Lewis Hamilton wins French Grand Prix as Sebastian Vettel finishes fifth

25 June, 2018, 06:53 | Author: Greg Lawrence
  • Ferrari

Le Castellet: - Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton roared back to form on Saturday to put his Mercedes on pole position for the first French Grand Prix in a decade.

"Of course I am happy but I left three-tenths on the table", Hamilton later told Sky Sports F1. "But we won't really know its full potential until tomorrow when everyone gets to turn their engines up".

Later though, the 33-year-old was critical of the eventual punishment Vettel received from the stewards after they deemed him the guilty party, a five-second time penalty.

It meant there was minimal pressure on Hamilton for much of the race, as he comfortably kept the Red Bulls at arm's length to clinch his third win of the season on the back of a disappointing outing in Canada.

After banging wheels with Hamilton in Azerbaijan, crashing out in Singapore, tangling with Hamilton and Verstappen at the start in Mexico, and running off the road at April's Azerbaijan Grand Prix, this was Vettel's fifth costly mistake in 12 months.

The four-time world champion clocked a best lap in one minute and 30.029 seconds to grab the 75th pole position of his career ahead of Bottas, giving himself a flawless chance to regain the initiative in the title race in Sunday's race.

Vettel emerged with a new front wing and the entire field to fight through, and even though he made quick work of the slower cars he had to settle for a fifth-place finish.

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 auto.

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You can see what I did, and it's just emotion, and I'm just happy to have scored the goal. "I think that Mr. Petkovic is from Sarajevo". "It's clear that emotions surface".

The race was a dominant victory for Lewis Hamilton, who was chased by Max Verstappen after Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas had an incident at the first corner.

Hamilton started cleanly from pole position and led as the safety vehicle was deployed for four laps.

"I hadn't thought about that, but that is where I want to be", he said afterwards, when he was later critical of Vettel for his crash with Bottas. Apart from the colourful lines it is hard to tell where the hell you are most of the time which is the part that I dislike. Starting fourth, he gained from the Vettel-Bottas incident.

"Mistakes happen and they happen to the best of us. "(But) we are all fighting for world championships.

Kevin Magnussen (Haas), Bottas, Carlos Sainz (Renault), Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) and Charles Leclerc (Sauber) finished out the points.

Basking in the Mediterranean sun, driving conditions were optimal at the 5.8-kilometre circuit situated next to a private airport where planes took off and landed all weekend.

Hamilton followed and, after the first flying runs, he and Bottas topped the times before the session was red-flagged when Grosjean crashed at Turn Three.

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