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Hamilton wins Spanish GP, strengthens lead in F1 standings

16 May, 2018, 15:15 | Author: Drew Briggs
  • Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG F1 with team mate Valtteri Bottas Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton seemed to suggest his Formula 1 career still has plenty of distance left to cover after taking a dominant victory at the Spanish Grand Prix this past Sunday.

The win was Hamilton's 41st from pole position, one more than the previous record he shared with retired seven times champion Schumacher. "We had problems finding the right balance of the vehicle and we were struggling with the front tires".

It was the first one-two of the season for Mercedes, which had been slower than Ferrari in the past few races.

Mercedes regained the lead in the constructors' standings and are now 27 points clear of Ferrari who had 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen retire from the race. "This weekend, definitely we got ourselves onto the right path and I think the team just did an exceptional job, managing all aspects and improving in all areas. Strength in depth. I hope it can continue". "Race by race, we can understand the tyres more, which is a battle for everyone". The journey to it is why it feels unique on its own but that is encouraging for me because I've been racing a long time so to still have that feeling when I have that win. But inside the auto, 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". "I came into the box maybe a bit hot - well, cold with the tyres - and overshot the position", he explained. I think it was the right thing to do.

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. They changed but they changed for everyone. McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne also retired because of a vehicle failure.

Vettel was called in for a second stop under the virtual safety auto as Ferrari looked to make gains with the rest of the field speed-restricted.

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"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 flawless. It's important we continue to push and work as hard as we have been".

Out came the safety auto with Hamilton then executing a masterful restart to leave Vettel for dust before establishing a comfortable cushion over his rival.

Spanish driver and local hero Fernando Alonso finished seventh after a spirited drive, also pulling off the best overtaking manoeuvre of the race, when he raced past Esteban Ocon on the outside of the fast and sweeping Turn 3.

Only 14 of the 20 starters completed the race after a major high-speed crash on the opening lap, triggered by a spin from Frenchman Romain Grosjean's Haas auto, and a sequence of retirements.

Bottas claimed his first Spanish Grand Prix podium, while Verstappen's race was compromised late on when he damaged his front wing running into the back of Williams' Lance Stroll.

Mexican Sergio Perez was ninth for Force India and Monegasque rookie Charles Leclerc took the final point for Sauber.

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