Hamilton wins in France and takes back Championship lead

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton wins the French GP ahead of Red Bulls Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen as Sebastian Vettel finishes in 5th after making contact with Valterri Bottas at the start of the race.


Qualifying Result

1.Hamilton  2.Bottas  3.Vettel  4.Verstappen  5.Ricciardo  6.Raikkonen  7.Sainz  8.Leclerc  9.Magnussen  10.Grosjean  11.Ocon  12.Hulkenberg  13.Perez  14.Gasly  15.Ericsson  16.Alonso  17.Vandoorne  18.Sirotkin  19.Stroll  20.Hartley*

Hartley* originally qualified in 17th places but took various engine penalties.


Lewis Hamilton, Valterri Bottas, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo will start on the Supersoft tyre with the Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen will start on the Ultrasoft tyre. Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez will start on the Soft tyre with Pierre Gasly, Marcus Ericsson, Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne will start on the Supersoft tyre as well with everyone else on the Ultrasoft tyre.

The lights go out and it’s a good start by Hamilton as Vettel hits Bottas at turn 1. Hamilton leads ahead of Verstappen and Carlos Sainz. Vettel is down in 14th with front wing damage. Gasly and Esteban Ocon are out with Bottas trailing back to the pits as the Finn has a left-rear puncture. Vettel pits, changes onto the Soft tyre and gets a new nose cone. Fernando Alonso also pits and goes onto the Soft tyre.

The replay shows that Vettel locked-up and tagged Bottas, spinning the Mercedes. Gasly lost the rear of the car going into turn 3 and hit his fellow Frenchman Ocon. Hamilton leads behind the Safety Car ahead of Verstappen, Sainz, Ricciardo, Kevin Magnussen, Charles Leclerc, Kimi Raikkonen, Romain Grosjean, Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg. Vettel and Bottas now sit 17th and 18th after their respected pit-stops.

Racing resumes on lap 6 as the Safety Car pulls into the pits. It looks like Alonso had spun at turn 3 as Vettel overtook round the outside. Raikkonen overtakes Leclerc for 6th. Lap 8, Vettel is now 13th with Bottas still down in 16th. Down into turn 8, Vettel overtakes Ericsson for 12th. Lap 9, Vettel now overtakes Stoffel Vandoorne for 11th as Ricciardo overtakes Sainz for 3rd down into turn 8. Lap 10, Vettel receives a 5 second time penalty for causing an incident with Bottas at the start as Raikkonen overtakes Sainz for 4th into turn 8.

Lap 14, Lewis Hamilton leads Max Verstappen by 3.6 seconds as Sebastian Vettel currently sits in 8th and Valterri Bottas in 12th. Lap 15, Bottas overtakes Sergio Perez round the outside of turn 2 for 11th place. Lap 16, Nico Hulkenberg overtakes Romain Grosjean for 9th round the outside of turn 8. Lap 17, Vettel overtakes Charles Leclerc into turn 8 and up into 7th. Lap 18, after setting a new fastest lap of the race, Hamilton has increased the gap to Verstappen to now 4.3 seconds.

Lap 19, Valterri Bottas overtakes Romain Grosjean for 10th down the inside of turn 11 as Sebastian Vettel overtakes Carlos Sainz for 5th into turn 8. Lap 21, McLaren tell Fernando Alonso that there is a chance of rain in around 20 minutes. Lap 26, Max Verstappen pits from 2nd, goes onto the Soft tyre and ahead of Vettel in 4th. Sergey Sirotkin has received a 5 second time penalty fro driving too slowly behind the Safety Car.

Lap 27, Carlos Sainz pits from 6th, goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 15th. Lap 28, Valterri Bottas overtakes Charles Leclerc for 8th as Daniel Ricciardo pits on lap 29, goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins behind Vettel in 5th. Sergio Perez and Kevin Magnussen pit. Force India decide to retire Perez from the race due to a suspected engine issue as Magnussen rejoins the race in 13th. Both Force India’s are out of the race now with Ocon retiring at the start.

Lap 32, Romain Grosjean has received a 5 second time penalty for causing a collision at the start of the race as Charles Leclerc pits. He rejoins in 16th on the Supersoft tyre. Race leader, Lewis Hamilton pits from the lead on lap 34. The Brit goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 2nd behind Kimi Raikkonen who hasn’t pitted yet. Daniel Ricciardo overtakes Sebastian Vettel into turn 11 for 4th as Raikkonen pits from the lead, goes onto the Supersoft tyre and rejoins in 5th on lap 35.

So on lap 37, Lewis Hamilton leads from Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, Valterri Bottas, Nico Hulkenberg, Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne. Lap 39, Hulkenberg pits from 7th and rejoins in 10th after his first stop of the day. Lap 40, Raikkonen has caught up to Ferrari team-mate Vettel who is struggling on his very old Soft tyres. Vettel allows Raikkonen through down into turn 8.

Lap 41, Valterri Bottas pits. It’s a very slow pit-stop for the Mercedes crew with Bottas now 9th after a problem with the rear jack which hampered the fitting of the right rear tyre. Lap 41, Sebastian Vettel pits, serves his time penalty and rejoins in 5th. Lap 41, Stoffel Vandoorne makes his first pit-stop of the day and rejoins in 14th. Vandoorne’s pit-stop allows Bottas to get up into 8th with Charles Leclerc now in 10th.

Kimi Raikkonen is on a charge and is hunting down 3rd place Daniel Ricciardo with the gap decreasing every lap. The gap is now just over 1 second as the pair navigate lapped traffic. On fresher tyres, Stoffel Vandoorne has overtaken McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso for 12th. Lap 47, Raikkonen has a look down into turn 1 in which Ricciardo defends it well. Raikkonen overtakes round the outside of Ricciardo at turn 8 and up into 3rd. Lap 48, Alonso pits and rejoins in 17th.

Valterri Bottas is less than a second behind Kevin Magnussen in 8th. Lap 50, Carlos Sainz reports back to his Renault team that he is losing power. Sainz is a sitting-duck for Kevin Magnussen and Valterri Bottas behind as they overtake the Renault driver down into turn 1. Lap 51, Lance Stroll has suffered a high-speed puncture with the left-front puncture. The Canadian has stopped just after turn 11 as the VSC has been deployed. Lewis Hamilton starts the final lap behind the VSC. The VSC ends through the middle of the last lap. Hamilton wins ahead of Verstappen and Raikkonen.

Race Result

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 53 Laps (3rd win of 2018 & Championship lead)
  2. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +7.090s
  3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, +25.888s
  4. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, +34.736s
  5. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +61.935s (Fans Driver of the Day)
  6. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, +79.364s
  7. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, +80.632s (DHL Fastest Lap Award)
  8. Carlos Sainz, Renault, +87.184s
  9. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, +91.989s
  10. Charles Leclerc, Sauber, +93.873s
  11. Romain Grosjean, Haas, + 1 Lap
  12. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, + 1 Lap
  13. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, + 1 Lap
  14. Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, + 1 Lap
  15. Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, + 1 Lap
  16. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, + 1 Lap
  17. Lance Stroll, Williams, + 2 Laps
  • Sergio Perez, Force India, DNF
  • Esteban Ocon, Force India, DNF
  • Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, DNF



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