Lewis Hamilton feels Sebastian Vettel’s penalty for colliding with Valtteri Bottas didn’t fit the result from the incident and denied Mercedes a 1-2 finish after its “constructive and critical” look into its recent performances boosted by its engine update.

The defending Formula 1 world champion produced a flawless race at Paul Ricard having avoided the first lap clash between Vettel and teammate Bottas to storm to a dominant victory and regain the lead in the drivers’ standings by 14 points.

Hamilton feels Mercedes lost out on a potential 1-2 in France due to Vettel’s error locking up at the first turn and running into Bottas and feels the rules aren’t measured up correctly if the German driver can serve his penalty but still finish ahead of the Finn.

Both Vettel and Bottas pitted at the end of the first lap after sustaining damage and even though the Ferrari driver served his five-second time penalty for causing the collision he still finished in fifth place with the Finn down in seventh place at the chequered flag.

French GP - Driver Ratings

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“It is definitely disappointing for the team as we had a chance for a 1-2 and that would have been an incredible feeling, to get a 1-2 is always the ultimate goal,” Hamilton said. “We are all going into Turn 1 as hard as we could but ultimately when someone destroys your race through an error and it’s only a tap on the hand and allowed to come back and finish ahead of the person they took out it doesn’t weigh up.

“Ultimately you shouldn’t be allowed to finish ahead of the one you have taken out of the race. But that’s the call they make.”

Mercedes introduced its delayed engine update, tagged as the ‘2.1’ power unit, which gave Hamilton a timely performance boost as he clinched pole position and victory in France which the four-time world champion credits upon its fightback.

“Every race is a team effort but I think that when you are constructive, criticise yourself and you take a step back you approach it with new methods and new determination,” he said. “When you come up with the result so this is definitely a great feeling. There is a long way to go and we need to keep approaching it as we have today.

“A fresh engine is always a good thing so after seven races an engine can never be, with the amount that we have to push the engines nowadays with the mileage, there is no way the engine can have the same power as a day one brand new engine.

“It was great to have a fresh engine as it really put us back in line with everyone else who has fresher engines.

“It definitely was a positive and the guys did a great job on the engine side of things and the development part. If you could see what happens back at the factory at Brixworth the machine shop and design meeting rooms it is a team within itself and an incredible machine there that is working to create all these engines for several teams here and to create the best engine in the sport for many years now.”

 

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