Vettel wins a thriller at British GP

2018-07-11 06:02

THE 2018 British Grand Prix will long be remembered as one of the most spectacular around the Silverstone circuit.

For the rightly partisan crowd it was disappointment as Lewis Hamilton wasn’t on the top step of the podium.

Instead, it was Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel who took a stunning win, the 51st of his career.

The race started with Vettel rocketing into the lead and Kimi Raikkonen banging wheels with Hamilton into turn three. The contact sent the Brit into a spin while Raikkonen copped an outrageous 10-second penalty for what Toto Wolff himself termed a racing incident.

While Bottas took advantage and snuck into second, Hamilton in last was convinced that he’d lost half his floor in the contact but reality only banged wheels with the Ferrari. Sixteen laps later the Brit was in sixth, albeit more than a pitstop behind race leader Vettel.

Raikkonen was the first to enter the pitlane where he had to be stationary for 10 seconds before the team could fit the medium compound tyres to his car.

While Vettel pitted shortly after Hamilton, Mercedes eked out the first stint on the soft tyre. He didn’t gain much by doing so, however, as he rejoined in sixth. His chances of getting onto the podium were given a lifeline as the safety car was deployed following a crash by Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson.

As the debris was being cleared, Ferrari and Red Bull opted to pit their cars, but Mercedes gambled and kept Bottas and Hamilton out. The thinking behind Merc’s call was rather straightforward, as they had no new soft tyres to put on their cars.

Hamilton, however, wasn’t impressed with the call and told his team that he wouldn’t be able to hold off the charging pack. The strategy call gave Bottas track position in the lead of the race with Vettel second and Hamilton in third.

The restart of the race saw the Finn able to hold of Vettel’s Ferrari while Raikkonen and Verstappen dueled for fourth. The Dutchman would later retire with a brake-by-wire failure.

But another clash, this time between Carlos Sainz and Romain Grosjean, necessitated the appearance of the safety car once more. Again, Bottas did a good job at the restart and was able to hold off Vettel for a number of laps.

But the Ferrari driver seized the lead of the race from Bottas with a magnificent move the Mercedes driver never saw coming.

Bottas was quickly dispatched by Hamilton and Raikkonen and just held on to fourth ahead of Daniel Ricciardo. Nico Hulkenberg was sixth for Renault while Esteban Ocon, Fernando Alonso, Kevin Magnussen and Sergio Perez completed the top 10.

Despite an enormous adoring crowd, Hamilton didn’t stick around for the post-race interview and was downcast on the podium. Even stranger, in a post-race press conference, he seemed to suggest that Raikkonen had taken him out deliberately.

Outlandish conspiracy theories aside, this is a big win for Ferrari, for Vettel, on Hamilton’s home ground. If the next half of F1 2018 is anything like the first, we’re in for a heck of a ride.

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