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Formula 1: McLaren Ringing Car Changes To 'close The Gap' After Shanghai

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Sebastian Vettel extended his lead at the top of the Formula 1 drivers' championship with a hard-fought victory in Sunday's British Grand Prix as title rival Lewis Hamilton recovered from a first-lap clash that left him at the back of the field to finish second.

Pole-sitter Hamilton was hit by Kimi Raikkonen at Turn 3, causing him to spin and fall to the bottom of the timesheets before a stunning rise through the field put him in contention for a high finish.

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Two Safety Car periods played into Hamilton's hands, as well as giving Mercedes' teammate Valtteri Bottas a shot at victory, only for the two-stopping Vettel to recover the lead with five laps remaining en route to his 51st career win.

After slipping behind Vettel off the line after getting too much wheelspin and then losing a position to Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton's hopes of a home victory were dealt a blow when he was struck by Kimi Raikkonen at Turn 3 after the Finn locked up. Hamilton's car was turned around, leaving him down in P17 and over 20 seconds down on title rival Vettel by the time he had rejoined the track.

Hamilton wasted little time in scything his way back up the order, putting Mercedes' significant pace advantage over the midfield runners to good use to rise back up to sixth by the end of Lap 10. Raikkonen was hit with a 10-second time penalty for causing a collision, which Ferrari decided to take early after bringing the Finn into the pits at the end of Lap 13 to move him onto the Medium compound tyre.

The incident at the start had allowed Vettel to forge a healthy lead for Ferrari at the front, running six seconds clear of Bottas in P2, with Max Verstappen sitting third for Red Bull. Vettel was able to retain his advantage before pitting at the end of Lap 20 before Bottas followed suit one lap later, with a quicker turnaround from the Mercedes crew allowing the gap to drop. Wishing not to stunt Bottas' charge, Mercedes gave Hamilton the call to allow his teammate through before eventually pitting the Briton at the end of Lap 25, also fitting Mediums to try and get to the end of the race.

Hamilton emerged from the pits in sixth place before gaining a position when Red Bull brought Daniel Ricciardo in from P4 in a bid to cover off Raikkonen, who had bounced back from his penalty to pile pressure on the Australian. Hamilton was able to lap as much as 1.5 seconds per lap faster than Vettel in the lead, who was struggling on the Mediums. But with 20 seconds still separating the title contenders, it appeared Mercedes' best hopes of victory lay with Bottas in second, who had whittled the gap down to just two seconds at the front of the pack.

Both Bottas and Hamilton were dealt a slice of luck when the Safety Car was deployed on Lap 33 following a big crash for Sauber's Marcus Ericsson at Turn 1. Ericsson tried to keep DRS open through the corner, only for his car to spear into the barrier at high speed. The Swede was able to walk away unharmed, but the smash was enough to warrant a Safety Car period.

Ferrari was quick to react, bringing both Vettel and Raikkonen in for a fresh set of Soft tyres. Red Bull did the same with Verstappen, matching up with Ricciardo's strategy, but Mercedes had enough confidence in its Medium-tyre pace that it opted to keep Bottas and Hamilton out. This allowed Bottas to move into the lead of the race, with Hamilton sitting P3 behind Vettel ahead of the restart on Lap 38.

The green-flag running lasted only long enough for a superb defensive move from Verstappen to keep Raikkonen back in the battle for fourth before Romain Grosjean and Carlos Sainz Jr. collided at Copse. Both drivers were quick to blame one another, but it did little to change their retirement status as the crash brought out the Safety Car once again.

Bottas led the field away to the green flag after four laps behind the Safety Car, but was closely tailed by Vettel, who attempted an overtake on the inside at Brooklands, only for the Finn to defend bravely. Vettel edged back before getting DRS two laps into the restart, allowing him to go side-by-side down the Wellington Straight, with Bottas once again sticking his elbows out and forcing the Ferrari driver to drop back. Hamilton and Raikkonen were also in the frame at the front, with just 1.4 seconds separating the top four drivers heading into the final eight laps of the race.

Vettel's best chance came on Lap 47 when he was able to gain six-tenths through the first sector before popping DRS open on the Wellington Straight. Coming from a long way back, he pointed his Ferrari down the inside of the corner, barging past Bottas to seize the lead of the race with five laps to go.

Bottas' woes continued as both Hamilton and Raikkonen were able to pass in the two laps that followed as the Finn struggled on his Medium tyres, leaving his teammate to take the fight to Vettel in the closing stages of the race. Hamilton was able to pull out some quick laps, yet Vettel was quick to respond, keeping his rival at an arm's length.

With 52 laps in the books, Vettel was able to cross the line to clinch a hard-earned British Grand Prix victory for Ferrari, extending his lead in the drivers' championship in the process. It marked just his second win at Silverstone, his first coming back in 2009 for Red Bull.

Hamilton was able to end his stunning recovery drive in second place for Mercedes, limiting the damage of Vettel's win to ensure the gap at the head of the standings is just eight points heading to the German Grand Prix in two weeks' time.

Despite being given the hurry-up to try and catch Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen could not bridge the gap, leaving him P3 at the chequered flag. It nevertheless marked an impressive drive from the 2007 world champion following his earlier penalty.

Bottas held on for fourth place in the second Mercedes, crossing the line six-tenths of a second clear of Daniel Ricciardo after a close-fought final lap between the two drivers. Ricciardo was Red Bull's sole finisher after a race-long brake-by-wire issue finally forced Max Verstappen to retire with six laps remaining, having spun off the track at Club not long after the final restart.

Nico Hulkenberg was able to produce a superb recovery drive for Renault to charge from 11th on the grid to sixth at the chequered flag, perfecting a one-stop strategy to finish ahead of Force India's Esteban Ocon in P7.

Fernando Alonso was the leading midfield driver on a two-stop strategy, finishing the race eighth. The Spaniard was left fuming about Kevin Magnussen's late race moves, though, with McLaren reporting the Dane to the stewards after he reportedly tried to force Alonso onto the grass. Magnussen lost a place to Alonso on the final lap, finishing the race ninth.

Pierre Gasly rounded out the points-paying positions for Toro Rosso in P10, but is under investigation after a run-in with Sergio Perez when passing at Luffield. Perez had recovered from a bizarre first-corner spin that saw him almost take out the cars starting in the pit lane to finish the race 11th for Force India.

Stoffel Vandoorne finished 12th for McLaren ahead the Williams pair of Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin, who were the last classified finishers in 13th and 14th respectively. Charles Leclerc retired after his first pit stop after Sauber failed to attach his right-rear wheel properly, forcing him to park up at the side of the track after being in contention for points, while Brendon Hartley retired at the end of the first lap due to an issue after starting in the pit lane.

 

Formula 1 British Grand Prix – Full race classification

1. Sebastian Vettel GER Scuderia Ferrari 52 laps

2. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport +2.264s

3. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Scuderia Ferrari +3.652s

4. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport +8.883s

5. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Aston Martin Red Bull Racing +9.500s

6. Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault Sport Formula One Team +28.220s

7. Esteban Ocon FRA Sahara Force India F1 Team +29.930s

8. Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren F1 Team +31.115s

9. Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas F1 Team +33.188s

10. Pierre Gasly FRA Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda +34.129s

11. Sergio Perez MEX Sahara Force India F1 Team +34.708s

12. Stoffel Vandoorne BEL McLaren F1 Team +35.774s

13. Lance Stroll CAN Williams Martini Racing +38.106s

14. Sergey Sirotkin RUS Williams Martini Racing +48.113s

15. Max Verstappen NED Aston Martin Red Bull Racing +1 lap

Did not finish

Carlos Sainz Jr. ESP Renault Sport Formula One Team

Romain Grosjean FRA Haas F1 Team

Marcus Ericsson SWE Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team

Charles Leclerc MON Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team

Brendon Hartley NZL Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda


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Source : http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2018-07-08/f1/Formula-1-Ferrari-driver-Sebastian-Vettel-wins-the-British-Grand-Prix-6736193112

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