Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Sport | By

Hamilton edges Ferraris in tight qualifying

Hamilton edges Ferraris in tight qualifying

Raikkonen locked his tyres and made contact with Hamilton on the opening lap, spinning the Brit and dropping him to the rear of the grid.

Lewis Hamilton's hopes of a fifth consecutive Silverstone victory went up in smoke within moments of the start: after a poor getaway from pole, the world champion was punted at Turn 3 by Raikkonen as they tussled for third position.

He did, however, praise the stewards for "realising" what is going on and handing Raikkonen a 10-second penalty having only given Vettel a five-second punishment in France.

While Vettel led from Bottas at the front all eyes were on Hamilton and his comeback drive through the field.

Bottas would assume the lead from Vettel, with Hamilton now third. Bottas had a lead to defend, Hamilton was running third, Vettel the red meat in the Mercedes sandwich.

Vettel he admitted he feared he would miss qualifying with a neck complaint, and though he went on to earn second on the grid he confessed to still being a little anxious going into the race. "I deserve it, I took the 10 seconds and got fighting".

Hamilton had surged back with a display of overtaking pace the watching Lord Coe, would have been proud of in his athletics heyday to take second place behind Sebastian Vettel in the other Ferrari.

With the soft-compound Pirellis the tyre of choice through qualifying, Hamilton outpaced Vettel in the first and second sectors on the final run.

By the end of lap three, Hamilton was 14th. "I have no chance of competing against fresh tyres", he said.

Although frustrated by the first period of the race, Wolff said Mercedes did the right thing in not pitting during the first safety auto period, even though it left Valtteri Bottas exposed in the lead as other drivers took fresh tyres.

Hamilton has won his home race for the past four years, and five times in total, and starts on pole position.

But the headlines belong to Vettel, who suffered a neck injury during practice on Saturday and was forced to wear supportive tape during the race, but came through for his fourth win of the season.

While Wolff admitted the Hamilton-Raikkonen clash was a racing incident, he said: "Le Castellet was the first time we got taken out and this is the second, it's a lot of constructor points".

"I want to remind everyone that in China we had a situation between Vettel and Verstappen and nobody said anything, all fine. My view, I did the best that I could, but there seems to be opposite looks of what I'm doing unfortunately". Believe me, I will not give up.

"I don't know what happened but it (the neck) went a little bit stiff".

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