Lewis Hamilton hit by Kimi Raikkonen at the start

Lewis Hamilton Daniel Ricciardo

Championship leader Sebastian Vettel hit Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas at the first corner of the French Grand Prix, forcing both to return to the pits to fix damage and fight from the back.

The Finn was unable to keep Vettel at bay as the four-time champ used his fresher tyres to sweep into the lead but Hamilton also overtook Bottas easily to take the chequered flag just a couple of seconds behind. In [technical director] James Allison's words, "do you think it is deliberate or incompetence?', so this leaves us with a judgement". "They made mistakes but that's what racing is all about. Admitted it and apologised to Lewis".

Hamilton lost his championship lead to Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel due to not finishing in Austria.

It's an all Finnish-affair on the second row, as Kimi Raikkonen lapped just over half-a-tenth slower than his team-mate to secure third on the grid after posting a blistering first sector on his final lap.

What a recovery drive from Hamilton. "I'm great to have been able to get back to second and minimise the loss", Hamilton said. "I deserved it", he added of the penalty.

It was the second time in three races that a Ferrari driver had been at fault for colliding with a Mercedes auto on an opening lap.

"It's a lot of points that ultimately Valtteri (Bottas) and I have lost in those two scenarios".

Arrivabene said Mercedes should spend more time focusing on why Hamilton was defending third position in the first place, having had a sluggish getaway from pole position which put him on the defensive for the first few corners.


"I only saw it briefly on the monitor, I don't think there was any intention and I find it a bit unnecessary to even go there".

Silverstone is Silver Arrows territory.

And while Hamilton questioned Ferrari's "tactics", Niki Lauda conceded it was an unfortunate, unfair and not particularly amusing accident.

Former world champion Jenson Button agreed there was no deliberate intent.

"It's definitely not intentional. But it's tough and there is high tension", Button said.

"Lewis did a special lap and it's all down to him", told Sky Sports. "You try not to but sometimes you slip up".

Stewards at Silverstone ruled that Hamilton, who dropped to the back of the field after the contact, had "clearly left significant room on the inside" for Raikkonen and that the Finn "locked up his right front tyre, understeered and caused a collision". Later, he said: "I was concerned if I could finish the race but with all the adrenalin going it was okay".

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