Mercedes admit they cost Lewis Hamilton victory but dismiss need for change

Lewis Hamilton wins the French Grand Prix

Red Bull's Max Verstappen capitalised on Mercedes' first double mechanical "did not finish" since their return to the sport in 2010 to claim his fourth career win ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Vettel.

Lewis Hamilton dramatically retired from the Austrian Grand Prix as Formula One's title race was thrown wide open.

"It's incredible to win in a Red Bull at the Red Bull Ring", said Verstappen, who was supported by an "Orange army" of more than 20 000 fans.

Hamilton said that his Mercedes W09 has "got to be quick" in his upcoming home race at Silverstone, where he would look to make up for "a lot of points lost today". Hamilton's retirement, his first in 33 races, ensured a 15-point championship swing in Vettel's favour a week before the British Grand Prix.

Hamilton was unhappy before his late retirement complaining to his team that "we've just thrown away a win", by bungling the timing of a tyre change.

When Bottas went out on lap 14 after losing hydraulic pressure, Red Bull and Ferrari were quick to take advantage of the reduced pace on the track during the virtual safety auto period and got all their cars to the box for a tire swap.

But the Mercedes driver's opportunities wouldn't eventuate, with tyre problems further preventing his ability to win the race. "So positive day but could have been better". I think that's one of our main losses. 'The situation is very complex this year.

"As painful as it is, we are professionals and we have to take the rough with the smooth".

Ricciardo then pitted at the same time Vettel squeezed beyond Hamilton on the 39th of the 71 race laps.

Hamilton then opened up a 2.4 seconds lead as the field was stretched on the tight, short track.

Bottas was also cautious, noting that the upgraded engine didn't drastically increase Mercedes' advantage in France.

He later told reporters that he had cleared the air in another sense and understood the position, grinning at the media crowd assembled in the team hospitality and pulling out his phone to film the scene.

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"I'm fourth now?!" Hamilton questioned the team.

"It's my mistake. Do what you can", replied Mercedes strategist James Vowles.

When Hamilton did pit, he came back out in fourth place.

Verstappen led Raikkonen by more than six seconds but with everyone behind the Dutchman seemingly anxious to protect tyres, he was unchallenged.

"I'm not going to be able to pass these guys".

It was clear that tyre wear was emerging as a critical factor.

"It was about extracting what was left of performance in him, and helping him out of the mind loop of 'How can this possibly have happened?' By admitting the mistake it's easier to get yourself out of the spiral".

On lap 53, he pitted again for super-softs, dropping a place to fifth behind Ricciardo, who nearly immediately slowed and stopped. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Ferrari) 3.181,4.

They were split by the Haas of Romain Grosjean.

McLaren's Fernando Alonso qualified 14th, but will start 13th as a result of Leclerc's penalty. Marcus Ericsson (SWE/Sauber-Ferrari) one lap, 11.

Williams driver Sergey Sirotkin had set his personal best first sector when the yellow flags hit in the middle sector, meaning he ended up 18th after three runs. Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL/McLaren-Renault) three laps.

When Bottas suffered a failure of hydraulic pressure and lost gearbox function, he trundled to a halt on lap 14.

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