Mercedes-AMG’s Lewis Hamilton claimed his 65th career win on Sunday at a revived Formula 1 French Grand Prix, held at the Circuit Paul Ricard located near Marseille. It’s the first time in 10 years that the French race has been held.
The Mercedes driver finished a full 7.0 seconds ahead of second-placed Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen. Third place went to Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen more than 25 seconds back.
Hamilton took full advantage of a delayed power unit upgrade to his Mercedes, having set pole position during Saturday’s qualifying and then dominating things on Sunday. Not risking anything, he built up his gap with a succession of hot laps, ensuring he could comfortably maintain the lead spot after pitting, as well as at the closing stages of the race.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel made things difficult for himself as well as Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas with a crash at the start of the race. Bottas was hit from the rear by Vettel, with both drivers sustaining damage to their cars. Vettel would later be handed a 5.0-second penalty.
There was a second, more serious crash further back between Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly and Force India’s Esteban Ocon, which brought out the safety car and ended the race for both drivers. During this time Vettel and Bottas both entered the pits for some repairs to their cars and upon exiting put on an impressive show as their fought through the pack. Vettel ended the race in fifth spot, behind Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo in fourth. Bottas had to settle for seventh, behind Haas’ Kevin Magnussen in sixth.
Right at the end of the race the virtual safety car was used after Williams’ Lance Stroll suffered a tire failure. Another driver failing to finish was Force India’s Sergio Perez who suffered a problem with his power unit.
Thanks to his strong performance, Hamilton moves back into the lead spot in the 2018 Drivers’ Championship with his total of 145 points. Vettel is second with 131 points and Ricciardo is third with 96 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes leads with 237 points followed by Ferrari with 214 points and Red Bull with 164 points. The next race on the calendar is the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring scheduled for this weekend.