Start, Paul Ricard, 2018

Hamilton cruises to win after Vettel and Bottas collide

2018 French Grand Prix summary

Posted on

| Written by

Lewis Hamilton took an unchallenged victory in the French Grand Prix after his two closest rivals at the start collided at the first corner.

His Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas was knocked into a spin by Sebastian Vettel in a chaotic opening lap at Paul Ricard. Both had to pit for repairs and Vettel later received a five-second time penalty for causing the collision.

Another first-lap collision eliminated home drivers Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon, the latter being hit by the Toro Rosso driver at turn four. The Safety Car apeared while the stranded cars were recovered, which gave Vettel and Bottas the chance to recover lost ground.

Their chances of a podium finish were gone, however. Max Verstappen moved up to second place, followed by Carlos Sainz Jnr, though the Renault driver was soon demoted by the other Red Bull. But while Verstappen kept his second place at the finish, Kimi Raikkonen passed Daniel Ricciardo for third place in the DRS zone approaching the Mistral chicane.

Vettel recovered to finish fifth place, with enough of a margin in hand over Kevin Magnussen that his five-second time penalty didn’t cost him a position. Bottas closed on the Haas driver on the final lap but had to settle for seventh place.

Both Renaults finished in the points at their home race, led by Sainz. The final point went to Charles Leclerc, a reward for his firm but fair defending against an unimpressed Romain Grosjean.

After losing Ocon on the first lap of the race, Force India’s misery was capped when Sergio Perez became the race’s third and final retirement. Lance Stroll was classified 17th despite his race ending with an alarming high-speed off at Signes when his front-left tyre failed.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2018 French Grand Prix reaction

    Check back shortly for more race reaction

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

64 comments on “Hamilton cruises to win after Vettel and Bottas collide”

  1. LMAO. Seb got driver of the day.

    1. Of course his fans are hilarious, can’t wait for Leclerc to get that other Ferrari seat to open their eyes

      1. @carlosmedrano I’m guessing these are Ferrari fans so if Lecrerc ends up being the fastest Ferrari driver he’ll just end up being the one racking up DOtD.

      2. @carlosmedrano Vettel has no more delusional fans than for example Hamilton to name one,…

        1. @flatsix Not on here (imho) but only one of them does drive for the Tifosi-supported team so……

          1. @davidnotcoulthard I tend to disagree, gradually commenting less and less due to it.

        2. Bingo!

    2. +1

      My favourite move of his was when he had to let Kimi through.
      No clear driver of the day, but a good fight between Vettel and Grosjean for prat of the day.

      1. Yes, that must have been a bitter pill to swallow.

    3. Tbf, no one exactly set the world alight (although give teams 5 engines for the year and Hamilton’s much further down the road) and he was the main source of entertainment, but pretty stupid for him to win after ruining 2 drivers races.
      Surprised Verstappen didn’t win…


      “Ask Vettel to change his driving style” should be nominated for COTD by Vers… this was hilarious

    5. @krichelle

      Vettel really messed up today. Even after recovering he gave up many points needlessly.

      To top it off, he took out Bottas, the driver best positioned to siphon pionts from Hamilton. The farther behind Bottas falls in the championship the more he will be relegated to helping Hamilton.

      1. And the less points Bottas gets gives Ricciardo more chance of driving for Mercedes next year.

      2. Do you really think, when push comes to shove, Mercedes are going to let Bottas siphon points away from Lewis.

    6. LMAO. Seb got driver of the day.

      Converting third place on the grid to fifth by the end was a sublime achievement.

      1. Completely negated by the amateurish mistake that made a recovery drive necessary, ruined another drivers race and sent several cars scurrying through the run off.

  2. Such a shame that Vettel keeps ruining races so often.

    Also, the people who reacted with outrage about Ocon letting Hamilton past, did you see the ease with which all the Ferrari powered cars let Vettel drive past them while fighting Bottasas much as they could?

    Good race for Hamilton, Verstappen and Raikkonen. Deserved podium places for them. Although it could have been quite the different podium if Vettel had allowed it to be an actual race.

    Good Drive from Vandoorne too, while Alonso was embarrassing himself. He really needs a PR training.

