Published: Mon, June 25, 2018
Sports | By Phillip Butler

Hamilton wins French Grand Prix, reclaims championship lead

Hamilton wins French Grand Prix, reclaims championship lead

Valtteri Bottas says his clash with Sebastian Vettel at the start of the French Grand Prix "sums up my season" as he lost further ground in Formula 1's title fight.

He later added: "I feel very grateful, grateful for a solid weekend".

In the race's biggest talking point, Vettel collided with Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas at the first corner before recovering to finish fifth. "Certainly not, because it could as well have been the end of the race for me". Vettel then locked up and ran into the left rear corner of Bottas' auto, giving him a puncture and breaking the front wing on the Ferrari.

Later in the media session Hamilton, who is England and Great Britain's most successful F1 driver, was asked how much felt representing his country, to which he said: "There are a lot of teams in the United Kingdom, a lot of British teams but individually we are all holding our own flag representing our own countries".

The Red Bull Racing cars of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were fourth and fifth, with the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen in sixth.

The German was dropped to 11th with a broken front wing and forced to pit at the end of the lap, while the safety auto was called out after further incidents in their wake.

"Then suddenly I got a hit from behind, had a puncture and damaged my floor".

Sebastian Vettel managed to finish fifth after a collision at the first corner saw him damage his vehicle and incur a five-second time penalty.

Niki Lauda, the Mercedes non-executive chairman, believed Vettel's penalty was too lenient.

"You try a little bit too much here and there, you lose the tyre, the vehicle then it slides and you lose the line".

"After Saturdays, I'm always here answering negative questions", Alonso, whose future at McLaren remains uncertain, told Sky Sports.

"I braked quite a bit later, left enough room for him to be inside still, but I think he just went and hit me".

Moments later there was more 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 auto.

After all the commotion, polesitter Hamilton was leading with Verstappen second, Ricciardo fourth, Vettel 11th and Bottas 13th.

The FIA looked at the incident and ruled Vettel was guilty of causing the crash, handing the German a five-second penalty that he served at his second pitstop.

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

Renault's Carlos Sainz was seventh fastest and Sauber's Charles Leclerc an eye-catching eighth.

Williams' duo suffered the same fate, and as a result, Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll fell to the bottom two.

Hamilton had never before won in France and his victory at Le Castellet, a southern circuit that last hosted Formula One in 1990, set a record for the most wins at different grands prix.

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