Lewis Hamilton Eyes Gatecrashing Sebastian Vettel's Hockenheim Homecoming

Lewis Hamilton Eyes Gatecrashing Sebastian Vettel's Hockenheim Homecoming

Javier Howell
July 23, 2018

I honestly thought I was going to stay out, I was happy with my tyres.

Lewis Hamilton avoids pitting at the last minute, cutting across the grass to get back on track.

Stewards took into consideration the fact that the incident happened when the safety vehicle was deployed and at a time of confusion on the pit wall. "Today is one of the most unbelievable days for me".

Further back, the tire decisions saw a number of cars - including both Renaults - on intermediates behind the Safety Car but they eventually all pit for ultrasofts, leaving Nico Hulkenberg in fifth place ahead of the Force India pair of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon.

A devastated Vettel was nearly in tears as he apologised to his Ferrari team, while the position of the stricken SF71-H required a Safety Car period.

Mercedes has often taken the blame for Hamilton's setbacks, right up to the top.

Hamilton was told to come into the pits, but ignored his mechanic screaming "In, in, in in!" at him.

"It was really confusing because they were all panicking on the pit wall, I was probably the only relaxed one", he said. "But it's good to see how much they care".

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It left Bottas with 10-lap fresher Ultrasoft tyres compared to Hamilton and the Mercedes pair went wheel-to-wheel at the restart, with Hamilton defending into the hairpin.

That did not go down well at a nervy Mercedes.

Vettel was also embroiled in a discussion about team strategy with Ferrari during the race, when he questioned their decision to leave team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in front of him after the Finn emerged ahead on a different strategy.

'I think it's disappointing because up to that point everything was sweet, ' said Vettel later. Taking positives as a team, ideal result for us, " said Bottas, who added - seemingly half-heartedly - that he "understood" the team's call.

Hamilton enjoyed home advantage at the British Grand Prix in the prior meeting, but his winning run at Silverstone was ended after an early collision with Kimi Raikkonen. "Unless it is possible to clearly know if a technology is legal or not, you have to standardised it". Independent from the power unit because one vehicle - the Raikkonen auto still has the first spec in the auto - Vettel has a new spec in the auto and they've brought new bits to the track today that they've put into all Ferrari-powered cars and all of them bar one made it into Q3. "What do you want?"

The 31-year-old grew up just 30 miles from Hockenheim and looked set to record a first win at the venue as he led with 15 laps remaining.

It is his fourth retirement of the season, and despite wins in China and Monaco, hopes of mounting a title challenge seem to be ebbing away for the Red Bull driver. "I had the speed".

At the midway point of the season, Hamilton has a 17 point lead heading into next weekend's Hungarian GP.