SILVERSTONE: Lewis Hamilton slashed Sebastian Vettel’s Formula One championship lead to one point by winning a record-equaling fifth British Grand Prix on Sunday, with his title rival capitulating after a late puncture.
“We were generally faultless,” Hamilton said after crowd-surfing with the Silverstone crowd at his home race.
Vettel was in third heading into the penultimate lap at Silverstone but the Ferrari driver fell back into seventh place after his front left tyre shredded.
So too did the 20-point lead Vettel held over Hamilton going into the 10th round of the 20-race season.
Even more remarkably for Ferrari, Vettel’s tyre trouble came immediately after team-mate Kimi Raikkonen’s car experienced the same misfortune.
Raikkonen still made the podium, with only Valtteri Bottas passing him to complete an unexpected Mercedes one-two after making up seven places.
“Great drive by Valtteri,” Hamilton said over the team radio after claiming victory. “Fantastic job, all weekend.”
For Hamilton, the victory after failing to make the podium in his last two races will vindicate the decision to embark on a two-day holiday to Greece after last weekend’s Austrian GP. The jaunt annoyed racing fans in London who jeered Hamilton’s name at the showcase of the sport that was attended by the other 19 drivers.
“There is no reason to question my preparations,” Hamilton said. “My performance is second to none.”
Hamilton became only the third driver, after his late compatriot Jim Clark and Frenchman Alain Prost, to win the British Grand Prix five times and the first to take four successive victories at Silverstone.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finished fourth, ending a run of retirements, with Australian team-mate Daniel Ricciardo fifth after fighting through the field.
Germany’s Nico Hulkenberg finished sixth for Renault ahead of Vettel, Esteban Ocon and his Force India team-mate Sergio Perez and Brazilian Felipe Massa, who came home 10th for Williams.
Published in Dawn, July 17th, 2017