Lewis Hamilton v Sebastian Vettel: The 2018 Formula One season so far

RACE 1: Australia – March 25

1st: Sebastian Vettel (25pts)

2nd: Lewis Hamilton (18)

Hamilton qualifies on pole and raves about the engine’s “party mode”. But Vettel steals the race by pitting under the virtual safety car and emerging in front amid a Mercedes software miscalculation.

RACE 2: Bahrain – April 8

1st: Vettel (50)

3rd: Hamilton (33)

Vettel starts on pole and dominates while Hamilton, who has to take a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change, is unable to catch up.

RACE 3: China – April 15

1st: Daniel Ricciardo

4th: Hamilton (45)

8th: Vettel (54)

Ricciardo is masterful in his overtaking. Pole-sitter Vettel loses his advantage after a botched pit stop and Hamilton struggles to match Ferrari’s pace.

RACE 4: Azerbaijan – April 29

1st: Lewis Hamilton (70)

4th: Vettel (66)

Hamilton wins for the first time in 2018 but admits being lucky, thanks to Valtteri Bottas’ puncture. Earlier, pole-sitter Vettel finds himself behind Bottas, who changes tyres and emerges from the pits to lead, while the German goes off track after trying to overtake.

RACE 5: Spain – May 13

1st: Hamilton (95)

4th: Vettel (78)

Hamilton executes a perfect race as Mercedes master the window of tyres’ optimal operating temperature, dominating from pole to finish. Vettel qualifies third but falls a further place after stopping for tyres.

RACE 6: Monaco – May 27

1st: Ricciardo

2nd: Vettel (96)

3rd: Hamilton (110)

An in-form Ricciardo leads from start to finish with only six of his eight gears functional, losing 160 horsepower and running on shredded tyres. Neither Vettel nor Hamilton complain that the iconic track is more about tyre management than pure racing.

RACE 7: Canada – June 10

1st: Vettel (121)

5th: Hamilton (120)

The long straights of Montreal give Vettel, in the more powerful Ferrari, his 50th career win. Mercedes are unable to bring any engine update and pay for it with Hamilton struggling for straight-line speed and sees his championship lead trimmed from 14 points to trail by one.

RACE 8: France – June 24

1st: Hamilton (145)

5th: Vettel (131)

Hamilton wins from pole to chequered flag as Vettel, starting third and on supersofts, overheats, spins out at Turn 1 and has to pit for a new front wing.

RACE 9: Austria – July 1

1st: Max Verstappen

3rd: Vettel (146)

Retired: Hamilton (145)

Mercedes are dealt a huge blow when both drivers retire (Bottas through hydraulics and Hamilton through drop in fuel pressure). Vettel finishes third and retakes the championship lead as Verstappen shows poise and technique to win the race.

RACE 10: Britain – July 8

1st: Vettel (171)

2nd: Hamilton (163)

Pole sitter Hamilton is hit by Kimi Raikkonen in the first lap. The Briton drives beautifully to recover but is unable to catch Vettel, who took full advantage to extend his championship lead to eight points.

RACE 11: Germany – July 22

1st: Hamilton (188)

Retired: Vettel (171)

All signs point to a win for the German in his home race. Vettel qualifies on pole and almost two seconds faster than Hamilton. But on Lap 52 in the 67-lap race, the Ferrari man blunders by losing control in the rain and crashing into a barrier and retiring. Hamilton charges through the gap to win and opens up a 17-point lead after starting the day in 14th place.

RACE 12: Hungary – July 29

1st: Hamilton (213)

2nd: Vettel (189)

Hamilton, on pole in the slower Mercedes, wins with clever strategy – pitting on Lap 25 following the safety car and emerging to take the lead. Vettel is left to rue another slow pit stop, taking 4.2 seconds to change tyres as a jack gets stuck.

RACE 13: Belgium – Aug 26

1st: Vettel (214)

2nd: Hamilton (231)

Vettel gets things right as he overtakes Hamilton, who tops a rainy qualifying session. But, on a dry race day and facing the long straights of Spa, he is no match for the faster Ferrari as his title lead is reduced to 17 points.

RACE 14: Italy – Sept 2

1st: Hamilton (256)

4th: Vettel (226)

It looks like Ferrari’s weekend as the Prancing Horses lock out the starting grid with Raikkonen on pole. But Hamilton makes a bold overtaking move on Lap 1, sending Vettel spinning out to 18th. Mercedes keep the Briton out on the track longer but pit him late to ensure he wins the race on fresh rubber. Vettel fights hard but with a damaged car, can only finish fourth.

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