Hamilton reclaims championship lead with French GP win

    Verstappen and Raikkonen joined Hamilton on the podium, Vettel recovered from a first lap incident with Bottas to finish fifth.

    Published On Jun 25, 2018 10:18:00 AM

    2,547 Views

    Lewis Hamilton now leads the 2018 Formula 1 drivers’ championship by 14 points from Sebastian Vettel, after taking a commanding victory at the French Grand Prix.

    The first French GP to take place in a decade – and the first to be held at the Circuit Paul Ricard since 1990 – saw a chaotic start. Vettel made a good start from third on the grid and drew alongside Bottas on the run into the first corner. But he backed out on the inside only to lock his front-left tyre and make contact with Bottas, spinning his W09. The incident left Bottas with a punctured left-rear tyre and Vettel with a damaged front wing and a five-second time penalty. This promoted Verstappen to second place, while Carlos Sainz took advantage of Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull running deep into turn 2, sweeping around the outside to take third place.

    The incident-packed opening lap also saw Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon retire from their home race after Gasly lost the rear of his Toro Rosso and slid into the back of Ocon’s Force India. This triggered a safety car, under which both Vettel and Bottas headed to the pits, rejoining at the back of the grid on soft tyres.

    Hamilton, meanwhile, managed to avoid all the chaos taking place behind him and continued to build a lead from Verstappen once the racing resumed on lap five. He eventually built a big enough lead to join comfortably ahead of Verstappen after his pit stop, only momentarily losing the lead to a longer-running Kimi Raikkonen.

    Ricciardo eventually reclaimed third place from Sainz, who lost yet another place when he was passed by Raikkonen, and then Sebastian Vettel. After carving his way through the field, Vettel briefly held third place when Raikkonen and Ricciardo headed in for their respective pit stops. But with Vettel having significantly older tyres, he soon found himself back down in fifth place after being passed by Ricciardo, and then Raikkonen.

    Raikkonen closed in on Ricciardo with seven laps to go and after some unsuccessful attacks, finally managed to pass the Red Bull driver into the turn 8 chicane. Ricciardo finished fourth, well ahead of Vettel, who was struggling with tyres but was gifted a free pit stop when Mercedes pitted Bottas for fresh supersofts.

    Sainz was running in sixth place in the closing laps before suffering a loss of power with just three laps to go. He managed to hold on to eighth place, but Kevin Magnussen and Bottas were able to slip past him to claim sixth and seventh place, respectively. Sainz’s Renault team-mate Nico Hulkenberg finished just behind him in ninth place. After putting in an impressive performance in qualifying, Sauber’s Charles Leclerc claimed the final points scoring position – his fourth points finish in five races.

    Lance Stroll triggered a virtual safety car in the closing laps of the race after his front-left tyre gave up at the high-speed Signes right-hander. Meanwhile, Force India suffered a double retirement after the team’s sole surviving driver, Sergio Perez, had to retire from the race due to a suspected engine problem. Coming off the high of winning the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours, it was a disappointing race for Fernando Alonso, who ultimately had to pit from last place on the final lap after suffering a rear suspension problem.

     

    Race result

    POS

    DRIVER

    CAR

    LAPS

    GAP

    1

    Lewis Hamilton

    Mercedes

    53

    1h30m11.385s

    2

    Max Verstappen

    Red Bull/Renault

    53

    7.090s

    3

    Kimi Raikkonen

    Ferrari

    53

    25.888s

    4

    Daniel Ricciardo

    Red Bull/Renault

    53

    34.736s

    5

    Sebastian Vettel

    Ferrari

    53

    1m01.935s

    6

    Kevin Magnussen

    Haas/Ferrari

    53

    1m19.364s

    7

    Valtteri Bottas

    Mercedes

    53

    1m20.632s

    8

    Carlos Sainz

    Renault

    53

    1m27.184s

    9

    Nico Hulkenberg

    Renault

    53

    1m31.989s

    10

    Charles Leclerc

    Sauber/Ferrari

    53

    1m33.873s

    11

    Romain Grosjean

    Haas/Ferrari

    52

    1 Lap

    12

    Stoffel Vandoorne

    McLaren/Renault

    52

    1 Lap

    13

    Marcus Ericsson

    Sauber/Ferrari

    52

    1 Lap

    14

    Brendon Hartley

    Toro Rosso/Honda

    52

    1 Lap

    15

    Sergey Sirotkin

    Williams/Mercedes

    52

    1 Lap

    16

    Fernando Alonso

    McLaren/Renault

    50

    Not running

    17

    Lance Stroll

    Williams/Mercedes

    48

    Tyre

    -

    Sergio Perez

    Force India/Mercedes

    27

    Power Unit

    -

    Pierre Gasly

    Toro Rosso/Honda

    0

    Collision

    -

    Esteban Ocon

    Force India/Mercedes

    0

    Collision

     

    Copyright (c) Autosport. All rights reserved.

    Comments
    ×
    img

    No comments yet. Be the first to comment.

    Ask Autocar Anything about Car and Bike Buying and Maintenance Advices
    Need an expert opinion on your car and bike related queries?
    Ask Now
    Search By Car Price
    Poll of the month

    Which was your favourite Car, SUV at Auto Expo 2023

    Maruti Suzuki Jimny

     

    25.15%

    Maruti Suzuki Fronx

     

    14.51%

    Maruti Suzuki eVX concept

     

    2.66%

    Tata Harrier EV

     

    9.92%

    Tata Sierra

     

    23.62%

    Hyundai Ioniq 5

     

    4.22%

    Hyundai Ioniq 6

     

    3.44%

    Kia EV9 concept

     

    2.79%

    MG4

     

    2.04%

    Toyota Land Cruiser 300

     

    11.64%

    Total Votes : 3721
    Sign up for our newsletter

    Get all the latest updates from the automobile universe