Vettel dismisses Mercedes claims as "silly"

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Sebastian Vettel extended his lead in the Formula One drivers' championship but Lewis Hamilton reduced the arrears after a thrilling British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Hamilton started his Mercedes badly from pole position and was hit by the other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen as he tried to cling on to third.

The safety vehicle was then deployed for a big crash, which ended Marcus Ericsson's race.

Hamilton's team mate Valtteri Bottas led and might have won but for a second safety vehicle, after Renault's Carlos Sainz and Haas's Romain Grosjean collided, that kept the front four nose to tail and only fractions apart.

"The safety auto spiced it up", said Vettel, wearing supporting tapes on his stiff neck. I think I surprised him.

Expanding further in the press conference, Hamilton said: "All I'll say there's now two races the Ferraris have taken out one of the Mercedes".

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While Raikkonen was handed a 10-second time penalty for the incident, Hamilton immediately set about climbing back through the field as the contact had left him with minimal - if any - damage.

The Red Bull pairing of Dutch 20-year-old Max Verstappen, victor in Austria last weekend, and Australian Daniel Ricciardo qualified fifth and sixth.

But the headlines belong to Vettel, who suffered a neck injury during practice on Saturday and was forced to wear supportive tape during the race, but came through for his fourth win of the season. "I find it a bit unnecessary to even go there".

Shortly after, team boss Toto Wolff said: "First time we get taken out, now today is the second time we get taken out, that a lot of constructor points". "You are the fastest by miles, so don't give up".

On re-start, at Stowe, Bottas pulled away. After several laps of stern defence from Bottas, Vettel finally made a move which stuck by diving down the inside at Brooklands and out-braking the Finn. Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) at 2.264sec, 3. The current F1 champion is now eighth, while Raikkonen receives a 10-second penalty for causing the collision. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Mercedes) 8.883, 5. Fernando Alonso (ESP/McLaren) 31.115, 9. Lance Stroll (CAN/Williams) 38.106, 14.