    1. Yeah it’s funny how the people who were so outraged by ocon letting Hamilton through have been very quiet about the Ferrari powered cars just getting out the way and letting vettel past.

    2. You’re exaggerating again. Paul Ricard isn’t Monaco, then he overtook some other cars with the same ease. Hulkenberg, for example.

  3. We will find out at what cost in a few races… and see how much of his engine worn out by turning up that much of party mode… They can party now with this new engine, but hope they dont get drawn towards the end of the season…

    1. Who’s engine are you refering to?

      1. Neil my bad. I was replying to first post somehow did A new one…

        Better engine I was referring to. It was mentioned by one tv presenter… asking how much party mode vettel was using (turning up the PU) to pull that much from rear of the group… and at what cost…

        Vettel seemed to have used a higher engine mapping to catch up but doing so eating through the engine/parts life as a result .. he tried to play hero but it may very well hurt him later in the champs…

        1. Damn autocorrect “better engine” vettel’s engine :)

    2. @mysticus Hamilton was cruising mostly after Vettel removed the competition. While Vettel had to use his part mode to get back to the front. Granted after Vettel drove back up into the points he could cruise too, but I doubt Hamilton had to stress his engine more than Vettel did.

      1. @Patrick I was referring to Vettel… my bad instead of first port reply I did A new post

        1. @mysticus Ah ok, but Vettel also seemed to be cruising for most of the race though. I think after he made it to P4 or and after that he started cruising. Probably initially because he was trying to make it on one stop ahead of Bottas and later because he was too far back anyway.

          1. @patrickl i think vettel was on party mode 70% of the race, and maybe he was told to calm down/ maybe his tyres gone… he let of his steam, and after bottas, he didnt bother as there was little incentive to catch his team mate… and realized not worth to finish new engine in its second race…

  4. GtisBetter (@)
    24th June 2018, 17:38

    Merc seem to have increased in speed. If Ferrari keep up the tradition of lagging behind merc with updates, Vettels mistakes will cost him the championchip. These next couple of races will tell us if the mercedes is really a step forward.

  5. Сan I nitpick and point out the fact that Vettel served his penalty during the race? Thus it didnt matter at all how far behind him Magnussen was.

    The race was ok, lots of overtakes but a bit dull in nature. I was really hoping for some rain around lap 40…

    Hilarious how Williams once again awarded their driver with a penalty, when they asked Sirotkin to drive slow so that they could do a double pitstop.

  6. I don’t thnik Stroll’s front-left tyre failed him at Signes, but rather that he flatspotted it down to the wires.

    1. @faulty, then again, some of the external shots did seem to suggest that there was abrasion on the inside shoulder of the tyre before the failure that seemed to suggest that the brake duct might have been rubbing against it before that tyre blowout – although it is also possible that the tyre was only rubbing against the brake duct because it had already started to deflate.

      It is one of those situations where it could go either way – there are quite a few instances of tyres failing because a driver has flat spotted it down to the carcass, including Stroll, but on the other hand Williams have occasionally had problems in recent years with the brake ducts damaging the tyres and causing them to fail (Massa had two tyre failures in 2016 because of that).

  7. Vettel’s error of judgment could prove decisive in the title fight if firstly he were to lose it and would happen to lose it by 14 points or less.

    1. Not Max running into him in China, it’s just silly to pick one incident and conclude that will cost him the title.

      1. GtisBetter (@)
        24th June 2018, 20:56

        Unforced errors. He made a mistake in baku and right now another one. You can’t make to many with the reliability and difficulty overtaking. You can’t control what other drivers do.

    2. @jerejj And if he wins it by 14 points are you going to say Hamilton his poor performance in Canada cost him the title? These things just happen once and a while…

      1. I don’t recall LH clattering into everyone and getting away with a none penalty?

        I just recall a not on it car frankly – and of course it must be because he is an average driver…. having won that race the same number of times as the great Shumi despite a deficit of 160 races in his career..

        Sorry but that clump into Bottas, Verstappens obvious intent to jump the entire bend (he was pointing that way long before the crash) and a five second penalty?

        Ridiculous- but it must be LH poor performance…

        1. It doesn’t matter why a driver lost points at one given race, pointing to that one event as the sole differentiator between the win and losing is always pointless, and that counts for every driver.

