Seb Vettel increase his lead by 7 points to 8 in the Drivers’ championship and the team extend its advantage by 10 points to 20 in the Constructors’. Despite some neck pain Seb secured his fourth win of the season and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen made a good recovery following a collision shortly after the start. The SF71H proved to be the car to beat, even if that had not seemed the case going into this event.
Vettel shot from second on the grid into the lead. Kimi fought with Hamilton and it did not go well, with the Mercedes spinning and the Ferrari continuing in fourth place, before retaking Ricciardo at the end of the opening lap.
In the early stages, Vettel was clearly the quickest driver on track, while Kimi was right up Verstappen’s exhaust pipes. However, after seven laps, the Stewards hit the Finn with a 10 second penalty for the collision at Turn 3, while the driver was radioing the team asking about suspected front wing damage. They decided to bring him in on lap 13 to change the tyres and take the penalty. He rejoined tenth, between Sainz and Magnussen. He immediately dealt with the Renault and set the fastest lap. The aim was to stay ahead of Hamilton when he too would have to pit.
At one third distance, Kimi had moved up to sixth and Red Bull called in its drivers to avoid finding themselves behind the Ferrari. At the end of lap 20, Seb pitted switching from Soft to Medium tyres. He emerged ahead of Hamilton, as planned. Obviously, at that point, Bottas was told to pit, but Sebastian still found himself leading, by the same margin of 4”4, as before the stop. However, now it was time for tyre management.