Sebastian Vettel has extended his lead of the world championship after victory over Lewis Hamilton in a chaotic and controversial British GP.
On a dramatic afternoon at Silverstone, which featured two Safety Car deployments and countless track controversies, Hamilton finished second despite being hit by Vettel’s Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen on the first lap.
It was the second time in three races in which a Ferrari car had tangled with a Mercedes at the start.
Hamilton opted against speaking immediately after the race but then said on the podium: “We will keep fighting. Interesting tactics from their side.”
Furious Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said the spate of first-lap clashes were “either deliberate or incompetence.”
Valtteri Bottas led the race with five laps remaining but, running on old tyres after Mercedes opted against pitting the Finn behind the Safety Car, was overtaken on successive laps by Vettel, Hamilton and Raikkonen.
The Finn later admitted it was a mistake to stay out – one of several strategic errors Mercedes have made this season.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth after team-mate Max Verstappen spun into the gravel due to a brake-by-wire failure.
“We’ve won on their home ground,” Vettel said over team radio as he crossed the line with an eight-point lead of the championship.
A fast-starting Vettel had already taken the lead off pole-sitter Hamilton into the first corner before Raikkonen locked up and hit the side of Hamilton’s Mercedes into Turn Three.
The spin demoted the home favourite to the back of the grid before he launched a sustained and captivating surge through the field
Raikkonen was found guilty of causing the collision by the stewards and hit with a ten-second penalty.
“It was my mistake, so that’s fine,” said Raikkonen. “I deserve it, I took the 10 seconds and got fighting.”