Hamilton wins in Spain to go 17 points clear


Hamilton wins in Spain to go 17 points clear

The win was Hamilton's 41st from pole position, one more than the previous record he shared with retired seven times champion Schumacher. Overall we were a little bit quicker [than Verstappen] but as the laps went on, we just didn't have enough pace.

Vettel spent the early part of the race in Barcelona fighting Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas for second, but he was soon shuffled down to fourth after being forced into a second pit-stop.

"We got a fair beating this weekend", he said. I had no idea what the pace would be like. "We have the Mercedes board with us, it's great to have them here, for them to see that force in the team - the strength and depth". I wouldn't say I had ideal synergy but close. "I think Red Bull will really be strong and Ferrari was on the pole a year ago". "I said that I wanted to come here and win the way that I won, and when I came across the line I was just happy that I did as I planned to". That happiness and that uplift from inside that I have that feeling. The race was the third in a row that Vettel, stuck on 49 career wins, had finished off the podium.

Hamilton now leads in the championship by 17 points over Vettel, with the team 27 points over its Italian rivals in the constructors' championship.

The results: 1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1hr 35min 29.972s, 2.

"That's more like it guys, great job", said Hamilton on team radio. Hamilton, for one, was cautious after the race. The degree of surprise increased further when they chose to send him out on the medium tyres instead of the softs.

Ferrari took the chance to stop Vettel for a second time in fear that his rubber would not last the course, but he was stationary for more than five seconds which allowed Bottas, who did not stop, and also Verstappen to move ahead of the Ferrari man. It looks different and it looks wrong, but from the inside I think it was the right thing to do.

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"We were going through the tyres too quick and therefore we were not able to stay out for another 23 laps. Even in the end, with a fresher set, I wasn't able to attack until the end".

The lack of performance from Ferrari would be alarming. Fernando Alonso (McLaren) (all one lap); 9. On the mediums, his Ferrari could manage only half of the number of laps (24) as Bottas (47). They changed but they changed for everyone, so our ambition has to be we are better rather than worse off. "We tried our best, but something was missing and we need to improve on this". Kimi (Raikkonen, Vettel's team-mate) had an issue with the engine (on Saturday) and had to change it.

No such trouble for Hamilton at the head of the field who, after six laps behind the safety vehicle, set about establishing a commanding lead over Vettel.

He now has 95 points to Vettel's 78 after five rounds of the 21-race championship.

He could do nothing to fight his way back past Max Verstappen, who despite banging into the back of Lance Stroll's Williams, took the final spot on the podium. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) + 50.058; 6.

After a tough start to his season, Verstappen surely heaved a sigh of relief with his podium finish in Spain.

"It felt good. It was the closest I've been to feeling it is all going right, but there are still things that are not quite ideal".

"We go to Monaco on a high note, but we know we have a long mountain to climb and a lot of work to do". A small mistake after the lap 1 safety auto compromised the early phase of the grand prix, but even with an offset strategy Red Bull couldn't unlock the true potential of the vehicle to challenge Mercedes, which is a disappointment considering Ricciardo recorded the fastest lap of the grand prix - proving that the RB14 does have intrinsic race pace.

All three were out of the race in an instant to mark another embarrassing chapter for Grosjean after he crashed out under the safety auto last time out in Baku. Kevin Magnussen (Haas), 7. Charles Leclerc (Sauber), 11.

The race got off to a chaotic start due to Romain Grosjean losing control. However, it was Grosjean's stubbornness to off the throttle while spinning that caused the first lap mayhem in the race. Esteban Ocon, who ran a good race till a delayed pit-stop ruined his chances, had to retire after his vehicle ran out of power.

Vettel said he remained upbeat heading into the Monaco Grand Prix in two weeks. Second, the ever-increasing gap between the teams.



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