LE CASTELLET (France), June 24: Lewis Hamilton roared to victory with a polished lights-to-flag drive for Mercedes in Sunday’s restored French Grand Prix to regain top spot in the world championship.
The four-time world champion led from start to finish, bar one lap following his pit stop, as he claimed his first win in France, his third this year and the 65th of his career.
Hamilton came home seven seconds clear of Dutchman Max Verstappen with Kimi Raikkonen taking third for Ferrari after passing his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo with five laps remaining.
Hamilton’s consummate performance came after fellow four-time champion and pre-race leader Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari crashed into his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas on the opening lap.
Both suffered damage and, under an early Safety Car, limped to the pits for repairs.
They rejoined from the back of the field to finish fifth and seventh respectively, either side of Kevin Magnussen of Haas, who was sixth.
Vettel had to serve a five seconds penalty, which he took at his second pit stop.
Carlos Sainz came home eighth for Renault, to the delight of the crowd, ahead of team-mate Nico Hulkenberg and Charles Leclerc, who secured a point for Sauber with another impressive performance.
“Great work guys, great work everyone,” said Hamilton, who had watched England defeat Panama 6-1 in the World Cup before the race.
“It’s a good day for England.” (AFP)