Two punctures in the final moments of the race, but nevertheless Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen made it to the podium in third place. Seb Vettel finished seventh and after an incredible, yet cruel race, he still leads the championship.
A race full of rebound
The race got off to a false start as an extra formation lap was needed because Palmer had stopped on track. That meant the race distance was down to 51 laps, but there was excitement right from the start, with Kimi and Seb fighting with Verstappen. Then came a collision between the two Toro Rossos which brought out the Safety Car. Kimi hung on to Hamilton, while Seb, who had a few difficulties at the start, was fourth. Racing restarted on lap 5, with Kimi matching the leader’s pace, while his team-mate had to be patient before getting his place back. It was a thrilling duel, but in the end, it was decided on the strategy call: a scheduled pit stop for Seb on lap 19 saw the German fit the Soft tyres. The number 5 Ferrari came out ahead of the Force India duo in fifth place. Verstappen therefore had to pit to cover our strategy, but when he rejoined he was behind the Ferrari. Seb then banged in a fastest lap, before passing Hulkenberg for fourth place. On lap 24, it was Kimi’s turn to pit to go from the Supersofts to the Softs.
Shortly after that, Hamilton did the same, but on fresh rubber, the Iceman was the fastest man on track. Bottas came down pit lane on lap 32 and came out behind the Scuderia Ferrari duo. Seb reacted, setting his best lap in 1:31.872. On lap 43 came the first duel, as Seb repulsed the attack under braking.
The tires played tricks
But the move ruined his tyres and he lost the position on the Hangar Straight. “I can get to the finish” came his reassurance over the radio and indeed he would, while out in front, with only two laps remaining, Kimi’s left front tyre suddenly let go. The Finn pitted and took on Supersofts, while he was helped by the fact Verstappen also needed to make an unexpected stop. But on the last lap, Seb also got a puncture, again a left front. He dived into pit lane and managed to stay in the points, but the team deserved much better today.
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