Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has won a thrilling British Grand Prix, wowing the crowds at Silverstone with a last-blast pass on Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas for the lead on Lap 47 - on a day when his title rival Lewis Hamilton made the best of multiple safety cars to fight back to second place from last, after being tapped into a spin on Lap 1 by Kimi Raikkonen.
Vettel’s victory, which puts him 8-points ahead of Hamilton in the drivers’ standings, was earned despite having to stop for a second time under the safety car - the 4-time F1 World Champion struggling first on blistered softs, then on the mediums, before switching to a new set of softs for the run to the flag.
“Obviously the safety car spiced it up,” said Vettel, who in taking his second British Grand Prix victory, his first on the current layout and first for Ferrari at Silverstone since 2011, matched Alain Prost’s record of 51 victories for equal third on the all-time list.
“It was a nice battle with Valtteri [Bottas], was pushing like crazy, obviously. I had the advantage on the tyres. But not so easy to find a way through and then I think I surprised him. I wasn’t sure if I’d make the corner but I did and so it worked really well. Very happy.”
Hamilton finished second, passing Bottas for the championship on Lap 48, 1.3 seconds ahead of Raikkonen - who took a 10-second time penalty at his stop on Lap 14 for pushing Hamilton into a spin.
The British Grand Prix completes F1’s first-ever triple header, with two weeks now until the next race in Germany at the Hockenheim circuit on July 22.
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Here’s how the FORMULA 1 2018 BRITISH GRAND PRIX played-out lap-by-lap:
It’s a perfect day at Silverstone for racing, and one of the highlights of the Formula 1 calendar in the British Grand Prix. Silverstone is the home of British motorsport, and where the Formula 1 World Championship began in 1950 - the inaugural race won by the original F1 World Champion Giuseppe Farina. And today it’s another great on pole position, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton taking a record sixth British Grand Prix pole. The four-time F1 World Champion securing his fourth-straight pole in England, his 50th for Mercedes and the 44th for car #44 - just 0.044 seconds ahead of his front-row combatant, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, the championship leader who is still nursing a neck issue. And today, Hamilton could take a record sixth British Grand Prix win - eclipsing fellow World Champions Jim Clark and Alain Prost.
Behind Hamilton and Vettel on the Silverstone front row, it’s their teammates with Kimi Raikkonen third and Valtteri Bottas fourth - then it’s the two Red Bull Racing drivers in fifth and sixth with Max Verstappen ahead of Ricciardo for the fourth-straight time, despite the Australian suffering from DRS issues in qualifying, with an FOM software glitch. Then it’s the two Ferrari-powered Haas cars, with Kevin Magnussen ahead of Romain Grosjean - and then Sauber’s Charles Leclerc, who made it into Q3 for the second time in three races. The young Monegasque again proving he’s the real deal.
The midfield should be a brutal fight with the Renaults down the order, Nico Hulkenberg starting P11 and teammate Carlos Sainz down in P16, the first time that he’s failed to progress from Q1 since Bahrain 2017. The works Renaults will be fighting Force India’s Esteban Ocon (starts in P10), and Sergio Perez (P12). There will also be a 2-time F1 World Champion to contend with, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso starting P13, hailing it his best qualifying session of 2018. "All of Saturday has gone well and we were very competitive given our possibilities, obviously,” Alonso said. "I'm happy and hopefully tomorrow we can score some points.”
Three drivers are starting from the pit lane, including both Williams cars - Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin’s cars modified whilst under Parc Ferme conditions following issues in qualifying. Toro Rosso racer Brendon Hartley failed to take part in qualifying given his huge crash in final practice on Saturday, suspension failure at Turn 6 pitching his car heavily into the barriers, so races at the stewards’ discretion. He will start from the pit lane after a change of survival cell.
It’s going to be a hot race, Pirelli’s 350th Grand Prix, with the ambient temperature 26 degrees Celsius and the track up at 52 degrees. Will we see the blistering that affected so many drivers last weekend in Austria? That may force a 2-stop strategy. Vettel will need to keep the pressure on Hamilton right from the outset, with the Brit gunning for his sixth British GP win, a record-five straight at his home race, and the Mercedes the car to beat around Silverstone. But, the fastest way around is starting on the softs, with a stop on lap 15-24 - and switching to the mediums. Or for a 2-stop, doing two stints on the softs - stopping lap 9-15 and 19-25. One thing to note is that Mercedes is the only top team with no new sets of softs for the race.
