News ID: 217261
Published: 0201 GMT June 25, 2018

Hamilton stays calm; Mercedes build momentum

Hamilton stays calm; Mercedes build momentum
Briton Lewis Hamilton reacts after winning the French Grand Prix in Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, France, on June 24, 2018.
GETTY IMAGES

A delighted Lewis Hamilton intends to stay grounded as he heads toward the second part of Formula One’s first ‘triple header’ in Austria next weekend following his comprehensive win in Sunday’s French Grand Prix.

The triumphant defending four-time world champion regained the lead of the drivers’ world championship by 14 points ahead of Sebastian Vettel with his victory and credited his Mercedes team’s hard work for their success, AFP reported.

Having struggled to finish fifth in the preceding race in Canada, where Vettel won to go top for Ferrari, Hamilton and Mercedes had engaged in a bout of introspective analysis.

The introduction of their upgraded engine, after earlier delays, gave Hamilton the impetus, but he was quick to praise his team for their all-round role in Sunday’s success in the first French race for a decade.

"When you are constructive, but also criticize yourself, and take a step back, and then approach it all with new methods and a new determination, and you come up with a result, it is definitely a great feeling,” he explained after the 65th win of his career.

"But there is a long way to go and we need to approach it as we did today."

The Briton dominated the entire weekend at Le Castellet, topping Friday practice, securing his 75th pole position and then claiming an unchallenged lights-to-flag victory.

He took full advantage of another erratic weekend from fellow four-time champion German Vettel, who crashed into Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Finn Sebastian Vettel on lap one and, after pitting and recovering, was penalized and finished fifth.

Vettel also managed to upset two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso when he took advantage of the Safety Car’s exit to force his way past his McLaren, causing Alonso to spin.

For Alonso, like Vettel, it was also a race to forget as the hero of Le Mans a week earlier struggled to finish in an uncompetitive car for a team gripped by crisis.

Hamilton and Mercedes are unlikely to take much notice of the storms around their rivals as they rebuild their momentum in defense of their titles in Austria and Britain as the calendar delivers three races in succession for the first time and five in six weeks overall before the European summer break.

"It is good for us to feel we are back in control,” said team chief Toto Wolff.

"This is the time to stay on course."

 

   
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