Lewis Hamilton has labelled his British Grand Prix fightback as a “huge” result for Mercedes, insisting he will not give up in the intense 2018 Formula 1 title fight.

Hamilton dropped to 18th on the opening lap at Silverstone after being turned around by Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen following a sluggish getaway, but he pulled off a remarkable recovery charge to finish second behind Sebastian Vettel

The result limited the damage to the Briton’s championship bid for a fifth world title, meaning he is now only eight points behind Vettel in the drivers’ standings heading to Germany. 

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"We're in a tough battle this year and it's the most intense battle that I think we've probably all had," Hamilton said. “I'm very, very grateful that the car was still in one piece after the first turn three incident.

"Whilst I appeared, at the beginning, to have lost something on the rear end, when I looked at the car afterwards it seems to be OK and it was driving better and better throughout the race, so that was a great thing.

“Honestly, to get back to second it's huge for us. I will definitely take it, of course, and I'm happy with the drive that I did.”

When asked if he felt second place was still a realistic target once he had dropped to the back, Hamilton replied: "Yes. I had to have that mentality. I was last and I still believed I could win. I had to keep that mentality to get back to where I was.

“We’ll take it on the chin and keep pushing hard, because believe me I will not give up. I will not give up.”

Hamilton was aided in his run to second by two Safety Car periods as Mercedes decided to keep both drivers out while both Ferrari drivers pitted. 

It meant Bottas held track position, but on older tyres he was was vulnerable, ultimately losing out to Vettel, Hamilton and Raikkonen after a valiant defence as he ended up fourth. 

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff defended the strategy call, insisting: "I think it was absolutely the right decision to do.

"There was 15 or 16 laps to the end, we were on quite fresh mediums that would last and gaining track position was the important one for us.

"Doing the opposite [to Ferrari] was the choice we went for and in the end it brought us a P2 and P4. Considering how the race started we need to accept the result as an OK outcome, as damage limitation.

“Even without the incident in Lap 1, we don’t know whether we would have won the race but I believe that Lewis and the car had the pace. We would have had a better chance of competing for the win, then it was made impossible. This is the feeling that remains.”

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