Hamilton admits 'intense' Vettel clash key to win

Hamilton admits 'intense' Vettel clash key to win

"We did our maximum", said the 2007 world champion.

Vettel leads Raikkonen by 68 points in the drivers' standings, and is the only realistic challenger to championship leader Lewis Hamilton, but on Sunday will start from second place behind the Finn.

The four-time world champion received a similar reception at the 2017 Italian Grand Prix after his win. "I don't think anybody wants purposely to take a stupid amount of risk and damage somebody else's auto and yours too at the same time".

"I tried to pass Kimi (Raikkonen) down the inside [into Turn 2], but then he opened the brakes, which is fair enough", explained the German.

"There's been a lot of negativity, but there were a lot of British flags out there today".

After calling into the pits, Vettel fought back through the field to finish fourth, partly thanks to Max Verstappen of Red Bull taking a five-second time penalty for a brush with Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes.

"I was quite surprised when I got out of the auto how bad it was". It didn't feel right but I tried to just focus.

"It just damaged the vehicle a little bit but I was able to continue and the rear was moving around a little bit more so it made it a little bit more hard, but not impossible".

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Quizzed about Raikkonen's slipstream, the German replied: "We have an order which changes every weekend, and this weekend it was Kimi's turn to go second (and get the tow)". When the lights went out, Raikkonen pulled away to lead, as Hamilton attacked.

The race stewards investigated and ruled the crash a normal "racing incident" that merited no further action. "It’s hammer time, Lewis", Mercedes told their driver as he sought to build a lead worthy of a pit stop.

Bottas was told to hold Raikkonen up, a job he did tremendously as Hamilton closed in to within a second.

While earlier this season many reports claimed Raikkonen's days were numbered and that he would be replaced by Charles Leclerc come the end of the season, if not even during this season, those have quietened down of late.

But Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said his team can "absolutely" win the grand prix, and Hamilton's frosty reception will surely spur him on. Vettel claimed Hamilton hadn't left him room, but the stewards made a decision to take no further action, and the championship leader downplayed the contact after taking his third win in four races. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +14.066s 4. The Dutchman was handed a five-second time penalty by which time Hamilton was leading, having passed Raikkonen on the outside at the Rettifilo.

"It was just not a good lap and not good enough".

The tifosi, deflated, began heading for the exits.

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