The majority of the grid are on softs, with the top-10 on the sets they used to set their fastest lap in Q2. Both Renaults start on the mediums, as does Stroll and Hartley who are both starting from the pit lane. How will they get away on Silverstone’s brand new surface? Hamilton is told to remember about the wind, tail wind into Turn 4. Hartley is not likely to take the start, but will get out Toro Rosso says. Only 17 cars starting from the grid.
Hamilton has a bad start, Vettel a better one and is into the lead ahead of Bottas and Hamilton is back into third but is touched by Raikkonen and spins off into Turn 3. He’s in 18th. Raikkonen passes Ricciardo into Copse for P4. Hamilton complains his car is broken.
Vettel leads Bottas by 2.3 seconds. Verstappen is third, 2.4 seconds behind Bottas. Raikkonen is less than half a second behind the lead Red Bull. Leclerc is up to P7. Hamilton says tyre issues. He passes Sirotkin for P16 into Copse.
Vettel sets the fastest lap, a 1:32.918. Hartley has retired. It’s Vettel, Bottas, Verstappen, Raikkonen, and Ricciardo closes the top-five. Replays showing Hamilton didn’t leave enough space for Raikkonen into Turn 3. Hamilton is up to P14, having passes Ericsson. Raikkonen is all over the back of Verstappen.
It’s another fastest lap for Vettel, a 1:32.723. Hamilton says he’s lost his floor, but team cannot see on data. Vettel is 4.1 seconds ahead of Bottas, Verstappen is under attack from Raikkonen. Replays show that Raikkonen locked up into Turn 3 on Lap 1, could he have caused the Hamilton issue?
Vettel leads Bottas by 5-seconds. Hamilton is in P12, behind Alonso. Raikkonen is in heated pursuit of Verstappen for P3, less than a second between them. Sainz in P9 is chasing down Ocon.
Hamilton is ahead of Alonso and up into P11, 24-seconds behind the leader Vettel - who is now 5.2 seconds up on Bottas. He needs a safety car to come back into play. Hamilton takes Magnussen for P10 into Brooklands. He’s now into the points.
Vettel leads Bottas by 5.2 seconds, then Verstappen is 4-seconds adrift in P3 - still being pursued by Raikkonen, who locks up and goes wide to lose time. The Finn has been given a 10-second time penalty for causing the collision at the start.
Hamilton has passes Sainz and is up into P9. His next target is Ocon, 1.1 seconds ahead. Vettel in front is 5.6 seconds ahead of Bottas, with Verstappen 4.3 seconds behind in third. Hamilton is quickly sizing up Ocon. Grosjean and Magnussen incident at the start under investigation.
Hamilton takes P8 from Ocon into Stowe. His next target is Leclerc, 1.1 seconds ahead - this is like a hot knife through butter! Can he reach the podium from here? Vettel and Bottas out front are both doing low 1:33s.
Hamilton passes Leclerc at Stowe for P7. His next target is Hulkenberg, less than a second ahead, from there it’s Ricciardo - 11-seconds ahead on the road. Alonso in P12 is chasing Magnussen, 0.8 seconds the gap.
Wow, Hamilton passes Hulkenberg at Stowe - easy pass - for P6. This is an incredible fightback drive! Vettel leads Bottas by 6.1 seconds now, the German three tenths faster on that last lap. Pit window open to get to the end of the race.
It’s Vettel, Bottas, Verstappen, Raikkonen and Ricciardo - then Hamilton, 12.3 seconds behind the Australian. Raikkonen wanting to pass Verstappen, asking his engineer for help but told penalty is an issue - “I’m not allowed to think anymore,” is the reply. No further action for the Haas incident at the start of the race.
Vettel lead Bottas, the Finn faster by 0.2 on that last lap. Ricciardo and Hamilton in P5 and P6 doing personal best laps - Hamilton’s 0.6 sec faster than Vettel’s last. Hamilton has closed the gap to Ricciardo down to 11.4 seconds.
Raikkonen pits, takes his penalty - changes to the mediums, 12.9 second stop time. He’s down in P11. Alonso has pitted, drops to P17. Raikkonen passes Magnussen for P10 at Brooklands.
Vettel leads Bottas by 5.8 seconds. Then it’s Verstappen, Ricciardo, Hamilton - who is 10.8 seconds behind the Australian. Raikkonen in P10 has just set the fastest final sector. Leclerc in P7 is less than a second behind Hulkenberg.
