Hamilton cruises to commanding win in Spain

Tom Howard

Monday 14th May, 2018 - 1:03am

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Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton produced a faultless drive to claim a convincing victory from Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas at the Spanish Grand Prix.

The pole-sitter was rarely troubled at the Circuit de Catalunya as he dominated the field to lead almost all of the 66 lap contest.

Hamilton converted his pole into a lead which he held through an opening lap Safety Car before marching into a comfortable advantage over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

After electing to pit only once in the race, the Brit led home Bottas by 20.5 seconds as Mercedes made the most of strong pace and smart strategy.

“Today I felt that synergy with the car that I haven’t felt all year,” said Hamilton, who opened up a 17 point championship lead over Vettel.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen secured the final podium spot while Vettel finished fourth after a two-stop strategy failed to yield the desired result.

“Yeah, because the advice was it was not an option to stay out,” said Vettel when asked if the strategy was the right call.

“We were going through the tyres quicker than the others, though obviously it looks different and looks wrong.”

Daniel Ricciardo endured a lonely day on his run to fifth position although the Australian did set the fastest lap.

Hamilton made no mistakes from pole as he led the field to Turn 1 while Vettel jumped Bottas for second spot by sweeping around the outside of the Mercedes.

However, carnage unfolded behind as Romain Grosjean (Haas F1) triggered a three-car incident that brought out the Safety Car.

Grosjean lost control through Turn 3 but decided to keep his foot in as he spun across the track, where he then collected the unsighted Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) and Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso), putting all three out of the race.

The incident was to be investigated by the stewards post-race.

Hamilton set a rapid pace once racing resumed as he posted a string of fastest laps to open up a comfortable lead over Vettel, Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen.

Vettel was the first of the leaders to blink by pitting for medium tyres on lap 17 as Ferrari tried the undercut.

The move failed as Hamilton continued his strong pace to emerge from the pits on lap 26 comfortably ahead in the effective lead, in between the long running Red Bulls of Verstappen and Ricciardo.

Further drama struck the Ferrari squad as Raikkonen suddenly slowed with an issue that saw him retire from the race.

The Red Bulls eventually took service almost 10 laps later as the team opted for a one stop strategy that saw Verstappen and Ricciardo rejoin on medium tyres in fourth and fifth.

This handed Hamilton a 10s lead over Vettel and Bottas with the former in the box seat for the race win.

Ferrari took a gamble when a Virtual Safety Car (VSC) period was deployed when Esteban Ocon (Force India) ground to a halt with an engine problem.

Vettel pitted for fresher medium tyres while the rest of the front runners stayed out.

The German dropped from second to fourth as he rejoined behind Verstappen, who was struggling for grip after he damaged his front wing following contact with the rear of Lance Stroll’s Williams under the VSC.

The fresher tyres failed to put Vettel in the fight as he found himself stuck behind Verstappen for the remainder of the race.

Meanwhile, Hamilton cruised to a second win of the season from Bottas and Verstappen.

Haas F1’s Kevin Magnussen came home in sixth ahead of Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jnr and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, who found himself locked in a battle with Sainz Jnr and Sauber’s Charles Leclerc for most of the race.

Force India’s Sergio Perez took ninth from Leclerc late on but the latter went on to claim the final championship point.

Brendon Hartley came from the back of the grid to 12th position as 14 cars reached the chequered flag after Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren) retired with a mechanical problem.

The championship heads to Monaco from May 24-27.

Result: Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix

Position Driver Car Laps Gap
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 66 1h35m29.972s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 66 20.593s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 66 26.873s
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 66 27.584s
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 66 50.058s
6 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 65 1 Lap
7 Carlos Sainz Renault 65 1 Lap
8 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 65 1 Lap
9 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 64 2 Laps
10 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 64 2 Laps
11 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 64 2 Laps
12 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 64 2 Laps
13 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 64 2 Laps
14 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 63 3 Laps
DNF Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 45 Retirement
DNF Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 38 Retirement
DNF Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 25 Retirement
DNF Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 0 Collision
DNF Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 0 Collision
DNF Nico Hulkenberg Renault 0 Collision

Championship Standings

Position Driver Points
1 Lewis Hamilton 95
2 Sebastian Vettel 78
3 Valtteri Bottas 58
4 Kimi Raikkonen 48
5 Daniel Ricciardo 47
6 Max Verstappen 33
7 Fernando Alonso 32
8 Nico Hulkenberg 22
9 Kevin Magnussen 19
10 Carlos Sainz 19
11 Sergio Perez 17
12 Pierre Gasly 12
13 Charles Leclerc 9
14 Stoffel Vandoorne 8
15 Lance Stroll 4
16 Marcus Ericsson 2
17 Esteban Ocon 1
18 Brendon Hartley 1
19 Romain Grosjean 0
20 Sergey Sirotkin 0

Constructors’ Standings

Position Constructor Points
1 Mercedes 153
2 Ferrari 126
3 Red Bull/Renault 80
4 Renault 41
5 McLaren/Renault 40
6 Haas/Ferrari 19
7 Force India/Mercedes 18
8 Toro Rosso/Honda 13
9 Sauber/Ferrari 11
10 Williams/Mercedes 4

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