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The four-time champion led from the start of the race, capitalizing on a collision between his teammate Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel that ultimately saw his Ferrari rival finish fifth and concede a 14-point lead at the top of the standings after eight races.

“I feel very grateful for a solid weekend,” said Hamilton after his victory at the Circuit Paul Ricard, the first French GP in 10 years.

“My guys [Mercedes], I’ve been with them for six years and they are just continuously pushing the boundaries and never giving up, so I’m just forever grateful for all their work, here at the track and back at the factory.

“But there’s a long way to go and we’ll keep approaching the rest of the season like we approached today.”

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Victory in the south of France was the third of the season for the Mercedes driver, who has won the championship in three of the last four years. It will come as a relief after a mixed start to the year and a disappointing race in Canada a fortnight ago.

Hamilton, who held off Red Bull’s Max Verstappen throughout the race, profited thanks to a five-second penalty handed out to Vettel and Bottas that saw the pair relegated to the back of the grid at the start of the race.

“I think my start was good, perhaps even too good,” said Vettel, who suffered his worst result since the Chinese GP in April.

“I found myself very close to Lewis in front and, when I tried to brake, I had absolutely no grip and there wasn’t much space where I could go.

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