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Hamilton cruises back to standings summit with France win

24 Juni 2018 17:54

Lewis Hamilton regained the lead in the Formula One drivers' standings from Sebastian Vettel by cruising to victory at the French Grand Prix on Sunday.

Mercedes driver Hamilton was leapfrogged by Vettel last time out in Montreal, but he opened a 14-point advantage at the summit by converting his 75th pole position into a win at the first F1 race in France since 2008.

The reigning champion saw his chances of succeeding at Circuit Paul Ricard boosted by a first-turn collision between Vettel and Valtteri Bottas for which the former received a five-second time penalty.

Max Verstappen benefitted from the German and Bottas having to pit twice as he claimed second, but Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was pipped to third by Kimi Raikkonen.

Forecasts of rain never materialised in Le Castellet, but a couple of collisions – one of which ruled home hopes Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon out of the remainder – on a dramatic first lap led to the safety car being deployed.

Vettel received a new nose and set of soft tyres, Bottas going onto the same compound after ending up with a puncture, but he was unable to guide them to the end of the race and could only finish fifth.

It meant there was minimal pressure on Hamilton for much of the race, as he comfortably kept the Red Bulls at arm's length to clinch his third win of the season on the back of a disappointing outing in Canada.

HAPPY SUNDAY, ENGLAND

Lights out at Circuit Paul Ricard came shortly after England completed a thumping 6-1 victory over Panama to secure a place in the last 16 of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Hamilton made it a double for England with a comfortable triumph and expressed his happiness for his home country after crossing the line.

He said over team radio: "Great work, guys. I'm so happy for England as well. It's a wonderful Sunday."

A FORCE INDIA RARITY

It proved a weekend to forget Force India, who retired Sergio Perez due to an engine issue after Ocon crashed out.

Force India consequently saw neither car take the chequered flag for the first time since the 2016 Austrian Grand Prix, while it is the first time their two cars have been unclassified since the
Hungarian Grand Prix in 2015.

FROM FIRST TO LAST

After the high of claiming the second leg of his 'Triple Crown' attempt by winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans last weekend, Alonso was brought crashing back to earth this week.

McLaren's worst qualifying display of the season resulted in him starting from 16th, and he was unable to recover from a spin when Vettel overtook him as he was running last before retiring.


IN THE POINTS

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +7.090s
3. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +25.888s
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +34.736s
5. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +61.935ss
6. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) +79.364s
7. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +80.632s
8. Carlos Sainz Jr (Renault) +87.184s
9. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) +91.989s
10. Charles Leclerc (Sauber) +92.873s

DRIVER STANDINGS

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 145
2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 131 (-14)
3. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 96 (-49)
4. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 92 (-53)
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 83 (-62)

CONSTRUCTOR STANDINGS

1. Mercedes 237
2. Ferrari 214 (-23)
3. Red Bull 164 (-73)
4. Renault 62 (-175)
5. McLaren 40 (-197)

NEXT UP

The second stint of F1's first triple-header will take place at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, where Mercedes have won for each of the past four years.

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