Sebastian Vettel took the lead on the start from pole sitter Lewis Hamilton and led the way in the first half of Sunday’s British Grand Prix, but needed to outduel Valtteri Bottas and survive advances from Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen in the final laps to emerge victorious.
Hamilton, meanwhile, had a disastrous start that saw both Vettel and Bottas get by him, and then contact with Kimi Raikkonen in Turn 3 sent Hamilton into a spin that dropped him to the back of the field. Raikkonen was given a 10-second penalty on his pit stop for initiating the contact.
However, despite the spin and reporting damage to the right-rear of the car, Hamilton rebounded to climb back up as high as second prior to pitting on Lap 26.
The second half of the race, however, turned chaotic on lap 32, when Marcus Ericsson spun his Sauber C37 entering Abbey and impacted the tire barrier, bringing out a Safety Car. Ferrari elected to pit Vettel and Raikkonen, with Red Bull Racing doing the same with Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.
Mercedes, meanwhile, left Bottas and Hamilton out. That left the order as Bottas leading from Vettel, Hamilton, Verstappen, Raikkonen, and Ricciardo at the front.
Racing resumed only briefly on Lap 38 before another Safety Car one lap later – Carlos Sainz Jr. and Romain Grosjean crashed together entering Copse – but Raikkonen did manage to get by Verstappen for fourth, setting up a thrilling duel in the final laps between the Mercedes and Ferrrari drivers.
Bottas tried desperately to keep Vettel behind him when racing resumed on Lap 42, thwarting several challenges from Vettel on the Wellington Straight into Brooklands.
However, Vettel ultimately was able to slice inside of Bottas entering Brooklands on Lap 47 to take the lead for good. Bottas, meanwhile, quickly faded to fourth, as both Hamilton and Raikkonen got by in the waning laps.
Behind them, Ricciardo came home fifth after teammate Max Verstappen spun entering Vale on Lap 46 – Verstappen then retired after suffering damage in the spin.
It left Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg (P6), Force India’s Esteban Ocon (P7), McLaren’s Fernando Alonso (P8), Haas’ Kevin Magnussen (P9), and Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly (P10) to round out the points finishers.
Results from the British Grand Prix and updated driver’s standings are below. Vettel now leads Hamilton by eight points ahead of the German Grand Prix (July 20-22).