Hamilton defends Vettel after latest error

Ferrari

Hamilton escaped the melee at the start when his Mercedes partner Valtteri Bottas and Vettel collided, leading to a five-lap break for the safety auto.

The Mercedes driver assumed a 14-point lead over title rival Sebastian Vettel in the championship standings.

Starting third behind Hamilton and Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, Vettel tried to use his faster set of tires to make a good start.

"Whether five seconds is sufficient or not, I don't want to judge that".

Through the carnage scythed Max Verstappen, who cut across the run-off area to seize second place from his crashed-out rivals.

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But the German's lunge on the inside of the first corner crunched his Ferrari into the back of Bottas, damaging both cars and sending them into the pits for repairs.

"We are all going into turn one as hard as we could but ultimately when someone destroys your race through an error and it's kind of a tap on the hand really and [they are] just allowed to come back and still finish ahead of that person he took out - it doesn't weigh up".

Bottas, however, had a tougher time of things thanks to floor damage picked up dragging his punctured auto to the pits on the first lap.

"I hope when we get to Austria, the journalists ask him if he will change his approach because that is what l heard for so many races", Verstappen said.

"I think we could have done and then why Vettel only gets five second [time penalty] for an enormous mistake, I don't really understand".

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"Obviously what you don't see is that I lost a lot of grip and as I said I saw it and I was aware, so the two cars running around the outside trying to get their position on me, because I was stuck but I couldn't slow down more than I did and obviously lost the vehicle and hit Valtteri". There are a lot of tracks we go to and the grandstands are not even half full, there's massive long banks that are just empty.

Verstappen was relaxed in second place, aware that Hamilton's pace was never matchable in his Renault-powered Red Bull Racing vehicle.

"That's what they said to me in the beginning of the season so I think they should do the same". "I had a good race, I enjoyed that".

While Hamilton thanked his team for its "great work" via the radio after crossing the finish line, Vettel regretted that he "had lost the race on the first lap". However, he still ended up rallying to finish the race in fifth place and score 10 points, while Bottas was only able to manage to climb back up to seventh and score six points.

Ricciardo finished fourth ahead of Vettel in fifth.

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