Spanish Grand Prix: Victory for Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton celebrates victory in the Spanish Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton celebrates victory in the Spanish Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton has extended his lead at the summit of the Formula 1 championship thanks to a crushing win in the Spanish Grand Prix.

The podium

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Valtteri Bottas
  3. Max Verstappen

In brief

Lewis Hamilton has extended his lead at the summit of the Formula 1 championship thanks to a crushing win in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Hamilton blasted out the blocks from pole position at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya and from there his second victory in as many rounds never appeared in doubt.

Sebastian Vettel looked set to finish behind Hamilton to limit the title damage, but Ferrari's gamble to pit him for a second time backfired with Valtteri Bottas following Hamilton home to secure Mercedes' first one-two finish of the season.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen completed the podium positions, despite damaging his front wing after crashing into the back of Sergey Sirotkin's Williams, to leave Vettel 17 points adrift of Hamilton.

The top three drivers on the podium after the Spanish Grand Prix
The top three drivers on the podium after the Spanish Grand Prix

Full classification

Leading Positions after Race (66 Laps): 1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1hr 35mins 29.972secs, 2 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes GP 1:35:50.565, 3 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1:35:56.845, 4 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1:35:57.556, 5 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 1:36:20.030, 6 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas F1 at 1 Lap, 7 Carlos Sainz (Spa) Renault at 1 Lap, 8 Fernando Alonso (Spa) McLaren at 1 Lap, 9 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India at 2 Laps, 10 Charles Leclerc (Mon) Sauber-Ferrari at 2 Laps, 11 Lance Stroll (Can) Williams at 2 Laps, 12 Brendon Hartley (Nzl) Scuderia Toro Rosso at 2 Laps, 13 Marcus Ericsson (Swe) Sauber-Ferrari at 2 Laps, 14 Sergey Sirotkin (Rus) Williams at 3 Laps

Not Classified: 15 Stoffel Vandoorne (Bel) McLaren 45 Laps completed, 16 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Force India 38 Laps completed, 17 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 25 Laps completed, 18 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Renault 0 Laps completed, 19 Pierre Gasly (Fra) Scuderia Toro Rosso 0 Laps completed, 20 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas F1 0 Laps completed

Fastest Lap: Daniel Ricciardo 1min 18.441secs on Lap 61

Race report

Lewis Hamilton has extended his lead at the summit of the Formula 1 championship thanks to a crushing win in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Hamilton blasted out the blocks from pole position at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya and from there his second victory in as many rounds never appeared in doubt.

Sebastian Vettel looked set to finish behind Hamilton to limit the title damage, but Ferrari's gamble to pit him for a second time backfired with Valtteri Bottas following Hamilton home to secure Mercedes' first one-two finish of the season.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen completed the podium positions, despite damaging his front wing after crashing into the back of Sergey Sirotkin's Williams, to leave Vettel 17 points adrift of Hamilton.

While there was more than a hint of fortune about Hamilton's opening victory of his championship defence in Azerbaijan a fortnight ago, the Englishman was in a class of his own on Sunday.

Hamilton roared off his marks to retain his lead on the 200mph charge to the opening bend, while Vettel got the jump on Bottas after a gutsy move around the outside of the Mercedes.

The leading cars navigated the opening metres without drama, but the same could not be said further behind after a three-way crash was sparked by the error-prone Romain Grosjean.

Grosjean, once labelled a first-lap nutcase by Mark Webber, lost control of his Haas at Turn 3 and slid back across the track in a cloud of tyre smoke.

Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly and Renault's Nico Hulkenberg were unsighted and could do little to avoid Grosjean as they both crashed into his out-of-control car.

All three were out of the race in an instant to mark another embarrassing chapter for Grosjean after he crashed out under the safety car last time out in Baku.

The safety car was deployed for six laps here to deal with the debris before Hamilton executed a masterful restart to leave Vettel for dust, and by lap 15, the Brit had already moved 6.5 seconds clear of his rival.

Vettel stopped on lap 17 for a new set of tyres, while Bottas was called in by Mercedes two laps later. Bottas had done enough on track to move back ahead of the Ferrari only for a sticky rear tyre to contribute to a slow stop and leave Vettel running ahead.

Hamilton, however, was in cruise control, as he made his one and only trouble-free stop on lap 25.

Verstappen and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo were promoted to first and third respectively, with Red Bull opting to run their drivers on a longer opening stint. Ricciardo was eventually called in on lap 34, with Verstappen pitting a lap later.

Moments later the virtual safety car was then called upon as Esteban Ocon parked his Force India with an engine problem.

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 was a mistake which cost the German dearly.

Verstappen then hit back of Sirotkin, but despite sustaining damage to his front wing, held off Vettel with relative ease.

Hamilton crossed the line 21 seconds clear of Bottas, with Vettel 0.7 sec behind Verstappen. Ricciardo took fifth ahead of Kevin Magnussen, Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso, who all finished one lap down on the mighty Hamilton.

"This is more like it," said a jubilant Hamilton as he crossed the line. "Let's keep this up."

Reaction

Lewis Hamilton plans to look back at his emphatic victory in Spain as the turning point that fired him to a fifth F1 title.

"I would like to hope that this race could be part of a turning point," Hamilton said. "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.

"The team have been working very hard to understand the tyres and how the car works, so I think it all came together this weekend.

"We definitely go to Monaco on a high note, but we know that we still have a lot of work to do. That said, I will sleep like a baby tonight."

He was at his very best in Melbourne but was then, by his own admission, off-colour in Bahrain, China and even Baku despite his victory.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admitted Hamilton's confidence had taken a knock.

"The best ones are very sensitive and fragile and that is something we know and he knows," Wolff said.

"He was solidly in the lead in Melbourne and suddenly he was behind the Ferrari. It is difficult to cope with and in the following races we struggled. But having such a good weekend here, and winning by a solid margin, is very important for his confidence."

Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari can offer no further excuses if they want to wrestle the championship momentum back from Hamilton and Mercedes.

"Our tyres didn't last as long as the others, so we couldn't follow the same strategy as them," Vettel said.

"We had to stop again and we obviously lost two positions, and also a bit of time during the pit-stop itself, but staying out was not an option.

"There were three things this weekend. One, we were not quick enough and if we are not able to see then we are more than blind.

"Secondly, we struggled with the tyres. Thirdly, it was a poor weekend in terms of reliability. If we don't see those issues then there are no excuses.

"But the bottom line is that we are not quick enough today to win, and that is what needs to be addressed."

World Championship Standings after Spanish Grand Prix

Drivers: 1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 95pts, 2 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 78, 3 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes GP 58, 4 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 48, 5 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 47, 6 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 33, 7 Fernando Alonso (Spa) McLaren 32, 8 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Renault 22, 9 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas F1 19, 10 Carlos Sainz (Spa) Renault 19, 11 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India 17, 12 Pierre Gasly (Fra) Scuderia Toro Rosso 12, 13 Charles Leclerc (Mon) Sauber-Ferrari 9, 14 Stoffel Vandoorne (Bel) McLaren 8, 15 Lance Stroll (Can) Williams 4, 16 Marcus Ericsson (Swe) Sauber-Ferrari 2, 17 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Force India 1, 18 Brendon Hartley (Nzl) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1, 19 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas F1 0, 20 Sergey Sirotkin (Rus) Williams 0

Manufacturers: 1 Mercedes GP 153pts, 2 Ferrari 126, 3 Red Bull 80, 4 Renault 41, 5 McLaren 40, 6 Haas F1 19, 7 Force India 18, 8 Scuderia Toro Rosso 13, 9 Sauber-Ferrari 11, 10 Williams 4

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