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Vettel confidence not punctured by Hamilton's Silverstone show

Sports | Jul 18, 2017
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel says there's no need to panic after seeing his Formula 1 championship lead slashed to one point.

The German, who felt lucky to see the checkered flag after a penultimate- lap puncture at the British Grand Prix, finished seventh with Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton triumphant in front of a home crowd.

"The car is great," Vettel said. "So there is no reason to panic or to worry. But we need to be aware that they [Mercedes] are very quick, and there are a couple of advantages that we need to work on."

Vettel said the puncture came out of the blue after he had dropped the pace and was nursing the car home in third place. "The tires were going down but nothing out of the ordinary," he said. "So it was quite sudden when the tire decided not to take me to the end of the race."

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen finished third, but he too had a late tire problem that forced him to pit while in second place.

Pirelli sporting director Mario Isola said the two tire failures were quite different and technicians were investigating.

"What we can exclude is that we had any carcass failure on Kimi's tire as the tire was still inflated," he said. "There is a part of the tire that is damaged, and we will investigate on all the tires. Sebastian had a different issue with a loss of air."

The tire problem changed the picture entirely, leaving Vettel with a fragile lead as he prepares to go to one of Hamilton's favorite circuits in Hungary. But it could have been a lot worse if Vettel had failed to score, which would have put Hamilton into the lead overall.

Hamilton's dominant victory - his fourth in a row at Silverstone and fifth there in total - answered his critics, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said.

The triple world champion was booed by some and condemned by others after snubbing a promotional event in London and taking a holiday instead.

"I still don't understand why the British hero is being beaten up before the grand prix," Wolff said.

"It probably made him even more determined to show his fans how he can drive. And he can drive."

REUTERS



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