prematurely, and Ricciardo continued his charge up the field, passing both Force Indias and Magnussen for 7th place.
While Hamilton was cruising towards victory, his championship rivals were in battle. Having been thwarted the lap before, there was no stopping Bottas using DRS and slipstream to ease passed Vettel for a podium spot. The German then fell a long way back with tyre problems, which would give us the drama of the race.
Hulkenburg had a problem, with Ricciardo closing in. However, with a 3 second lead over Bottas, Raikkonen picked up a puncture with just 3 laps to go, falling behind Bottas and Vettel. Verstappen would have passed him as well, but pit to make sure he didn’t pick up a puncture.
This was just the beginning of the drama. Championship leader Vettel also suffered a puncture, this time on the penultimate lap. He fell to 7th place, and his lead in the championship fall to just 1 point.
No such problems out in front for Hamilton, who took the chequered flag to win in his home race. Pole position, led every lap and a late fastest lap despite being on old soft tyres meant another Grand Slam for him. He’ll be extremely confident as he trails Vettel by just 1 point. A superb drive from Bottas saw him claim 2nd place, with a disconsolate Raikkonen having to settle for 3rd.
Verstappen took 4th, and Ricciardo edged passed Hulkenburg for 5th. Vettel came 7th, Ocon, Perez and Massa completed the top 10.
- Alonso (DNF)
- Sainz (DNF)
- Palmer (DNS)
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