Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton won the British Grand Prix for the fifth time on Sunday – matching the record of Jim Clark and Alain Prost – to cut Sebastian Vettel’s championship lead to just a single point after late tyre dramas hit both Ferraris. They allowed Valtteri Bottas to grab second from Kimi Raikkonen to secure a Mercedes one-two, as Vettel trailed home seventh.
Red Bull – off the pace of the frontrunners all afternoon – were the key beneficiaries, with Max Verstappen fourth and Daniel Ricciardo – the fans’ Driver of the Day after battling his way up from P19 on the grid –fifth. Behind them, Nico Hulkenberg secured a superb sixth place for Renault – some consolation for the French team after Jolyon Palmer in the sister car went out with hydraulic problems on the formation lap. The Force Indias of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez took the flag in eighth and ninth respectively, with Felipe Massa the final point scorer for Williams in tenth.
On a perfect afternoon at his favourite track, Hamilton delivered in style for his fans, starting from pole, leading all the way and setting the fastest lap of the race.
Hamilton took the lead, nursed it during a safety car intervention after the Toro Rossos of Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat had collided on the first lap, then simply controlled the race until the end.
All of the action took place behind him. Raikkonen pushed him as hard as he could, which this day was not enough to worry Mercedes, as Vettel never ran higher than third after losing a huge amount of time trapped behind a boisterous Verstappen who had out-fumbled him in the opening corners with a superb move round the outside at Loop.
The two later came close to swapping paint at Stowe and Club on the 14th lap, after which Ferrari brought their man in and got the undercut on the Dutchman when his left rear wheel’s nut proved sticky during his stop a lap later.
As Red Bull fell back, Bottas in the other Mercedes was pushing forward. He moved ahead of Verstappen after the latter’s pit stop on the 19th lap, then ran long on his soft tyres, climbed to second behind Hamilton as the Ferraris stopped, then battled after them on his supersoft tyres after pitting on the 32nd of the 51 laps.
Thus the complexion of the world championship fight has been turned
around in one afternoon, on which the huge British crowd got exactly
what it came for.
First Grand Prix -
Number of Laps - 52
Circuit Length - 5.891KM
Race Distance - 306.198KM
Lap Record - 1:30.621 by Lewis Hamilton (2017)
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