Hamilton leads second-placed Vettel by 24 points after winning the past two races, and the German driver needs little reminding his British rival turned around a 14-point deficit at the same stage previous year to take the title by 46.
Hamilton was untroubled as he secured a second-straight win, his fifth of the season and 67th overall. "P2 was not what we wanted but is the best we could have done", the German said.
However, fierce Vettel fought back in Canada and followed by Hamilton in France.
With just five laps remaining, Vettel pulled off a move on Bottas, passing him on the outside heading to Turn 2.
"It was, from my standpoint, it was his best race so far with Mercedes in the last years".
"A lot can happen moving forward, but what is important is that we continue to keep the pressure on and work as we have done until now". "The points gap is big so I'm sure the team will decide at some point".
But the momentum of this dramatic title race has once again swung back the way of Hamilton going into the month-long season break - even though Ferrari have boasted the quicker package in recent races. Vettel was now only a couple of second off Bottas and only passed the Finn when the latter chose to pit on Lap 15, a lap after Raikkonen. I think we could have gone with Lewis today with the race pace.
Kimi Raikkonen admitted over the weekend that it is "up to the team" whether he stays next year.
"Last year we lost the championship because our auto wasn't quick enough in the final part of the season", he said.
"I realised I had a much better run, got the inside track out of Turn 1 so I was quite comfortable into Turn 2". So I hope that this year, and I think this year has shown so far that our vehicle is more efficient, our auto is stronger and still has a lot of potential to unleash - so I'm quite confident with what's sitting in the pipeline that we can improve.