          1. @flatsix It does matter. When the car just doesn’t go any faster for whatever reason then there is not much the driver can do. It’s completely different from running into other cars so often. Those are (or should be) easily avoidable incidents.

        2. @DrG ”Verstappens obvious intent to jump the entire bend (he was pointing that way long before the crash)”
          – Assuming you’re referring to him going off the track at turn 1 to avoid the Vettel-Bottas collision: He didn’t gain an advantage from it.

          1. I thought Verstappen’s corner cut was too excessive, relative to the incident he was trying to avoid. But let’s say a 5 sec penalty would have been fair, it still wouldn’t have made a difference in the outcome of the race, so yeah.

            Vettel, however, got away lightly with only a 5 sec penalty imho. I personally thought a drive through or a 10sec. stop go would have been in order.

        3. (VER) was pointing that way long before the crash

          Duh. All cars point that way before they steer in for that corner. :-p

      2. Why do you always bring up Hamilton in a negative way @flatsix

        Two comments on this article and both times you mention something to do with Hamilton when the initial comment is about Vettel.

        1. How exactly did I bring Hamilton negatively in either comments? It’s a simple comparison to point out exactly what you accuse me of, that there’s plenty of people who can’t help but grasp every opportunity to slash at Vettel.

          1. ” And if he wins it by 14 points are you going to say Hamilton his poor performance in Canada cost him the title?”

            Not saying Hamilton didn’t have a poor performance in Canada but the topic was Vettel yet you bring only Hamilton into it. Why not other drivers too ?

            “Vettel has no more delusional fans than for example Hamilton to name one,…”

            Same again @flatsix

        2. (@?)Tom You really haven’t seen an example of bringing “up Hamilton in a negative way”.

          (come to think of it the couple of commenters that do that seem to be silent for now so I guess wait until VET wins a race, or RIC, or until KVY gets demoted again)

          1. @davidnotcoulthard

            there is more uproar and negative comments towards hamilton when he doesnt crash but drops behind due to PU/Car set up… here is what usually called/said “said so, he is mediocre, overrated driver, he is nothing and whatnot…” when he wins, it is his PU/Car no skills involved… i dont remember him deliberately crashing others or outdriving himself and crash someone in the fashion vettel drives nowadays… if this was verstappen, i would attribute to his childish aggressive win at all costs blameless attitude… but vettel? come one, we talk about Vers week in week out, but when vet does same, it is excused with a tap on the wrist… to keep hype and entertainment in the sport rather than just penalties to all same incidents…

          2. also, point this: how many consecutive points finishes hamilton achieved today? even it is mentioned in future, it will be attributed to his car/pu and little to his skill of avoiding chaoses and aggressive behaviour on track…

          3. @mysticus

            if this was verstappen, i would attribute to his childish aggressive win at all costs blameless attitude… but vettel? come one, we talk about Vers week in week out, but when vet does same, it is excused with a tap on the wrist

            I don’t think VES started realy getting that until he made it as good as a habit at the start of this year (instead of e.g. after Hungary last year). I mean, people started asking questions when HAM managed to crash into (or be crashed into by) Massa often, but these kinds of questions probably didn’t quite get asked after e.g. Monza 2010 since there wasn’t quite a pattern yet.

            Likewise I think comments about VET not being that good increased with a pretty bad 2nd half of last season, but then decreased somewhat after a rather better 2018 so far.

          4. @davidnotcoulthard


            massa/ham crashes at the time was getting out of hand, esp massa side quite mad, but this was between the two… i personally believe Massa was on a revenge quest after 2008 Brazil soreness and was instigating this… And they both were not really champ contenders during that time… it was personal thing.

            Vettel’s crashes under stress a lot. i dont think we should discuss it less than Vers. Vettel is a champ contender so is Ham, and Vettel’s mistakes sometimes hurt only himself, but it affect others more than not… in Baku for example, i think he narrowly escaped taking out bottas nearly with him… Bottas yesterday was again his stressful side… ham being inside as well as himself, not sure what he thought about hamilton’s braking line into the corner? i dont wanna say the word but he is hot headed as much as vers about taking blames… just not as bad as vers…

            i hope he improves and have a fair fight between them… it is not helping him crashing while taking out someone with him…

  8. Vettel spoiled the race by taking himself and Bottas out. Maybe he didn’t care for that hideous trophy and didn’t want anyone to have to get it.

