Lewis Hamilton wins French Grand Prix to retake F1 lead

Jun 25, 2018, 01:22
Lewis Hamilton wins French Grand Prix to retake F1 lead

Lewis Hamilton cruised to victory in the French Grand Prix on Sunday and took over at the top of the world championship standings.

Mercedes took control and Hamilton clocked the best time in Q1, which ended, as rain began to fall, with both McLarens and both Williams eliminated -- a sad contrast to the pomp of the once-great British teams, when the French race was last held at the Paul Ricard Circuit 28 years ago.

"It was not the line, I think I wasn't braking where I was braking for qualifying".

Elaborating on his approach to the corner, Vettel says he was only marginally too late on the brakes and would not have run wide had there not been a auto on his outside.

Vettel pitted to have the car's nose replaced while Bottas' tyre was almost entirely gone by the time he got back to his Mercedes team.

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Sacré bleu: Two of the grid's three French drivers had retired by the end of the first lap.

The start featured the drama many expected as Vettel was slow to brake and clipped Botta at the first corner, causing a major collision and the safety auto to come out. Vettel and Bottas were at the back following their repairs.

Shocker: This has to be Sebastian Vettel's clumsy collision with Valtteri Bottas at Turn 1.

Ferrari had no option but to pit the German once more and they did on lap 40, took the ultrasofts and his penalty, emerging still in fifth but he could do more. If it doesn't rain.well, don't say you were not warned.

Hamilton smiled and replied: "I mean, I hope so! It was a stupid move".

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Bottas was hit by Vettel as the leaders rounded the first corner at Paul Ricard and spun, sustaining a puncture in the process, which dropped him to the back of the field. He was into the points in 10th, passing Nico Hulkenberg on lap 12 but was already 24 seconds back from Hamilton. He stopped for new tyres on lap 33, momentarily losing the lead, before regaining it when Raikkonen stopped a lap later.

Lauda's comments came after Hamilton was clear about Vettel being at fault for the clash when he watched a replay prior to the podium ceremony. That is where he would remain.

But in a disastrous session for the under-pressure McLaren team, Stoffel Vandoorne and Fernando Alonso were eliminated at the first hurdle - the team's worst result in a season on the cusp of turning ugly. After the race, Vettel made no attempt to shift the blame onto his rival. "I think we had no problems with the tyres, so I think we have made progress, and hopefully we can keep learning and make progress". "I knew that maybe with really unbelievable lap I maybe had a chance". "But looking back I pushed too hard".

He can split this award with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who executed a good pass on Vettel on lap 34 after forcing the Ferrari driver into a mistake on the edge of the hairpin. "My guys, I have been with them for six years they are pushing the boundaries and never giving up", said Hamilton, who grabbed his third win this season, pulling even with Vettel. "It's a handsome Sunday".

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