Heading to France for the opening segment of the just finished triple header, Sebastian Vettel held a slender one-point lead over Lewis Hamilton in the title race.
A third place in Austria, a race Hamiton retired from followed by a win at Silverstone has given him the advantage again. With 75 points on offer the German came out of the triple header with an impressive 50 the highest tally of any driver while Hamilton notched 43.
He was also Mr Consistent in terms of laps raced too, having completed all 176 laps over the course of the three Grands Prix. His Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen achieved that feat too, the only drivers to end this three-race spell with a 100 per cent laps-raced record.
Bottas’ triple header got off to the worst possible start when Vettel collided into him on the first lap in France, pushing him way back down the grid. It was damage limitation for the rest of the race, and he ultimately settled for seventh.
Would he bounce back in Austria? It looked that way when he secured pole position, but a gearbox problem when running in second put paid to his chances of victory, forcing him out of the race in unfortunate fashion, as shown below.
And last weekend at Silverstone, Mercedes opted against bringing the Finn – running second on the road to Vettel – in for fresh tyres under the Safety Car, and the decision ultimately meant he dropped out of the podium places to finish fourth.
These lost positions ultimately saw Bottas drop from a championship-challenging third in the standings, where he sat heading to France, to the fifth place he currently occupies heading to the next round in Germany.
Hamilton didn’t have much to smile about following the triple header’s final leg at Silverstone, given he’d just seen his arch rival triumph in front of ‘his’ fans.
But while it may have been a disappointing triple header for the reigning world champion, having begun so well with a win in France he should take some confidence from the fact that he led the most laps during this flat-out period.
Of the 176 raced in France, Austria and Britain, the Mercedes driver led the pack for 77 laps.
At Germany next weekend another close Ferrari and Mercedes battle awaits, with it at least being arguable now that Ferrari have the fastest car
Odds reflect this debate. Outright prices for the race are Hamilton 6/4 and Vettel 7/4 with SkyBet. Who will win? Well without his poor start and hit from Raikkonen Hamilton would have led Vettel at Silverstone and likely would have held him off
6/4 Hamilton is worth another go.