Spanish GP: Lewis Hamilton wins to increase F1 title lead

Monday, 14 May, 2018

Hamilton put in a dominant performance at the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday, winning easily and showing Ferrari that Mercedes remains the team to beat in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas made it a Mercedes one-two ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Raikkonen reported some auto problems on Lap 25 and found himself limping back to the pits to retire from the race on Lap 27.

Vettel, who won three straight poles, will start third, followed by Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen. I wouldn't say I had ideal synergy but close.

Sebastian Vettel has backed Ferrari's strategy at the Spanish GP despite losing two places through a second pit-stop, insisting the team had "no option" but to differ from their rivals.

This marks Verstappen's first podium of the 2018 season.

His team boss Toto Wolff suggested some of the reason for Hamilton's upturn in form may also have been psychological, following his victory in Baku.

Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix was destined to be full of turmoil from before it began, courtesy of rain overnight that cut grip levels at Circuit de Catalunya.

"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". Vettel, meanwhile, lost ground to Hamilton and is now 17 points adrift.

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The win was Hamilton's 41st from pole position, one more than the previous record he shared with retired seven times champion Schumacher.

The safety vehicle has helped add to the drama of the early part of the 2018 season and its appearance early in Sunday's race means it has been used in the opening five races of a championship for the first time. "We expected Mercedes to be strong".

Australian Daniel Ricciardo was fifth within the second Crimson Bull forward of Dane Kevin Magnussen of Haas.

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

In total, six cars failed to finish. It was gutsy, especially after the criticism they received after failing to take advantage of the safety vehicle to pit Hamilton in China.

The safety car's appearance was brought about by a huge crash that saw Nico Hulkenberg and Pierre Gasly wiped out by a spinning Romain Grosjean on the opening lap.

"I was trying to go for every sector record", he laughed.

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. There is... race by race we're understanding the tires more, which is a bit battle for everyone. The thinner tread on the rubber Pirelli have supplied this weekend in response to the blistering during testing in Barcelona certainly seemed to work to their advantage and the same type of tyres will be used at the French and British grands prix.

After another incident on Lap 44, Esteban Ocon retired after Verstappen went into the back of his auto, while McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne lost power on his vehicle and was also forced to retire.