A hammer blow win for Ferrari

By on Sunday, July 8, 2018

The best race of the year so far ended with a win for Scuderia Ferrari, which sees Sebastian Vettel increase his lead by 7 points to 8 in the Drivers’ championship and the team extend its advantage by 10 points to 20 in the Constructors’. Despite some neck pain Vettel secured his fourth win of the season while team-mate Kimi Raikkonen made a good recovery following the collision with Lewis Hamilton shortly after the start, to bring Ferrari a double podium finish. The Mercedes driver fought his way back to the podium and finished second.

The Stewards hit Raikkonen with a 10 second penalty for the collision at Turn 3 which he served on lap 13. At one third distance Raikkonen had moved up to sixth and Red Bull called in its drivers to avoid finding themselves behind the Ferrari. At the end of lap 20 Vettel pitted, switching from Soft to Medium tyres. Hamilton pitted on lap 26, but surprisingly, Ricciardo hung on for a further five laps before handing fourth place to Raikkonen. With 20 laps to go, Ericsson crashed into the barriers at the first corner and the safety car came out, which changed the shape of the race. Ferrari pulled off a double pit stop, switching back to Softs, but the Mercedes duo stayed out, so that behind the Safety Car Bottas led the way from Vettel, Hamilton, Verstappen and Raikkonen.

At the end of lap 37, the race resumed with Vettel maintaining position and Raikkonen fighting with Verstappen. But almost immediately there was another crash, this time involving Sainz and Grosjean at Copse. So once again the Safety Car appeared, coming back in with ten laps remaining. The next two laps were incredible with four cars fighting it out. Then, on lap 47, Vettel concealed his move to the very last moment and dived inside Bottas at turn 6 to take first position. Only three laps left but there was plenty of excitement still to come as Raikkonen attacked Bottas and passed him decisively at turn 6.

“Every race is a team race, but today it was even more important for us to win here, because the last few years had been very difficult to us. This year we have proved to be strong every time on every track so far. The most important thing is that the car is strong and fast," said Vettel.

"The new updates that we brought here have worked very well through the whole weekend. In qualifying we were just a little bit slower, but during the race it was just great. Today during the first stint I probably pushed too much on the Soft tires, but during the second one I had everything under control. The Safety Car made everything more exciting, but even more tricky. However, the strategy with the tires was great and at the end we got a fantastic win as a team. I really enjoyed this race and I am happy for me and for the team. Also, the start was very important for us and it was great. Now it’s important to keep working. I say thanks to the whole team for this win!”

Race results

1.  S. Vettel Ferrari 1:27:29.784
2.  L. Hamilton Mercedes +2.264
3.  K. Räikkönen Ferrari +3.652 +1.388
4.  V. Bottas Mercedes +8.883 +5.231
5.  D. Ricciardo Red Bull +9.500 +0.617
6.  N. Hulkenberg Renault +28.220 +18.720
7.  E. Ocon Force India +29.930 +1.710
8.  F. Alonso McLaren +31.115 +1.185
9.  K. Magnussen Haas +33.188 +2.073
10.  S. Pérez Force India +34.708 +1.520
11.  S. Vandoorne McLaren +35.774 +1.066
12.  L. Stroll Williams +38.106 +2.332
13.  P. Gasly Toro Rosso +39.129 +1.023
14.  S. Sirotkin Williams +48.113 +8.984
DNF
15.  M. Verstappen Red Bull +6 laps
16.  R. Grosjean Haas +15 laps
17.  C. Sainz Jr. Renault +15 laps
18.  M. Ericsson Sauber +21 laps
19.  C. Leclerc Sauber +34 laps
20.  B. Hartley Toro Rosso +51 laps

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