Raikkonen has passed Sainz into Brooklands for P9. Bottas is gaining on leader Vettel, 5.7 seconds the gap - with the Finn over two tenths faster on the last lap. Raikkonen sets the fastest lap, a 1:32.270. And he’s now behind Ocon, and passes him for P8 into Brooklands. Hamilton in P5 is 9.6 seconds behind Ricciardo.
Leclerc is impressively chasing Hulkenberg for P6. Ferrari versus Renault power. Vettel locked up on that last lap, costing him 0.7 sec - the lead now just 5.2 seconds.
Verstappen pits from P3, taking the mediums, releasing Ricciardo and Hamilton. Raikkonen has passed Hulkenberg for P6 into Stowe. Vettel leads Bottas by 5.1 seconds.
Ricciardo pits from P3, releasing Hamilton and Verstappen - heading onto the mediums, 2.6 seconds. Raikkonen sets the fastest lap, a 1:32.135. Sainz took on the hards at his stop, the race debut for that compound. Leclerc pits for the undercut on Hulkenberg, but has pulled off. Was it a loose wheel that has cost him another result? Right rear loose.
Yellow flags for Leclerc, as Ocon pits. Vettel leads Bottas by just 3.7 seconds. Hamilton is 16.7 seconds behind his teammate in P3. Then it’s Verstappen, Ricciardo and Raikkonen all over the Australian.
Vettel pits with blistered right front, goes onto the mediums. 3.1 sec stop. Bottas leads but is yet to stop. Hulkenberg pits from P7. Raikkonen goes wide at Copse and has dropped back from Ricciardo.
Bottas pits, releasing Vettel - he goes into the mediums, 2.3 second stop. He exits in P3, behind Hamilton who is yet to pit. Vandoorne pits from P11. Hamilton’s pace good compared to those around him on fresher mediums. He’s doing 1:33.7s, with those around him on 1:33.6s.
Hamilton in P2 is being caught by Bottas, the pair switch places down the Wellington straight. So he’s down to P3. So it’s Vettel, Bottas and Hamilton who is yet to stop. Then it’s Verstappen, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Magnussen, Grosjean, Ericsson and Hulkenberg completing the top-10. Both Renault drivers are on the hards - and the only ones to be on that hard compound.
Vettel leads Bottas by 3.9 seconds - the Finn much faster on that last lap, 0.6 sec faster. He’s done a personal best. Hamilton says he can do one more lap on the softs.
Vettel leads Bottas by 3.2 seconds, he’s looking very strong - his last lap 0.6 faster again. So is the leader suffering on the mediums?
Vettel leads Bottas by 3.4 seconds, then Hamilton 5.3 seconds behind him - as the Mercedes team comes into the pit lane. Hamilton pits for the mediums, 3.5 second stop. He drops down to P6 behind Raikkonen. So the order is now Vettel, Bottas, Verstappen, Ricciardo, Raikkonen and Hamilton.
Vettel leads Bottas by 3.4 seconds, Verstappen 10.1 seconds adrift in P3. Grosjean pits from P7. Magnussen in P10 is less than a second behind Alonso. Ericsson in P14 is half a second behind Perez.
Hamilton has just set a fastest middle sector, his last lap a personal best - 1-second faster than Vettel up front. He’s 26-seconds behind the leader.
Vettel now just 2.9 seconds ahead of Bottas, as Hamilton sets the fastest lap, a 1:31.682, 1.4 seconds faster than Vettel. He’s now 8.6 seconds behind Raikkonen.
Magnussen is in P10, chasing Alonso hard - Ferrari power stronger than the Renault in the McLaren. Hamilton sets another fastest lap, a 1:31.546. He’s 7.4 seconds behind Raikkonen in P5.
Ricciardo pits for the second time, going back onto the softs. It’s a 2.2 second stop. He’s down in P6, 10.8 sec behind Hamilton now. Can he now close that gap dramatically?
Vettel leads Bottas by 2.3 seconds, can he get to the end of the race in the lead? Both on the mediums.
Ericsson hits the wall hard at Turn 1, going deep into the barrier. And the safety car has been deployed. Ericsson is out of the car and is OK. Alonso pits, as does Sainz, Gasly and Perez.
We’re under the safety car, but Vettel pits from the lead and goes onto the softs. Bottas goes through into the lead, Verstappen and Raikkonen have also pitted. So the order is Bottas, Vettel, Hamilton, Verstappen, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Ocon, Magnussen and Alonso closes out the top-10. Then it’s Grosjean, Sainz, Vandoorne, Gasly, Perez, Sirotkin and Stroll. Ericsson, Leclerc and Hartley have all retired.
