Published: Mon, June 25, 2018
Sport | By Tony Jimenez

Vettel says he had "nowhere to go" in Bottas crash

Vettel says he had

The race was a dominant victory for Lewis Hamilton, who was chased by Max Verstappen after Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas had an incident at the first corner.

Realising he couldn't get by, the German braked earlier than those ahead only to lock his brakes into the first corner and hit Bottas' vehicle sweeping in from the outside. Bottas was in a collision with Vettel and went to the back of the field. Grosjean has now not scored for 12 races in a row and also collected a five second penalty.

Kevin Magnussen in the Haas was in sixth; the Renault's of Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg in eighth and ninth and Sauber's Charles Leclerc once again putting in a superb drive to take 10th.

Following England's 6-1 World Cup win against Panama, Hamilton said: "I am so happy for England".

The race nearly finished under a virtual safety vehicle, caused by Lance Stroll losing a tyre from his Williams, but the precaution was lifted with half a lap to go.

As the cars arrived at Turn 1, Bottas braked later than Vettel and turned in ahead of him, only for Vettel to lock up and tag the Finn's rear left tyre, spinning the Mercedes driver around.

He was unhurt and after climbing from his auto walked back to the pits with his helmet firmly in place, before the session resumed and Hamilton scorched to pole on his final flying lap.

The pit stop dropped Bottas to last place and the resulting damage to the floor of his auto hindered his progression back through the field. He had to let the faster Raikkonen go past and take a podium.

To be fair to Vettel, he did get a lightning start from third on the grid in his Ferrari, but was heard to feather the throttle as he got into the slipstream of Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes while being boxed in by Bottas.

Bottas, less effective in his efforts to recover in a auto that suffered floor and other damage, was down in 10th.

"I was confident I could improve for the final attempt", Vettel said about his last flying lap that came up short. Vettel rose to fourth behind Hamilton and the two Red Bulls.

He eventually pitted after 33 laps and came out behind Raikkonen, who led him by three seconds with Verstappen third.

The return of the French GP after a decade-long absence since its last appearance at Magny-Cours is the first part of an unprecedented tripleheader of three races on consecutive weekends.

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.

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