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Hamilton reigns supreme as Ferrari suffer late puncture woe

16 July 2017 15:42

A dominant Lewis Hamilton enjoyed the perfect Sunday at Silverstone, claiming a record-equalling fifth British Grand Prix win to cut Sebastian Vettel's world championship lead to a solitary point as both Ferrari drivers suffered dramatic late punctures.

After qualifying on pole, Hamilton led from start to finish on home soil as he joined Jim Clark and Alain Prost as a five-time winner of the race.

And the Briton had even more reason to celebrate when Vettel picked up a puncture on the penultimate lap and dropped from third to seventh as a result.

Remarkably, Vettel's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen fell victim to the same fate a lap earlier, Ferrari's misery enabling Valtteri Bottas to complete a Mercedes one-two despite starting from ninth following a grid penalty.

Vettel was overtaken by Red Bull's Max Verstappen on an eventful opening lap that ended with the safety car being deployed following a collision between Toro Rosso drivers Daniel Kvyat and Carlos Sainz Jr.

As Hamilton pulled clear at the head of the field, Vettel remained stuck behind Verstappen until lap 20, when Ferrari successfully pulled off an under-cut in the pitstops.

Such an early stop would ultimately cost the four-time world champion, however, as Bottas charged past him, before his front-left tyre deflated in the final stages, meaning Verstappen took fourth and Red Bull colleague Daniel Ricciardo claimed fifth having cut through the field from the back of the grid.

 

"HE WANTS TO PLAY BUMPER CARS OR SOMETHING!"

It is fair to say Vettel and Verstappen are not the best of friends - with the former frequently critical of the youngster's aggressive driving style.

The duo produced the most thrilling moment of Sunday's race on lap 14, Verstappen ultimately clinging on to third place after he and Vettel had gone wheel to wheel through a series of corners.

"He wants to play bumper cars or something," said Verstappen over team radio following the daring battle.

Vettel eventually got past Verstappen as the pair pitted on laps 19 and 20 respectively.

However, Vettel's late puncture meant Verstappen finished the higher, the latter coming in for a late stop of his own amid concerns over his tyres.

 

PALMER, SAINZ ENDURE EARLY EXITS AMID DOUBTS OVER FUTURE

Ahead of the race, speculation swirled over the futures of Sainz and Jolyon Palmer, with the Toro Rosso man reportedly being lined up to replace the Briton at Renault in a mid-season switch.

Should this prove to be either man's last race for their current team, they could hardly have bowed out on a more miserable note.

Palmer did not even complete the formation lap, due to a lack of hydraulic pressure.

Sainz was then taken out on lap one by team-mate Kvyat, prompting the Spaniard to sarcastically state over team radio: "You can tell Dany he did a very good job there."

Kvyat was duly handed a drive-through penalty and finished well down the field in 15th.

 

FIFTH GRAND SLAM FOR SILVERSTONE KING LEWIS

Hamilton's total dominance of the weekend was underlined by the fact he completed the fifth grand slam of his career - securing pole position, the race win, the fastest lap and the lead after every lap.

Only Clark (8) has achieved the feat on more occasions, with Hamilton now joining Michael Schumacher and Alberto Ascari in second on the all-time list.

 

HAMILTON GETS FANS ONSIDE, BOOSTS SILVERSTONE CAUSE

"I'm coming over there to crowd surf - be ready for me," said a gleeful Hamilton on the podium as he saluted the fans at his home race.

Hamilton's name was booed at an F1 event in London's Trafalgar Square on Friday, which he chose to controversially snub, so it was perhaps no surprise to see the 32-year-old on a charm offensive after securing victory.

The vocal support of Hamilton on Sunday from a huge crowd could yet play a part in helping Silverstone secure races beyond 2019, amid increasing uncertainty over the venue's future in F1.

Silverstone's owners activated a break clause in their contract earlier this week, but F1's decision-makers are sure to have been impressed by the spectators' enthusiasm during the sport's best-attended weekend.

 

IN THE POINTS
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +14.063 seconds
3. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +36.570s
4. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +52.125s
5. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +65.955s
6. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) +68.109s
7. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +93.989s
8. Esteban Ocon (Force India) +1 lap
9. Sergio Perez (Force India) +1 lap
10. Felipe Massa (Williams) +1 lap

DRIVER STANDINGS
1. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) - 177
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) - 176 (-1)
3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) - 154 (-23)
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) - 117 (-60)
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) - 98 (-79)

CONSTRUCTOR STANDINGS
1. Mercedes - 330
2. Ferrari – 275 (-55)
3. Red Bull – 174 (-156)
4. Force India – 95 (-235)
5. Williams – 41 (-289)


NEXT UP
The second half of the season begins in Hungary in a fortnight's time, where Hamilton has won more than any other driver, with Vettel now under maximum pressure at the top of the drivers' standings.

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