February 21, 2019

Lewis Hamilton hit by Kimi Raikkonen at the start

12 July 2018, 01:53 | Anna Jefferson

Lewis Hamilton has won at Silverstone in each of the last four years

Lewis Hamilton celebrates Silverstone win

Lewis Hamilton edged Kimi Raikkonen by less than one tenth of a second on Saturday for the fastest time in final practice at the British Grand Prix.

At least, that secured second place for Mercedes.

After a slow start which allowed eventual race-winner Sebastian Vettel to pass him, Vettel's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen collided with Hamilton at turn three, sending his vehicle off the track and leaving him last of 19 cars.

It appeared Hamilton's Mercedes was permanently beached, then, first with all the alacrity of a Walrus dragging its tonnage across the sand, then like a thief running from the police he returned to the race.

Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda took aim at the Scuderia, saying it was yet another incident of the Italian team ruining the Silver Arrows' race.

Vettel and Bottas collided at the start of last month's French Grand Prix, with both going to the back of the field.

Bottas would assume the lead from Vettel, with Hamilton now third.

'For me, the whole-build up, the intensity, and knowing how close we all were, makes this feel like one of the best laps I have been able to produce, ' he said. Nonsense boy, get your foot down was the essence of the reply.

More frustration followed on Turn Three when Raikkonen locked up and crashed into Hamilton, leaving the reigning World champion to rejoin the contest in 18th position.

Statistically, Hamilton is F1's one-lap master - having surpassed Michael Schumacher's record in Monza a year ago with a remarkable performance in the wet - but here, with the pressure of delivering in front of an expectant crowd, he claimed it may have been his best yet.

Hamilton's arm wrestle is against Vettel, of course. The Swede was unhurt and climbed out to applause from the crowd as a Safety Car was deployed. On cue, Marcus Ericsson lost it through Abbey on lap 33.

Hamilton was not convinced.

"So I think, balance-wise, we are not far off, but we are losing a lot of lap time on the straights".

"People expect you to wave and smile, but I was having trouble standing up". "Don't give up." He still wasn't convinced, once again questioning the value of his tyres. "But I will come back fighting".

We would have to wait for the safety auto retreat seven laps later for the numbers to add up.

Opting to keep both cars out while the Ferraris pitted, it lifted them up to first and third with Vettel emerging just behind Bottas.

Out came the safety auto again. Just after that re-start Romain Grosjean and Carlos Sainz came together, sending both cars into the wall and brought out another safety vehicle.

Max Verstappen led Daniel Ricciardo in fifth and sixth places for Red Bull, the Austrian GP victor beating out his Australian stable mate by over half a second, likely due to a DRS problem on Ricciardo's RB14.

That released Vettel into a lead he would hold to the end, while Hamilton forced his way inside Bottas at Brooklands a lap later. In F1 folklore as written by former McLaren leader Ron Dennis, second was always first of the losers.

Vettel set a best lap of one minute and 27.552 seconds to edge out Hamilton by 0.187 secs.

"So, I say without the crash he would have won the race".

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