Lewis Hamilton salvages Silverstone podium finish at 2018 British Grand Prix
- Credit: SEAN RAMSELL
Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton salvaged a stunning podium from today’s 2018 British Grand Prix after a first-lap collision at Silverstone – coming from last to finish second.
The 33-year-old Mercedes driver finished second this afternoon following an incident-packed race at Silverstone as Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel took the chequered flag.
It was a superb fight back from Hamilton to claim a podium behind Vettel after being clipped on the opening lap by Kimi Raikkonen – his recovery helped by two Safety Car periods.
In a thrilling race of fluctuating fortunes, Mercedes officials will be relieved to have secured a podium through Lewis after race leader Valtteri Bottas dropped down the field in the closing laps from first place.
Raikkonen, who was handed a 10-second penalty for his first-la[p collision with Hamilton, eventually finished third in the provisional results, with Bottas fourth.
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Daniel Ricciardo was fifth for Red Bull and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg sixth.
Hamilton said: “It was a difficult race, but I gave it everything and I’m grateful to make it back up to second.
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“It was eventful from the start, but in the final laps we just didn’t have the pace of the Ferraris on the fresher tyres.
“I’m very grateful that the car was in one piece after the incident in Turn 3 and that I could continue the race.
“I was last at that point, but I still believed that I could win – and I needed that mentality to make it back to where I finished.”
Ferrari’s world championship leader Sebastian Vettel powered into the lead at the start of the race, overtaking sluggish pole-sitter Hamilton.
It was a nightmare start for Hamilton, who was then sent spinning to the back of the field after contact.
The four-time F1 world champion from Hertfordshire was hit by the Ferrari of Raikkonen, sending his Mercedes off the racing track.
Hamilton said over the radio: “Damaged car on the back, I think my car’s broken, man!”
Raikkonen was later slapped with a 10-second penalty by race stewards for colliding with Hamilton on the opening lap.
With Vettel cruising at the front ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, it was damage limitation for Hamilton.
The Stevenage-born motor racer wasted no time in clawing back some of the places lost after his first-lap collision, and he was soon on the charge.
It was Hammertime as Lewis went from P18 to P8 in nine laps, with the reigning world champion cutting through the field and into the points.
Hamilton screamed past Charles Leclerc’s Sauber for P7, and then took Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault for sixth place with 12 laps gone.
He claimed another place back when Raikkonen pitted and served his 10-second penalty.
Hamilton was promoted to fourth when Red Bull’s Max Verstappen pitted for the Medium tyre.
Still on his first set of tyres, Hamilton climbed into second place as the rest of the front-runners pitted, placing the Mercedes driver behind race leader and title rival Vettel.
Hamilton let Silver Arrows colleague Bottas through after the Finn’s stop for fresh rubber, allowing his Mercedes team-mate to chase down Vettel.
Lewis rejoined the race in sixth place after his first stop, 11 seconds behind Raikkonen, as the 52-lap race hit half-distance.
The Hertfordshire-born driver soon took huge chunks out of the gap to Raikkonen, cutting the Iceman’s advantage to seven seconds, while Bottas trimmed Vettel’s lead to just two seconds.
The Safety Car was then deployed when Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber crashed into the barriers at Abbey Corner.
While the Ferraris and Red Bulls took advantage of the Safety Car to pit for new tyres, the Mercedes men both stayed out, with Bottas taking the lead and Hamilton running third with 19 laps to go.
Hamilton said: “There’s no way I am going to be able to compete with these guys on old tyres.”
The team replied: “You’re the fastest out there by miles. It is all there. Don’t give up!”
The Safety Car came in with 15 laps remaining, with Mercedes first and third – on old tyres.
However, within seconds of the restart Carlos Sainz and Romain Grosjean both went into the wall at Copse, the shunt prompting another Safety Car.
The race went green again with 10 laps to go.
Bottas tried valiantly to hold off Vettel’s charge in the closing laps but was eventually overtaken by the German.
Hamilton climbed into second after also taking Bottas, and Raikkonen relegated his fellow countryman to fourth.
“When the guys in front of me pitted under the Safety Car, it was an opportunity for me to get up into third,” said Hamilton.
“It was absolutely the right decision. If I had followed them into the pits I would have come out behind them on equal tyres and I would have struggled to get by them and most certainly would not have been second.
“The fans have been incredible this weekend and I’m so grateful for all their support.”