SILVERSTONE, England (AP) — After laboring with neck pain on Saturday, Sebastian Vettel found the perfect tonic 24 hours later — matching Alain Prost’s total of 51 Grand Prix victories and denying main rival Lewis Hamilton a record-setting win in his home race.
The German defeated second-placed Hamilton on Sunday to win the British GP in front of a partisan crowd and extended his lead in the Formula One championship standings to eight points after 10 of 21 races.
“Sebastian drove a great race, fighting like a lion despite the pain in the neck,” Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said.
Vettel had been hindered by neck pain in the last practice, and wasn’t sure if he’d be able to compete in Saturday’s qualifying session. He acknowledged he had been concerned ahead of the race itself.
“I will feel it a little bit tonight. It doesn’t matter. It held up. The race was fantastic,” Vettel said after claiming his fourth win of the season.
Vettel moved level with Prost on 51 F1 wins, trailing only Hamilton (65) and Michael Schumacher (91).
Hamilton, who started in pole position after setting an electrifying track record to beat Vettel in qualifying, was going for a fifth straight victory in his home race and his sixth overall to beat the record of five he shares with Jim Clark and Prost.
But a poor start and disastrous first lap all but ended his hopes.