Mercedes' Lewis wins fifth British Grand Prix title to slash Seb Vettel's championship deficit
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning the British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit in Towcester yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
Lewis Hamilton cruised unchallenged to a fourth consecutive win in his home British Grand Prix and slashed his championship deficit to Sebastian Vettel to just one point after the Ferrari driver suffered a puncture on the penultimate lap.
Hamilton crossed the line a dominant 14 seconds ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas who put on a strong recovery drive from ninth on the grid, to complete a one-two for Mercedes. Vettel, already enduring a difficult afternoon, had been due to cross the line fourth until a punctured front left tyre two laps from the end forced the German to pit, dropping him down to seventh at the flag.
His teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who had been forced to pit with a shredded tyre just a lap earlier, initially elevating Vettel up to third, reclaimed the final podium spot.
Lewis grateful for support
"Thank you to everyone who turned up, I see you, God bless you," said Hamilton over the radio on the cool down lap before stepping out of his car to chants of "Lewis! Lewis," from the 137,500 fans packing the stands around the circuit yesterday.
"It's a feeling I can't really describe," added Hamilton, 32, who had attracted criticism in the build up to the race for being the only driver to miss the F1 Live demonstration through the streets of London. Yesterday's win was the 57th of Hamilton's career. It was also his fifth overall on home soil and sees him match the legendary Jim Clark, who also scored five British wins in total with four of those in a row.
It revives his challenge for a fourth title after two difficult weekends with the Briton, who now has four wins to Vettel's three, on 176 points to the German's 177 with ten of 20 races still to go.
Hamilton had gone into the weekend trailing Vettel by 20 points and needing to turn his season around. Yesterday's race was just what he needed after two luckless weekends in Baku and Austria.
Starting from a dominant pole with Vettel only third, the Mercedes driver sprinted away at the front ahead of Raikkonen. Vettel, his brakes smoking on the grid, lost position to Red Bull's Max Verstappen and fell to fourth.
The Ferrari driver overhauled the Dutchman at the pit stops after a few tense moments of wheel-to-wheel action between the pair and moved up to third behind Hamilton and Raikkonen.
But his time among the podium places was short-lived with a charging Bottas, who had started on the harder tyres and had switched on to the super-softs for his final stint, sweeping past on fresher and grippier tyres.
With the laps ticking down, drama struck just when the order seemed set. First it was Raikkonen who slowed with a shredded front-left tyre. Vettel, who appeared to have benefited from his teammate's misfortune, suffered a puncture only a lap later, his car dragging along the ground and throwing up sparks as it crawled back to the pits.
8, 9 finish for Force India
Nico Hulkenberg finished a strong sixth for Renault, the team celebrating their 40th anniversary in Formula One this weekend. Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez scored a double points finish for Force India at the outfit's home race in eighth and ninth, respectively.
Felipe Massa in the Williams scored the final point in tenth.
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