Vettel wins as Hamilton charges back to second place

British Grand Prix -1st place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF71H
© XPB 

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel extended his lead in the drivers championship with victory in a thrilling British Grand Prix, which began with a collision between pole sitter Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen.

Hamilton had to complete a recovery drive from the back of the field to claim second place at the line, ahead of Raikkonen who overcame a ten-second penalty for causing the initial accident.

2018 British Grand Prix - Race result

1Sebastian VettelFerrari52 laps - 1:27:29.784s2
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes+ 2.264s1
3Kimi RäikkönenFerrari+ 3.652s2
4Valtteri BottasMercedes+ 8.883s1
5Daniel RicciardoRed Bull+ 9.500s2
6Nico HülkenbergRenault+ 28.220s1
7Esteban OconForce India+ 29.930s1
8Fernando AlonsoMcLaren+ 31.115s2
9Kevin MagnussenHaas+ 33.188s1
10Sergio PérezForce India+ 34.708s2
11Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren+ 35.774s2
12Lance StrollWilliams+ 38.106s1
13Pierre GaslyToro Rosso+ 39.129s2
14Sergey SirotkinWilliams+ 48.113s1
15Max VerstappenRed BullDNF2
16Romain GrosjeanHaasDNF1
17Carlos SainzRenaultDNF2
18Marcus EricssonSauberDNF1
19Charles LeclercSauberDNF1
20Brendon HartleyToro RossoDNS1

Silverstone was scorching under sizzling sunny skies as the cars lined up on the grid for the start. Lewis Hamilton had the benefit of pole position, but when the lights went out the Mercedes bogged down and struggled to get away. It handed the advantage to Sebastian Vettel who took it with relish to lead the race, while Hamilton's attempt to stay ahead of Kimi Raikkonen ended in contact that spun the local favourite around and off.

The incident dropped Hamilton to the back of the field, while Raikkonen also lost several positions and fell to fifth place behind the two Red Bulls. Superior straight line speed enabled the Finn to make quick work of Daniel Ricciardo, but Max Verstappen proved a tougher but to crack.

By lap 5, Vettel had pulled out a five second lead at the front over Valtteri Bottas. The Finn had navigated the first lap chaos to pick up second place from Verstappen, Raikkonen and Ricciardo, while Renault's Nico Hulkenberg had been one of the biggest gainers having leapt up five places to sixth ahead of Sauber's Charles Leclerc and Force India's Esteban Ocon. The second Renault of Carlos Sainz had also made an impressive start to move ahead of Kevin Magnussen, who had tangled with his Haas team mate Romain Grosjean in turn 3 at the start.

The start of the British Grand Prix. 08.07.2018.

Despite complaining of damage to the rear of his W09, Hamilton was applying himself to carving his way back through the field. On lap 6 he won a short but intense duel with McLaren's Fernando Alonso for 12th, and moments later he was in the top ten after rapid passes on Magnussen and Sainz. Hamilton continued to work away and by lap 10 he was completing an easy pass on Hulkenberg for sixth place. However he was still 25 seconds behind the race leader, and even his next target Ricciardo was some ten seconds further down the road.

He would get little cheer from news that Raikkonen had been handed a ten second penalty for causing the first lap collision. The Finn had also sustained front wing damage from his contact with Hamilton, and so it was no surprise that he was the first of the leaders to make a pit stop on lap 14 which dropped him down to 11th place. He was now on a set of new mediums, which he immediately put to good use setting fastest lap times which began moving him back up the order.

Verstappen was next to pit on lap 18, emerging back on track behind Hamilton and in front of the charging Raikkonen. Ricciardo pitted next time by, and then it was the turn of Leclerc. However when the Sauber came back out it was evident he was off the pace, and the Monegasque was ordered to pull off the track and retire from the race with an apparent issue with one of the rear tyres.

