Lewis lays down early marker in hunt for Vettel

25 Juin, 2018, 20:55 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • Ferrari

In an intriguing twist for Sunday's race, Hamilton along with Bottas and the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo will start the grand prix on supersoft tyres.

The only blot on the weekend for Mercedes wasn't particularly one of its own making: Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel crashed into Valtteri Bottas on the very first lap of the race.

Vettel had to serve a five seconds penalty, which he took at his second pit stop.

Hamilton will welcome the gift from Vettel at the start of a crucial run of three races in three weeks, one of them the British Grand Prix in two weeks' time, and five in six before the four-week summer break in August.

The start of the Paul Ricard race was pushed back by several hours to accommodate England's second World Cup game against Panama, which was shown by numerous teams in the paddock.

Just after the run-in between Vettel and Bottas, there was further trouble when Pierre Gasly ran his Toro Rosso into the back of Esteban Ocon's Force India, knocking them both out of the race and bringing out the safety auto.

"Ultimately you shouldn't really be able to finish ahead of him if you took him out of the race", Hamilton said, referring to the Ferrari driver going on to finish fifth while Bottas was down in seventh.

"Great work guys, so happy for England as well it is a handsome Sunday everyone", he said over his team radio.

"It's a lovely Sunday, everyone".

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He had said the penalty had not been sufficient, given Bottas also took damage to the floor of his auto, but said: "It is really a racing incident and those things can happen". We have made progress.

Spain's Carlos Sainz (Renault) came second in one minute 34.953 seconds, ahead of Charles Leclerc of Monaco (Sauber Ferrari), who recorded one minute 35.012 seconds.

How does it feel to drive an F1 auto at Paul Ricard?

Vettel was sanguine about his performance and potential in qualifying. He then suffered a loss of power in the closing laps.

But the McLaren's suspension failed on the penultimate lap and he had to retire.

Both suffered comprehensive damage to their cars and had to retire, leaving Romain Grosjean to carry the French flag after surviving an incident when Vettel, minus a front wing on his Ferrari, made contact with his Haas vehicle.

Vettel was named the Driver of the Day after his comeback effort. Was it intentionally? Certainly not, because it could have been the end of the race for me. I hope so because Lewis's time was pretty quick. He was controlling the pace.

"I tried to get out of it".

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