November 20, 2018

Hamilton wins in Spain to go 17 points clear

15 May 2018, 11:09 | Pamela Mathis

AFP GETTYLewis Hamilton gears up for the Spanish Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton

It was the 64th victory of his career - only Michael Schumacher on 91 has more - and came from his 74th pole. We thought there would be no way to do a one stop or we could do it but it would be a lot slower than a two stop. "You can only take it one race at a time", he said.

"We got a fair beating this weekend", he said. The team did an exceptional job.

"I don't know what happened. So I hope we can continue". "I believe it is about having a auto that does what you want, drives like you expect it to drive", he said. I think it didn't change too much. I thought it would be a lot closer but I was much happier with the vehicle.

The defending, four-time World champion dominated from start to finish, save for a spell during the mid-race pit-stops, and clocked a series of record laps as he registered his second successive win.

As a potential explanation for the lack of pace, Vettel added that perhaps Ferrari's upgrades for Spain had not been as significant as those of other teams. The German driver is now 17 points behind Hamilton in the Drivers' Championship despite being 17 points ahead in Bahrain (only three races ago).

Drivers championship (top five): 1.

"I'm really, really happy", said Hamilton.

Vettel said sticking to a one-stop like the Mercedes cars had was "not an option" for him given Ferrari's higher tyre wear. He has won more thrilling races in the past and will do so in the future.

"We couldn't make the tyres last so for us", said Vettel.

"I think with the strong vehicle we had today there would've been opportunities later". Obviously, if you look from the outside it's easy. "This is when we are going to start applying some pressure. Even in the end, with the fresher set, I wasn't able to attack", he added.

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

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While that was all going on, Lewis Hamilton had taken the lead from pole position with Sebastian Vettel going around the outside of Valtteri Bottas to slide into second.

"So I was just trying to keep it alive even though it was risky when there is nothing left". Our ambition needs to be that we're better off rather than worse off.

When the safety vehicle went in on Lap 7, he then streaked away from Vettel in second, setting multiple lap records, and was able to take his only pit stop eight laps later than the German with no concerns of being leapfrogged.

The other issue for Ferrari was their unreliability.

First, Kimi Raikkonen slowed from fourth position and coaxed his vehicle back into the pits to retire - the Finn had taken a new engine after Friday practice. Kimi Raikkonen was fourth ahead of the Red Bulls. The 37-year-old was sitting behind Hamilton in second on lap 26 when he experienced trouble with the auto and was subsequently overtaken by both Red Bull drivers and fell into 17th.

Hamilton pitted from the lead coming out in second place behind Max Verstappen and in front of Daniel Ricciardo. "It's important for me to get back into a good position in qualifying, it's usually a strength of mine".

Vettel explained that Ferrari had little option than to pit again, as the Prancing Horse simply could not use the tyres as efficiently as Mercedes and Red Bull.

For the first time this season, he felt truly at one with the vehicle. Kevin Magnussen had a lonely afternoon as he finished in sixth place, best of the rest for Haas.

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. Aside from the points, Leclerc's biggest competition this season will be to overshadow 27-year-old Ericsson, who has spent four more years in the sport. However, it was Grosjean's stubbornness to off the throttle while spinning that caused the first lap mayhem in the race. The unfortunate victims of Grosjean's spin were Nico Hulkenberg and Pierre Gasly.

And finally, it wasn't only a Ferrari power unit that suffered troubles. For the Spanish Grand Prix however, Bottas followed Hamilton home to claim Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport's first one-two of the year.

But a sluggish stop saw Vettel, who had been running second, drop to fourth. 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. Second, the ever-increasing gap between the teams.

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