Vettel came in on lap 21 after complaining of blistering on his front-left tyre. That handed the lead to Bottas for one lap before the Finn made his own visit to pit lane which briefly promoted the yet-to-stop Hamilton to second place. The team subsequently asked him to make way for Bottas on the fresher tyres, which he did without demur. Hamilton stayed out until lap 25 before making his own stop, returning in sixth place behind Raikkonen but assured by his race engineer that "it's all to play for". Hamilton responded by putting in another fastest lap, some 1.5s quicker than those ahead of him.

At the front, Bottas had eaten his way into Vettel's lead and the suspicion was that the Ferraris were struggling to make their tyres last. Red Bull responded to this by calling Ricciardo on lap 31 for a new set of softs, dropping him to sixth behind Hamilton. But before that strategy could play out, a safety car was scrambled after Marcus Ericsson spun at turn 1 and the Sauber skimmed across the gravel and sustained a hefty impact in the tyre barrier at Abbey.

Mercedes opted to keep both of their drivers out, while Vettel, Verstappen and Raikkonen all dived into the pits for new tyres. It handed Bottas the lead of the race with Vettel back out in second ahead of Hamilton, and Verstappen and Raikkonen returning ahead of Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Ocon, Magnussen and Alonso.

British Grand Prix - Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari pursuing Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing

The question now was whether the Silver Arrows could complete the remaining 17 laps of the race on their existing sets of mediums. "No way I can compete with new tyres," lamented Hamilton, who received swift encouragement from the Mercedes pit wall: "Lewis, you are the fastest car by miles. Don't give up mate. It's all there!"

The race resumed on lap 38 with Bottas getting a clean restart ahead of Vettel and Hamilton. Behind them there was a furious battle for fourth between Verstappen and Raikkonen, with the Dutch driver refusing to submit and ultimately coming out on top. They avoided any contact, which was more than could be said for Sainz and Grosjean who connected going through turn 9. Both cars spun off and into the gravel, triggering a rapid recall for the safety car. Sainz made it clear who he felt was to blame for the accident - "I was in front of him, he understeered into me for sure!" - while Grosjean complained that the Renault had simply turned in on him.

There was no question of anyone making an opportunistic pit stop this time, and the race got back underway on lap 42 with Bottas having to work very hard to retain his lead over Vettel. Emphasising the superior pace of the Ferraris, Raikkonen was this time able to pull off his deferred pass on Verstappen for fourth which put him right on the back of Hamilton.

Initially weathering the storm, a slight hesitation from Bottas on lap 47 gave Vettel the opportunity he was looking for to take the lead of the race. Bottas appeared to be struggling for pace and made way for his team mate, effectively putting himself in the position of acting as 'rear runner' protecting Hamilton from Raikkonen, who no longer had to worry about Verstappen after the Red Bull spun at Club and then reported he was stuck in gear, forcing him to pull off and retire the car.

Bottas' pace had deteriorated rapidly and he succumbed to Raikkonen on lap 49, the Ferrari easily sweeping around the outside of Brooklands to claim the remaining podium place. It left Hamilton in an uncomfortable Ferrari sandwich but with only a couple of laps remaining, which he was able to tough out to the chequered flag.

Britihs Grand Prix - podium celebrations

Bottas held on to fourth ahead of Ricciardo and Hulkenberg, with Ocon, Alonso, Magnussen and Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly rounding out the top ten. However, Gasly had clashed with Force India's Sergio Perez on the penultimate lap, and was given a five second penalty by the race stewards which dropped him down to 13th in the final results. That promoted Perez into the points despite having suffered a costly spin on lap 10, while Stoffel Vandoorne was duly promoted to 11th following a rather nondescript outing for the McLaren.

Brendon Hartley failed to start the race after the Toro Rosso pit crew were unable to get his STR13 ready in time after his huge accident in Saturday's practice.

Both Williams did start the race albeit from pit lane after breaking parc fermé conditions overnight to make changes to the rear wing on both cars. However neither Lance Stroll nor Sergey Sirotkin appeared to find much in the way of extra pace during the afternoon and finished 12th and 14th respectively.

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter