Silverstone success has Vettel and Ferrari roaring in F1 title hunt

Silverstone Arena Circuit

Lewis Hamilton has been accused of "crying like a girl" and urged to take up ballet by Kimi Raikkonen's wife following his collision with the Ferrari driver at the British Grand Prix.

Hamilton recovered to second, aided by Mercedes' decision not to pit him for fresh tyres under a safety vehicle to gain track position, but looked tense alongside Raikkonen while the top three waited to go onto the podium post-race. In France, Sebastian Vettel hit Valtteri Bottas into turn one, hampering both their races.

The Brit was furious with Ferrari's "interesting tactics" which saw Kimi Raikkonen tag him on the opening lap, spinning Hamilton down into 18th place.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said. Also incompetent.Who? Kimi? Who's he to judge what a driver is doing in the auto? "The neck held up and that was a race I enjoyed a lot and I think the people enjoyed a lot". Such emotion is what makes a sport otherwise dominated by data and technical details so fascinating to watch, but when the adrenaline subsides in Brackley the blame will no doubt focus on the true cause of Hamilton's missed opportunity: his poor getaway at the start.

The most recent of which took place in Austria when the Mercedes' pit wall, led by chief strategist James Vowles, failed to react to a Virtual Safety Car period, which resulted in Hamilton dropping from first to fourth. Obviously that's what we have tried over the last years and I think here and there we have succeeded quite well.

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Hamilton rushed back into the mix for a podium spot with the majority of runners picking a one-stop strategy until Marcus Ericsson lost control of his Sauber at Turn 1, and his fierce shunt into the tyre barrier brought out a lap 33 safety vehicle.

Vettel now leads the title race with 171 points, eight ahead of Hamilton on 163 while Raikkonen is third on 116.

Vettel snatched the advantage from Lewis Hamilton at the start of the race and kept a buffer over Bottas until the Safety Car was deployed following a crash for Marcus Ericsson. But after yesterday's very close qualifying session, it was encouraging to see the underlying pace of the vehicle - and that we had better tyre usage than our competitors.

"Not the greatest start" admitted Raikkonnen.

"Sometimes we say dumb shit and we learn from it".

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Raikkonen crossed the line ahead of Valtteri Bottas, who had led with only five laps of the race remaining.

Asked if it was because of the first-lap clash, Hamilton said: "Not at all. No".

Vettel then passed Bottas five laps from the end, with the Finn's tyres fading, and Hamilton was also through a lap later and the chase was on to the finish with the German winning by 2.2 seconds.

Vettel believes Ferrari's victory and improvement at Silverstone, a track where they have been thoroughly dominated by Mercedes in recent years, shows that they have a well-rounded 2018 vehicle.

"It felt good on the laps to the grid so I took some [padding] off", said Vettel.

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Carlos said it was no problem and he completely understood, he was very chilled, and I still ended up with a penalty. It was going to take some time to contend for titles, he conceded, saying: " I think we are years away ".

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