Sports

Hamilton cuts Vettel's lead to one point after British GP victory

Lewis Hamilton slashed the deficit to Sebastian Vettel at the summit of the Formula 1 championship after a crushing performance at Silverstone yesterday to win the British Grand Prix for a record-equalling fifth time.

Hamilton led every lap to the delight of his home crowd as he moved to within just one point of Vettel in the title race after the Ferrari driver suffered a puncture on the penultimate lap to finish in seventh.

His Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen was poised to finish second, but he also suffered a puncture in the closing moments to promote Valtteri Bottas one spot as Mercedes completed a remarkable one-two finish.

Bottas started ninth, but stormed back through the field, including a pass on Vettel with eight laps remaining to the delight of the partisan crowd.

Hamilton destroyed the field in qualifying and his race performance was equally emphatic as he recorded his fourth consecutive win on home turf.

The Englishman has now won the event five times to join Frenchman Alain Prost and Britain's two-time champion Jim Clark as the masters of the British Grand Prix.

At the halfway stage of the 20-race season, Vettel has 177 points to Hamilton's 176 with Bottas on 154.

"It is never easy," said Hamilton. "The feeling I can't describe. It is amazing to be out here and I am so proud to see all these flags everywhere.

"The support has been immense and I am really proud that I could do this for you all. The team has been faultless.

"Valtteri has done an exceptional job as well, so it has been the perfect weekend for us."

Vettel, who had battled on worn tyres but looked like securing the final podium position until the blowout, finished seventh after an emergency pit stop with a shower of sparks from the wheel rim.

"There was no sign of that happening," said Vettel over the team radio.

"There were vibrations but I had it for 20 laps and it didn't get massively worse. The tyres didn't look great but they never look great."

Asked by podium interviewer and Hollywood actor Owen Wilson if he was going to win the championship, Hamilton replied: "That's the plan, but there is a long way to go."

Pointing at the fans, he added: "You guys, I am coming over there to crowd surf. Just so you know. I am going to change. Be ready for me."

- WIRE SERVICES

Formula 1