Lewis Hamilton wins from 14th as Sebastian Vettel crashes out

Jul 23, 2018, 01:39
Lewis Hamilton wins from 14th as Sebastian Vettel crashes out

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium after winning the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany.

Hamilton stormed from 14th on the grid to win the rain-hit race and regain the leadership of the world championship after title rival Sebastian Vettel crashed out in the treacherous conditions.

Vettel had comfortably led the race from pole position until a mistake in lap 52 saw the German lock up as he approached a hairpin turn, sending him into the gravel with no hope of recovery.

Sebastian Vettel needs to keep the pressure firmly on Lewis Hamilton at this weekend's German Grand Prix. I honestly thought I was going to stay out, I was happy with my tyres.

Lewis Hamilton wins from 14th as Sebastian Vettel crashes out
Lewis Hamilton wins from 14th as Sebastian Vettel crashes out

It was the 66th win of his F1 career and minutes after the finish, the heavens opened with an array of thunder and lightning and a fierce downpour that would have stopped any race.

Hamilton was told to pit, then told the team Kimi Raikkonen was pitting in front of him and was told to stay out, which became "in, in, in, in!" as he aborted and cut across the grass to rejoin the track.

Hamilton, who threw himself across the pitlane wall into the arms of his mechanics and also got a bear-hug from delighted Mercedes-Benz boss Dieter Zetsche, seemed about as stunned as anyone.

"It's been an emotional, the most emotional day, up and down", said Hamilton just after hearing the outcome. It couldn't have been a better day for me.

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"Love conquers all", he declared, a possible reference to a defiant message he had posted on Instagram after his auto broke down in Saturday's qualifying.

With 15 laps to go, Vettel looked to be strolling towards his first win at Hockenheim, stretching his lead in the overall standings after victory in Silverstone two weeks ago.

"I really manifested my dream today".

A triple-header has the ability to make or break a season and, while Hamilton fell behind Vettel in the title race, Daniel Ricciardo has slipped out of the picture completely. "Interesting tactics from their (Ferrari) side", Hamilton mused as he appeared to point at foul play by Ferrari.

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Mercedes technical director James Allison was quoted as suggesting that opening lap accidents in France and Britain, that had seen Ferrari cars collide with Mercedes, could be explained only as "deliberate or incompetent".

"I had it in my hands - small mistake, big disappointment", said the German. A real dream and one I will always remember. It was my mistake so apologies to the team. "They did everything right".

As Hamilton, in fourth place and on fresher tyres, began to close his deficit to Vettel, the Ferrari skated off the track at the Sachs Kurve hairpin. Haas had lost out heavily in the chaos, but Romain Grosjean delivered a very impressive final few laps to climb from tenth to pass Perez on the final lap and secure sixth behind Hulkenberg at the flag.

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