Hamilton one point away to overtake Vettel

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Lewis Hamilton, middle, on the podium

Lewis Hamilton is now just one point away in overtaking leader Sebastian Vettel after Hamilton won his home British Grand Prix for the fourth year in a row.

The victory at Silverstone on Sunday  slashed Sebastian Vettel’s championship lead to a single point. Vettel ended seventh after a penultimate lap puncture held him back.

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.

Clark won four in a row in the 1960s but one was at Aintree and another at Brands Hatch.

The Briton’s drive from pole to flag on an overcast afternoon was lonely, uneventful and dominant — in complete contrast to his Ferrari rival’s afternoon — with Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas finishing 14 seconds behind to secure the one-two.

Vettel’s  Finnish team mate Kimi Raikkonen, who had been second before also being hit with a late puncture that sent Bottas and Vettel ahead of him, took third.

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 was sixth for Renault and Force India pairing Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez were eighth and ninth with Brazilian Felipe Massa securing the final point for Williams.

“The support has been incredible this weekend. I am so proud I could do this for you all,” said Hamilton, who threw himself into the fans for some ‘crowd surfing’ after the podium celebrations.

“The team were faultless this weekend, Valtteri did an incredible job as well. So it’s the perfect weekend for us.”

Far behind in his wake, as Hamilton cruised to a 57th career win and soaked up the applause from an army of flag-waving fans, came sudden drama.

Vettel, who had battled on worn tires but looked like securing the final podium position until the blowout, finished seventh after an emergency pit stop with a shower of sparks from the wheel rim.

“There was no sign of that happening,” said Vettel over the team radio. “There were vibrations but I had it for 20 laps and it didn’t get massively worse. The tires didn’t look great but they never look great.”

At the halfway stage of the 20-race season, Vettel has 177 points to Hamilton’s 176 with Bottas on 154.

Hungary, a circuit where the Briton has won five times before, is next up.

*Reuters


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