British Grand Prix: Sebastian Vettel stretches lead over hapless Lewis Hamilton

British Grand Prix: Vettel stretches lead over hapless Hamilton

08/07/2018 at 15:58Updated 08/07/2018 at 22:33

Sebastian Vettel extended his championship lead, Lewis Hamilton was not happy, and Jenson Button was back - it was a busy Silverstone race day.


Sebastian Vettel fired off the grid, moving into the lead off the front row, pushing Hamilton down into the chaos of the second row, where he got knocked by Kimi Raikkonen.

The Finn got a ten-second penalty for his troubles, which was roundly applauded by the rather partisan Silverstone crowd.

Bottas got past the Ferrari into the lead late on, but Vettel squeezed past back in front. After that, the Finn followed what were presumably team orders and allowed Hamilton through into second, which meant the points gap with Vettel was extended, but not as vast a chasm as it would have been.


Four stars out of five. A terrible start, and a good ten laps of grouchy radio messages complaining about his car, but after that an excellent recovery drive. Within the first three corners, he'd gone from pole to back of the field - but drove through the pack excellently to take second place. Vettel is still in the championship lead, but it's still within touching distance for Hamilton.

He still wasn't happy, though.


"You are the fastest guy by miles! Don't give up, mate! It's all there!" Being Lewis Hamilton's race engineer can be a somewhat thankless task - today it involved some very keen cheerleading.

The other great line was Vettel grumbling: "Tell the safety car to slow down." Those are words that have never before been uttered by an F1 driver.


Max Verstappen's little post-safety car duel with Raikkonen was so much fun, with the Red Bull holding position.


All the applause for Sebastian Vettel, squeezing past Valtteri Bottas to reclaim the lead with five laps left. He could have been content just to finish ahead of Hamilton, but no, he's a racing driver, and he wants to win.


Daniel Ricciardo went for a two-stop strategy while in sixth place, unlike many of the other frontrunners, switching to softs for the last 20 laps - and managed it just before the safety car came out, enabling him to close the gap to the top five. He's struggled with the balance of his car, but a sensible drive and his team's strategy tweaks to help him out secured him fifth place.


Pierre Gasly of Toro Rosso finished tenth - a very good drive from him, particularly bearing in mind the chaos of the team this weekend following Brendon Hartley's nasty smash.


Poor Charles Leclerc, having such a great time of it for Sauber, but retired from the race due to what looked like a loose rear tyre after his pit stop. He had a better day than Marcus Ericsson, his colleague, though, who went spinning off the track into the tyre wall. Thankfully he was unhurt.


Jenson Button was back! And everyone was very happy to see him - former team-mate Fernando Alonso in particular.

Daniel Ricciardo was pleased too.

Tennis star Kyle Edmund popped in to say hello to Renault.

Jennifer Saunders was there, and got interviewed on the television by Martin Brundle and Jenson Button, who failed to notice her husband Adrian Edmondson next to her, or indeed Geri Horner next to them, aka Ginger Spice, aka the wife of Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.