Replays show Raikkonen crossed the safety car line, passing one of the Williams. We’re under the safety car here. So can Bottas stay ahead of Vettel when the race is restarted? Hamilton will also be desperate to make up a place. “You’re the fastest car by miles,” Hamilton’s engineer tells him.
We’re under the safety car still. Lapped cars may now overtake - that is both Williams. They’ve now done that. Vettel asks the safety car to slow down, which is an incredible comment from the Ferrari driver but he’s thinking about the restart.
Safety car remains out on track. Order is BOT, VET, HAM, VER, RAI, RIC, HUL, OCO, MAG, ALO, GRO, SAI, GAS, PER, VAN, SIR, STR. Safety car is coming in at the end of this lap. Hamilton being reassured on pace and tyre degradation for race restart. Bottas restarts down Hangar straight into Stowe.
So it’s Bottas, Vettel, Hamilton, Verstappen and Raikkonen - but the Finn is pushing hard to make a pass. Raikkonen passes Verstappen down the Hangar straight for P4, but Verstappen repossess him into Luffield - the Ferrari can’t make it stick into Copse. Another big crash! It’s a Renault. Sainz goes off, as does Grosjean. So the pair have made contact.
Safety car redeployed, as Sainz and Grosjean have gone off at Copse - one of the fastest corners on the championship. Sainz turns in and Grosjean has no room as the pair make contact. Both drivers look like they’re OK. So order is Bottas, Vettel, Hamilton, Verstappen, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Ocon, Magnussen, Alonso, Gasly, Perez, Vandoorne, Sirotkin, Stroll. Sainz has retired from three of the last five British Grand Prix starts.
We’re under the safety car, the second one of the race. Replays show Sainz didn’t leave enough room for Grosjean going into Copse. “He turned in on me!” Stewards will look at the incident after the race. But looks like a racing incident. Grosjean understeered into him as well.
We’re still under the safety car as the two cars are being removed from the gravel. Sainz move looked ambitious. Safety car in at the end of this lap.
11-lap scrap begins. Alonso passes Magnussen. Vettel tries to pass Bottas for the lead into Brooklands. The Finn looks under fire. This top-three battle is massive!
Bottas leads Vettel, then Hamilton and Verstappen - the top-3 covered by 1.7 seconds. Vettel couldn’t get a run on Bottas at Brooklands on this lap, but this is an intensifying battle. Raikkonen passes Verstappen for P4 into Stowe. Huge move.
Raikkonen sets the fastest lap, a 1:31.289. He’s now after Hamilton in P3. Vettel goes round the outside of Bottas into Brooklands, Bottas gets back in Luffield despite going wide - the pair battling hard. This is one hell of a fight!
Bottas still leads Vettel, the German cannot get past into Brooklands this time. Hamilton and Raikkonen and behind scrapping as well. It’s Mercedes versus Ferrari. Vettel can’t make it stick into Stowe.
Vettel is so much closer on this lap it seems. He can’t make it stick into Brooklands. He can’t do Stowe. You could cut the tension with a knife. As Verstappen is off at club. He’s down in P12.
Vettel goes down the inside of Bottas into Brooklands for the lead! This is incredible! He made the move for the win! So it’s Vettel, Bottas, Hamilton, Raikkonen. Verstappen is limping, with rumoured contact with Ricciardo.
Vettel sets the fastest lap, a 1:30.696. He’s 2.3 seconds up on Bottas, who is now starting to struggle. As Verstappen is out of the race. Hamilton passes Bottas for P2 for the championship. Raikkonen in P4 is chasing down Bottas, who is defending hard now.
Raikkonen passes Bottas for P3, the Mercedes a wounded warrior. So it’s Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Bottas, Ricciardo - the Australian now on for the pass of Bottas.
Vettel leads Hamilton by 2.2 seconds. Then it’s Raikkonen by 1.8 secs then Bottas 2.2 seconds behind in P4 and Ricciardo less than half a sec behind the Finn. He doesn’t look close enough to make a move yet.
Vettel leads Hamilton by 2.5 seconds. Ricciardo in P5 is still chasing down Bottas, 0.7 sec the gap. Gasly and Perez have collided over P10, at Club.
Lap 52 - FINAL LAP:
Vettel has won a thrilling British Grand Prix, his second at Silverstone - his first since 2009, first on the current layout, and Ferrari’s first there since Fernando Alonso in 2011.
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