Formula 1

Hamilton leads the field into Turn 1 at the start.

What Lewis Hamilton feared after watching Vettel & Bottas collide at the French GP

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For Lewis Hamilton, victory at the French Grand Prix was all-but secured after watching his two main rivals collide at the first corner, but in the immediate aftermath, he did have some concern about the incident.

Opting to start on the Ultrasoft tyre compared to the Briton and his teammate Valtteri Bottas on the front row, Sebastian Vettel made a much better launch from third on the grid and looked to challenge the two Mercedes drivers into Turn 1.

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' car sweeping in from the outside.

The incident dropped both men to the back of the field with damage but initially, Hamilton feared he had played a part in causing the collision.

"The first corner was nothing to do with me, right?" he enquired to his Mercedes team over the radio, according to the Express.

Though there was no blame to attach to the reigning world champion, it shows the anxiety Hamilton briefly had.

Later though, the 33-year-old was critical of the eventual punishment Vettel received from the stewards after they deemed him the guilty party, a five-second time penalty.

“Ultimately you shouldn’t really be able to finish ahead of him if you took him out of the race,” Hamilton said, referring to the Ferrari driver going on to finish fifth while Bottas was down in seventh.

“We are all going into Turn 1 as hard as we could but ultimately when someone destroys your race through an error and it’s kind of a tap on the hand really, it doesn’t weigh up."

AUTO-PRIX-F1-FRA-RACE

For his part, Vettel accepted he was at fault for what happened.

“My start was too good and then I ended up with nowhere to go,” he said to journalists in the paddock.

“It was my mistake. I tried to brake early and get out of it but I had no room.

“Valtteri tried to get his position back which is fair enough but then I had nowhere to go.

“I tried to slow down but with that little grip, I, therefore, unfortunately, made contact with Valtteri.”

As for Hamilton, he was pleased to go on and take a third win of the 2018 season, one that now means he leads the championship by 14 points and also sees him add a 26th different Grand Prix to his resume.

F1 Grand Prix of France

“I feel very grateful, just grateful for a solid weekend," he said. "My guys [Mercedes team], I have been with them for six years and they just continually push the boundaries and they’re never giving up so I’m forever grateful for all their work."

The two championship rivals will be back racing against each other at the Red Bull Ring for the Austrian Grand Prix in a week's time.

Topics:
Valtteri Bottas
Sebastian Vettel
Max Verstappen
Daniel Ricciardo
Lewis Hamilton
Ferrari
Mercedes
Red Bull
Formula 1

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