Hamilton wins Spanish GP, strengthens lead in F1 standings

Lewis Hamilton

He continued, "I was much happier with the vehicle".

"This result is far from ideal, and I'm pretty disappointed", said Raikkonen, who is fourth in the drivers' standings, behind Bottas. "I am going to sleep like a baby tonight because I know I did my job this weekend to the maximum and I didn't leave anything on the table so there is no better feeling". Vettel said: "I was happy with the lap". That happiness and that uplift from inside that I have that feeling.

When racing resumed Vettel after six laps with the safety vehicle was first of the leading group to pit but the Mercedes pair stayed out on what turned out to be a one-stop strategy, with Hamilton immediately smashing the lap record. Once again, Ferrari's strategic decisions have been called into question.

He finished down in fourth, however, almost half a second off pole and three tenths behind team-mate Vettel. Vettel has two wins already this year, but finished outside the top 3 in the other two. Which drivers will be the top contenders to win this race?

"I've said many times this team is strong and we have a lot of potential, but we also need to make sure we address the problems that we have and work together in the same direction". It has been a constant learning process with the tyres, getting them working in a very narrow window. It is hard to cope with and in the following races we struggled.

"It obviously looks wrong, but from the inside it was the right thing to do", he said.

The lack of performance from Ferrari would be alarming. This 74th career pole is a return to competitive form just when he needed it, having been outpaced over the single lap at Bahrain and China by his team-mate Bottas, and by Vettel in the last three races. On the mediums, his Ferrari could manage only half of the number of laps (24) as Bottas (47).

The season-opening Australian Grand Prix aside, Mercedes has been chasing Ferrari in the early part of the season, and even with Hamilton's victory in Azerbaijan, questions were still being asked about their performance levels.

"They have been changed a bit, the tyres, for whatever reason".

Ferrari may have an outside chance of getting the win today, especially because their auto is the best out of everyone else's.

Both Ferrari men delivered sloppy first runs en route to pole position, but because of that, they should have been back on track, on the Super Softs, when their final runs commenced. Toward the end of previous year, he broke out with a few wins and finished in the top 5 in six straight races. Vettel ended P4 with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo in P5.

Verstappen then hit back of Sirotkin, but despite sustaining damage to his front wing, held off Vettel with relative ease. The Red Bull Racing prodigy was able to keep ahead of Vettel to climb onto the last step of the podium.

Verstappen had trailed Raikkonen throughout the first stint but the Finn suffered a suspected engine issue and slowed, dropping out of fourth place, before retiring altogether. When it mattered in Q3 he set a blistering lap on his first run and with the pressure on promptly improved it. It was only revealed post-race that one of the reasons for this huge gap was a spin after the Virtual Safety Car restart on cold tyres. Kevin Magnussen (Haas), 7. Grosjean was punished with a three-place grid penalty for the next round in Monaco.

Crowd-favourite Fernando Alonso was sixth fastest with McLaren in the morning but was 12 in the second session. Force India's Sergio Perez's scored two points for his team in 9th, while Charles Leclerc continued his momentum from Baku to finish 10th, adding one more point to Sauber's tally.

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