Monday, 17 December, 2018

Lewis Hamilton takes Formula 1 championship lead as Brendon Hartley finishes 14th

Lewis Hamilton Sebastian Vettel GETTYLewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have fronted the pack for much of the 2018 F1 season
Rita Gibson | 25 June, 2018, 06:51

Max Verstappen crossed the line in second place as Kimi Raikkonen overtook Daniel Ricciardo in the closing stages to complete the podium positions.

"I feel very grateful, grateful for a solid weekend".

Following England's 6-1 World Cup win against Panama, Hamilton said: "I am so happy for England".

The usual top-six of Ferrari, Mercedes, and Red Bull drivers stood atop the field in Q1, though some surprises snuck through with both Saubers advancing to Q2 for the first time this season. I hope so because Lewis's time was pretty quick. He was controlling the pace. "That's what they said to me at the beginning of the season so should do the same and then of course, Seb shouldn't do anything again and just drive again and learn from this and just go on".

The victory was the 65th of Hamilton's F1 career but the Briton's first in France, which was returning to the calendar after a 10-year absence, and continued a triumphant day for English sports fans.

But the German's lunge on the inside of the first corner crunched his Ferrari into the back of Bottas, damaging both cars and sending them into the pits for repairs.

"There is more time they can give them".

Vettel said that, with hindsight, he would have been better off with a slower start. "It is my mistake", Vettel said of the collision.

When he emerged, he claimed Vettel's penalty was too lenient. Grosjean has now not scored for 12 races in a row and also collected a five second penalty.

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"He destroyed the whole race for himself and Bottas". Vettel ended up fifth but lost the World Championship lead.

Just after the run-in between Vettel and Bottas, there was further trouble when Pierre Gasly ran his Toro Rosso into the back of Esteban Ocon's Force India, knocking them both out of the race and bringing out the safety vehicle.

Order had been restored by the 20th lap, with Hamilton's Mercedes ahead of the two Red Bulls and the two Ferraris.

Rain threatened, but on lap 25, Verstappen pitted for fresh soft tyres, followed a lap later by Sainz.

Ricciardo, victor of two races this season and still mulling his future options, was third fastest for Red Bull in the first session in 1:32.527.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel had to settle for third place on the grid after a scruffy lap in Q3 ensured he could not make up any ground on the Mercedes cars ahead.

Vettel made his way to fifth to limit the damage but he conceded his championship lead to Hamilton.

The race began in stifling heat with air temperatures soaring over 30 degrees Celsius and the track close to 46 degrees, to which a gusting mistral wind added further challenges.

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