    Mclaren hit rock bottom today? They should swap with Andretti, let them have a go at the f1 thing, while Woking retires to Indycar.

    1. IndyCar teams run on a budget of roughly $5m annually, so I don’t think Adretti has $250m lying around to have a go at a year of F1 racing.

    2. Mark in Florida
      25th June 2018, 1:29

      I thought the same thing. That trophy looks like a joke, that’s the best that the artistic French could come up with? Maybe they need to consult with one of the middle east countries to help design a real trophy that’s worth displaying. Avant garbage.

  9. Shame Vettel had another one of his blistering starts on one of the narrowest starting grids. Also a shame he ruined his almost guaranteed P3 by then locking up and hitting Bottas. Valuable lost points today, but considering the Mercedes showed this pace on both saturday and sunday I’m expecting a couple a more wins for Hamilton before the summer break. Maybe Hungary won’t go his way, others seem done deals?

    1. Hamilton before the summer break. Maybe Hungary won’t go his way

      @flatsix based on past seasons you’re as good as expecting another HAM WDC walkover :p

    2. @flatsix Vettel was on the grippier tyres and was therefore expected to be charging. Which is why Hamilton and Bottas boxed him in.

      Also it was to be expected that he would run into someone as he tends to do when he starts from P2 or P3. Guess Bottas tried giving enough space taking such a wide line, but even then it wasn’t enough.

      1. @patrickl
        “as he tends to do when he starts from P2 or P3” that is nothing, he managed to crash starting on pole too… he did it with style taking out 2 people with him and third as a side effect :) before the first corner!

  10. Nice work by ham, ver and kimi of course. Bit strange the so called damage to rics car. He passed vet after his stop but by then he already had a compromised front wing. At least he stated that as main cause of his lack of pace.

  11. John Toad (@)
    24th June 2018, 23:11

    A full weekend of sport with World Cup, F1 and Indycar events.
    F1 leadership promulgates a comparison to the World Cup but in terms of entertainment it falls well short and I think the comparison is not well judged.
    If I had to rank all these events in entertainment terms ALL of the World Cup matches would out score F1 and Indycar and I’d be hard pressed to distinguish between F1 and Indycar.
    For me F1 is still interesting but the interest lies in the technology, team tactics and politics.
    All hidden and cereberal topics, these far out weigh the on track visual and aural action in terms of interest and entertainment.
    In comparison the entertainment in the World Cup is in full sight and sound.
    The skills of the individual players, the meshing of the teams into tactical formations and the sounds of the crowd.
    F1 is a bit like a swan swimming, all calm and serene above on top but with furious action going on out of sight below the surface.

  12. Frustrating that the drivers and Sky were hailing this as an entertaining and exciting GP. Only Hulkenberg said it a bit honestly that it helps that Seb was at the back and even then most of his passes were just cruising by.

  13. @keithcollantine

    “Vettel recovered to finish fifth place, with enough of a margin in hand over Kevin Magnussen that his five-second time penalty didn’t cost him a position”

    Vettel did not need the margin of 5 seconds at the end of the race because he, as far as I am aware, served the penalty in his last pit stop. So when he finished the race, it was his actual time with penalty already served.

  14. Vet already served the 5s in his last pit stop. No need to subtract on his time as the article implies.

  15. What Vettel stated in the post race interviews is that he would love not to have such good start. He slipstream Lewis and was boxed by Bottas and eventually with no possible move up to the turn1. It was his mistake to collide with Bottas thus compromise his and obviously Bottas race. Nevertheless what is a fact that Ferrari was much more competitive here then in Barcelona. Obviously they find a way to properly manage their tyres and they were on better (more aggressive) tyre strategy. Not to neglect the fact that both Vettel and Raikonnen where starting race on US tyres which would give them higher edge in the first stint and which proved that will last long enough to switch to SS in the second stint. While both Merc and RedBull in their second stint opted for Soft tyre compound Raik switched to SS and was more then competitive. I do believe that if there was no collision between Vet and Bot he might catch him (Bot) under DRS (which proved to be strong here) and undercut Ham with SS tyres. Or at least finish second…

Comments are closed.