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Lewis Hamilton Reclaims Formula 1 Championship Lead After French Grand Prix Win

By Fitzgerald Cecilio
on Jun 26, 2018 07:38 PM EDT
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Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes captured his third win of 2018 at the French Grand Prix. The win gave Hamilton a 14-point lead over Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari, who finished fifth. (Photo : Formula 1 | YouTube)

Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes returned to the top of the Formula 1 world championship lead following his Sunday's victory at the French Grand Prix. Hamilton led the race from start to finish en route to victory in one hour, 30 minutes, and 11.3 seconds.

"Great job, guys," Hamilton says, "and great for England, too. It's a beautiful Sunday." Hamilton was referring to England's 6-1 triumph over Panama in the World Cup 2018.

Hamilton's third victory of the season came on the 107th anniversary of the birth of Juan Manuel Fangio, the last man to win a French Grand Prix for Mercedes in 1954. With the victory, Hamilton has now won at every circuit on the 2018 calendar. He also recorded a win at his 26th different venue, an extension of his existing record.

Hamilton Grabs 14-Point Lead Over Vettel

More importantly, Hamilton's win brought him back to the top of the championship standings. Hamilton currently leads Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari by 14 points.

"This is a great day. I enjoyed the race ... So for me, personally, it's the best French Grand Prix I've ever had," Hamilton says. Hamilton credited his team for a solid weekend, saying he's very grateful for all their work here at the track and back at the factory.

Vettel entered the race with a one-point lead over Hamilton. However, he lost his lead in the standings after finishing just fifth in France, 61.935 seconds behind Hamilton.

Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing finished second, while Kimi Raikkonen finished third for Ferrari. Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull Racing came in fourth, Kevin Magnussen of Haas Ferrari sixth, and Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes seventh. Finishing in the top 10 were Carlos Sainz of Renault (eighth), Nico Hulkenberg of Renault (ninth), and Charles Leclerc of Sauber Ferrari (10th).

Vettel Apologizes For Collision

Vettel collided with Hamilton's teammate Bottas at the first corner. Even though he managed to fight back, Vettel earned a five-second penalty for the crash, putting him to the back of the field.

After the race, Vettel took the blame for the crash with Bottas, who finished the race in seventh place. Vettel tells the media that he tried to apply the brakes to get out of a jam, but it was already too late.

"Obviously for Valtteri it was very bad because it affected his race and he had nothing to do with it," said Vettel. After the race, Vettel approached Bottas and apologized for the incident.

Despite the incident, Vettel managed to claw his way back to fifth place, earning him the title Driver of the Day in France. After the crash, Vettel dropped to 17th place, but he worked his way back to the race after just 15 laps.

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