Upgraded Ferrari threaten to floor Mercedes at British GP

Max Verstappen wins Austrian F1 as Mercedes ruins Lewis Hamilton's day, Sebastian Vettel takes title lead

The German, whose team did not invoke orders for Raikkonen to cede position as might have been expected, clawed back the overall lead by a single point from Mercedes rival Hamilton.

Formula One leader Sebastian Vettel was fastest ahead of Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in the second practice for the British Grand Prix on Friday.

Vettel's 0.187 seconds advantage over Hamilton, with Valtteri Bottas another two tenths behind, was the first time in 2018 when a Ferrari vehicle had finished Friday in front.

Austrian GP victor Max Verstappen endured a frustrating day, stopping with a gearbox problem in the first practice, then crashing early in the second.

Ricciardo had his own trip through the gravekl trap on the exit of Luffield while minute slater Raikkonen also ventured off the track after thumping the kerb at Brooklands.

"I think it's hard to say. Luckily I could manage it until the end of the race", Verstappen said. It came after both drivers dominated two of three practice sessions and finished clearly on top in qualifying.

"Max obviously has had a tough first third of the year and all credit to him, he's kept his head, the last three races he's been third, second and first with three very impressive drivers". Räikkönen was third with 101 points, Daniel Ricciardo with 96, and Verstappen with 93 points. The main reason was Mercedes' tactical blunder, which saw them staying out during the Virtual Safety Car while everyone else behind them dove in for a stop.

During that span, Verstappen, Raikkonen, and Vettel all went into the pit and changed to softer tires, while Hamilton passed.

Naturally, Hamilton was none too pleased with the fact that Mercedes had scuppered his race strategy, but there was little to be done about it. Hamilton has made it clear he wants to pursue other interests when he retires, music and fashion among them, but Wolff believes he still has more to come in F1. "It's my mistake. Do what you can", replied Mercedes strategist James Vowles. He eventually pitted on lap 25, which dropped him down to fourth place.

The last time that Hamilton retired was in 2016 when he crashed with teammate Nico Rosberg in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Verstappen hit the front after Mercedes kept Hamilton out on track during a virtual safety vehicle period that followed Bottas's retirement, with the other contenders pitting for fresh tyres.

McLaren may talked before the start of the Formula One season about fighting for podiums and possible wins but team boss Zak Brown recognises that it could be years before that happens.



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