Hamilton wins in France to retake F1 lead

Marcus Newton
June 25, 2018

The Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo followed the Brit. Verstappen took a solid second place while the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen jumped Ricciardo late in the race to steal a podium spot.

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 auto.

"I only got a few laps in, then we had a water leak which we're now investigating".

Video images later showed extensive scorching to the rear of the vehicle and the Swede was unable to take part in second practice due to the damage.

With drivers allowed only three engines a season before penalties are applied, Hamilton and Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas were always going to get fresh ones having completed the lifespan of the ones they started the season with.

Awful day for two Frenchmen - Pierre Gasly hit Esteban Ocon in the first lap, taking them both out of the race, and bringing a safety vehicle out while all the debris was cleared, meaning a chaotic first 20 seconds of the race followed by a prim procession.

Bottas, with a punctured rear left tyre, and Vettel managed to steer their damaged machines back to the pits for repairs and rejoined the fray at the back of the field. Vettel and Bottas were at the back following their repairs.

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Lewis Hamilton has given the strongest indication yet that his new contract with Mercedes may finally be ready.

Vettel caused chaos at the French GP after crashing into the back of Valterri Bottas as he lunged on the inside. "I touched with Vettel", Alonso said. Lewis Hamilton was already safely well away from the mess, and cruised home, knowing that his Ferrari rival had been forced into the pit early on for a cone change.

Hamilton, armed with a new Mercedes engine, posted a best lap of one minute and 32.539 seconds to finish clear of the rest. The Finn came in one lap later to rejoin fifth soon after Ricciardo had blasted past an uneven-looking Vettel, who ran wide at Le Beausset.

Sainz was third at the start but fell back to sixth.

On a weekend when they revealed they were struggling to fix the problems with the auto because they were not showing up in the wind tunnel, it looks like a long road ahead for the team to get back to where they believe they belong. "I am trying to do whatever".

Speaking later to Sky Sports about the comments, he said: "I think they shouldn't do it at all".

He is out of contract at the end of the year, and on the evidence of McLaren's miserable form, only money will stop him from quitting. "To be on the front is a great showing of the hard work from all the guys in my team. It's a lovely Sunday".

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