Lewis Hamilton has cut Sebastian Vettel’s lead in the Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship standings to a single point with a record-equaling fifth British Grand Prix victory, while the Ferrari driver fell to seventh after suffering a puncture on the penultimate lap of the race.
In a disastrous outcome for the Italian team, Vettel’s teammate Kimi Räikkönen also suffered a left-front tyre failure the lap before which initially dropped him out of podium contention, but the Finn subsequently recovered to claim third place.
Sandwiched between an ecstatic Hamilton and frustrated Räikkönen was Valtteri Bottas, who put in a storming drive from ninth on the grid to give Mercedes a vital 1-2 finish.
While conditions were overcast throughout, the sun seemed to shine on Hamilton. The Englishman handed the rest of the field a lesson in controlled driving, leading every lap from pole and setting the fastest lap of the race along the way.
He survived an aborted start brought on by the luckless Jolyon Palmer being forced to park his Renault on the formation lap, and then an early Safety Car interruption triggered by a collision between Toro Rosso drivers Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz Jr on the opening lap of the race.
With racing resumed, he quickly pulled away from the rest of the field and was never headed.
Behind him, Räikkönen led a forlorn chase in second place while a slow-starting Vettel – whose rear brakes momentarily caught fire on the starting grid – was boxed in behind Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.
The duo battled forcefully until Ferrari forced Red Bull’s hand by pitting Vettel in the hope of under-cutting the Dutch driver. The plan worked, with Verstappen pitting a lap later and suffering a slow stop with a wheelnut issue.
The put him out of contention and allowed the two Ferraris to run second and third in the middle stint of the race, but Bottas – who had by now worked his way up to second before he eventually pitted and rejoined behind the two scarlet cars.
He moved ahead of Vettel – shortly after the German flat-spotted his left-front tyre – to claim third, but did not seem to have enough laps in hand to do anything about Räikkönen, who was running an apparently secure race in second place.
Then the 2007 World Champion’s left-front tyre failed on Lap 49; Bottas swept into second as he limped back to the pits, before Vettel’s tyre had a seemingly identical failure a lap later.
The late race drama allowed Verstappen to claim fourth and end his recent run of retirements. The teenager was also pulled into the pits for a late second stop amid the Ferrari drivers’ tyre failures, with the team fearing the same fate for him after his early pit stop in the race.
His teammate Daniel Ricciardo recovered from the back row of the grid to finish a superb fifth and earn the ‘Driver of the Day’ fan vote. The Australian finished ahead of Renault’s Nico Hülkenberg, who backed up his strong qualifying performance on Saturday.
Vettel was the final driver on the lead lap, finishing ahead of the Force Indias of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Pérez who drove in close proximity for the entire race. Williams’ Felipe Massa rounded out the points’ paying positions by finishing tenth.
McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne couldn’t match his top-ten qualifying performance in the race as faster runners worked their way forward, but claimed a creditable eleventh ahead of the Haas Ferraris of Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean.
Both Haas drivers were in the wars. Magnussen was an innocent victim of the Kvyat/Sainz contact on the opening lap when Sainz collected his rear end and caused suspected diffuser damage. Grosjean, meanwhile, had a late race tangle battling with Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, but recovered to overtake the Swede before the chequered flag.
Fifteenth place went to Kvyat, who will face a tense debrief in the Toro Rosso motorhome after punting teammate Sainz out of the race on the opening lap. The pair battled side-by-side through Becketts until Kvyat ran wide through the sweeps and rejoined the track out of control, hitting Sainz and putting the Spaniard into instant retirement. It was the Russian’s second first-lap collision in as many races.
|2017 FORMULA 1 ROLEX BRITISH GRAND PRIX – FINAL CLASSIFICATION (51 LAPS)|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Laps||Result|
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||51||1:21:27.430|
|2.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||51||+ 14.063|
|3.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||51||+ 36.570|
|4.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||51||+ 52.125|
|5.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||51||+ 1:05.955|
|6.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||51||+ 1:08.109|
|7.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||51||+ 1:33.989|
|8.||Esteban Ocon||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||50||1 lap behind|
|9.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||50||1 lap behind|
|10.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||50||1 lap behind|
|11.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren-Honda MCL32||50||1 lap behind|
|12.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||50||1 lap behind|
|13.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||50||1 lap behind|
|14.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||50||1 lap behind|
|15.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||50||1 lap behind|
|16.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||50||1 lap behind|
|17.||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||50||1 lap behind|
|Not Classified||Team / Entry||Laps||Result|
|DNF.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren-Honda MCL32||32||Engine|
|DNF.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||0||Collision|
|DNS.||Jolyon Palmer||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||Hydraulics|
Race distance reduced to 51 of its 52 scheduled laps after the first start attempt was aborted.
Image via Sky Sports F1
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