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Hamilton slashes Vettel’s lead to 1 point

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates his win with fans after the Formula One British Grand Prix at Silverstone yesterday. — Reuters

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates his win with fans after the Formula One British Grand Prix at Silverstone yesterday. — Reuters

LEWIS Hamilton slashed Sebastian Vettel’s Formula One championship lead to one point by winning a record-equaling fifth British Grand Prix — and his fourth straight — yesterday as his title rival was left reeling by a late puncture.

Vettel was in third heading into the penultimate lap at Silverstone only to see his front left tire shred — immediately after Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen’s car experienced the same fate.

Raikkonen still made the podium by replacing Vettel in third, but the championship leader fell back to seventh as the 20-point lead he held over Hamilton going into the 10th round of the 20-race season was all but wiped out on an overcast afternoon in central England.

It capped a dominant weekend for Hamilton in front of his home fans and the three-time world champion was assisted by Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas making up seven places to join him on the podium after finishing second.

“Great drive by Valtteri,” Hamilton said on the team radio. “Fantastic job, all weekend.”

For Hamilton, the victory after failing to make the podium in his last two races will vindicate the decision to go on a two-day holiday to Greece after the Austrian GP. The jaunt annoyed racing fans in London who turned up to a flagship showcase of the sport that was attended by the other 19 drivers.

Hamilton, who started on pole, matched Jim Clark and Alain Prost with the record-equalling fifth win at his home race.

Max Verstappen and his Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who began in 19th on the grid, were fourth and fifth respectively, with Nico Hulkenberg sixth for Renault.

Vettel was followed by Esteban Ocon and his Force India teammate Sergio Perez and Felipe Massa for Williams.

At the halfway stage of the 20-race season, Vettel has 177 points to Hamilton’s 176 with Bottas on 154.

Hungary, a circuit where the Briton has won five times before, is next up.

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