Niki Lauda - Sebastian Vettel deserves harsher penalty for Valtteri Bottas incident

6 Motorsports Hamilton wins French Grand Prix

Max had decent pace, but I could maintain the gap at around five seconds. Sebastian Vettel, who had executed a strong start from P2 only to be boxed in by Hamilton ahead and Valtteri Bottas to the right, locked up into the first turn and nudged the Finn off the track, damaging his front wing and giving the Mercedes vehicle a rear-left puncture.

Hamilton now leads the Driver's Championship by 14 points ahead of Vettel and Ricciardo.

Behind him French drivers Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon also crashed, putting both out of the race on the spot.

The German was issued with a five-second time penalty and required a new nose for his Ferrari, while Bottas sustained a puncture that forced him into the pits.

"Ultimately, when someone destroys your race through an error and it's kind of a tap on the hand really - they're allowed to come back and still finish ahead of that person he took out - it doesn't weigh up".

Bottas, however, had a tougher time of things thanks to floor damage picked up dragging his punctured auto to the pits on the first lap.

The 33-year-old made the most of his nemesis Sebastian Vettel's collision at the first corner to impose himself on the contest at the Circuit Paul Ricard and finish seven seconds clear of the second-placed Max Verstappen.

Hamilton believes that the five-second penalty that Vettel was issued as a result of the fact that he spun out and damaged Bottas's auto was too lenient.

"It really annoyed me and was stupid to ask", Verstappen said "I'm getting annoyed about it". There are a lot of tracks we go to and the grandstands are not even half full, there's massive long banks that are just empty.

Vettel said: "I will not respond to that".

"I was very comfortable with the balance this afternoon".

"We were strong as a team, although unfortunately we could not turn that into a ideal points result", said Bottas.

Do you agree with Lewis Hamilton's assessment that the penalty that was issued to Sebastian Vettel was too lenient? However, he still ended up rallying to finish the race in fifth place and score 10 points, while Bottas was only able to manage to climb back up to seventh and score six points.

"Obviously for Valtteri it was very bad because it affected his race and he had nothing to do with it, so I went to him after the race [to talk to him]".

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