Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel won the British Formula 1 Grand Prix on Monday after world championship rival Lewis Hamilton spun on the opening lap.

The German's 51st career race win gave him an eight-point lead over Hamilton in the championship.

The reigning world champion produced a superb fightback after being turned around by Kimi Raikkonen, taking advantage of two safety car interventions, to climb back to second overall.

Raikkonen served a 10-second penalty at his first stop and made a late over-taking move on Valtteri Bottas to secure third.

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New Zealander Hartley's British Grand Prix ended before it began with his Toro Rosso team unable to get his car ready to start the race.

Hartley's scary FP3 crash ended his weekend – the damage sustained ruling him out of qualifying and eventually the race itself. He prepared to race and the team tried to get the Honda-powered Toro Rosso ready in time to start from pit lane but ultimately wheeled the car back into the garage without leaving the lane.

It continues a run of poor performance – at the hands of the team rather than driver.

Vettel made a cracking start from second place to beat Hamilton to the first corner. Raikkonen locked his tyres and made contact with Hamilton on the opening lap, spinning the Brit and dropping him to the rear of the grid. Hamilton thought he had suffered damage to his rear but managed to drive through the majority of the field before his first stop.

Marcus Ericsson had a high-speed crash on lap 33, which brought out a safety car. Both Mercedes opted to stay out while Vettel, Verstappen and Raikkonen all made another stop. Just after that re-start Romain Grosjean and Carlos Sainz came together, sending both cars into the wall and brought out another safety car.

The re-start saw a short 10-lap sprint to the flag, which produced the best wheel to wheel racing of the season. Bottas had the lead of the race but was over-taken by Vettel, Hamilton and Raikkonen on the dash home while Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen were involved in the scrap as well.

A mechanical problem forced Verstappen out with a handful of laps remaining.

"The safety car spiced it up," said Vettel. "I had the advantage on tyres, but it was not so easy to find a way through. I think I surprised him, I wasn't sure If I'd make the corner. I was in much better shape today."

Hamilton was upset post-race with the contact from Raikkonen.

"Interesting tactics from this side, but we'll do what we can to fight them," the Brit said.

Raikkonen wasn't happy when told of his 10-second penalty for the incident with Hamilton over the radio but had cooled down by the end of the race.

"It was my mistake, that's fine. I deserved it," he said. "I kept fighting - that's how it goes."

The series takes a break next week after three-straight race weekends. The German Grand Prix is scheduled in a fortnight.