Sunday, 22 July, 2018

Vettel takes fastest time headed into British Grand Prix

First-lap contact with Verstappen was fair- Raikkonen			Getty Images for Red Bull First-lap contact with Verstappen was fair- Raikkonen Getty Images for Red Bull
Domingo Copeland | 07 July, 2018, 02:50

"When the Virtual Safety Car came into force Lewis Hamilton was at turn seven, so the team had enough time to get him in".

Vettel, a single championship point clear of the Briton, set a best lap of one minute and 27.552 seconds to edge out Hamilton by 0.187 seconds. Even at the previous race in Austria his frustration with the team over a poor strategy call was obvious to all. "I had to watch it on my phone the other day, but at least I got to see it". "You need a lion in the vehicle that is giving it everything".

'It has to be the best track in the world, ' said Hamilton. That determination to win and that ambition in a situation is not an easy character trait to deal with.

"The Grand Prix has become a pillar of Victoria's world-class events and sports calendar and we're proud to again be hosting the season opener in 2019", John Eren, Minister for Tourism and Major Events said.

Mercedes were expected to lead the way at Silverstone but Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was quickest in second practice.

"We try to kill their magic, obviously that's what we have tried over the last years and I think here and there we have succeeded quite well".

The season will likely be decided by tiny margins and the relationship between team and driver is going to be vital. A trait he has displayed since he was racing for Frédéric Vasseur's ART team in GP2 in 2006.

"Every driver is different, and I've never worked with Lewis so I don't know what makes him tick, but it seems a fairly weird thing for someone to need to do - to throw themselves under the bus to motivate a driver to go from fourth back into the lead", Horner said. "He still does the same today", Wolff said. In the World Constructors' Championship, Ferrari is now ahead of Mercedes by 10 points.

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Hamilton said he was loving the experience of driving at the fast, sweeping Silverstone circuit, in front of tens of thousands of adoring fans.

"As the years go on, you appreciate the support more and more", he said. "It was damage limitation for me and a positive day". "I hope we can be there".

His weekend opened with the positive start he would have wanted.

Verstappen finished the race in one hour, 21 minutes, and 56 seconds, while Raikkonen ended up second, 1.5 seconds behind the victor.

The session ended with Hamilton and Bottas looking nice and stable, and firmly in control.

But last weekend's trouble was not the first of the season for Mercedes.

The double-retirement was a first for McLaren since the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix, which Verstappen won on his Red Bull debut after Hamilton collided with team-mate Nico Rosberg on the opening lap.

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