Lewis Hamilton put in a dominating drive to take back to back wins after holding off his teammate Valtteri Bottas to take a second win at the Spanish Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver looked to control the race start, as he built the lead from then on.
Hamilton’s second win of the season has allowed him to open the gap to seventeen points over Sebastian Vettel in the championship. Vettel had jumped Bottas at the start, but when he stopped behind the safety car he lost five seconds and lost out to Bottas and Vettel.
After a difficult start to the season, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finish on the podium for the first time this season. The Dutchman looked to have blown it once again, after a collision with Lance Stroll following a Virtual Safety Car period, but the damage to his front wing did not seem to seriously jeopardise his race from that point.
Hamilton said: “The car and myself, I felt that synergy that I hadn’t been feeling all year. This is when we are going to start trying to apply the pressure. A one-two for the team. Strength in depth.”
Bottas added “ Of course I wanted to fight for the win today but as a team, it was a good race. We had such a good car and the team was so reactive with strategy. As a team this weekend we have been perfect. For me, the wins will come.”
Mercedes have been the surprise this weekend, after struggling in testing since Friday the team has dominated and that allowed the Englishman to take pole yesterday and dominate the race. More answers to as why Mercedes have turned it around are likely to come in next week’s third test at the circuit.
There will be questions for Ferrari about why they switched Vettel onto the two stop. Everyone else remained on the one-stop, however, Ferrari decided to bring the German in on lap forty-two, behind the virtual safety car.
He emerged from it behind Verstappen and was ultimately unable to get close enough to the Dutchman to try and pass. It looks as if Ferrari were trying to respond to the threat from Verstappen during the closing stages, that threat was gone as Verstappen got ahead.
It was a low key afternoon from Daniel Ricciardo on his way to fifth, the Red Bull driver who set a number of laps records to finish ahead of the Haas of Kevin Magnussen. Magnussen’s result was Haas’s best result since Bahrain.
His teammate Romain Grosjean triggered a series of incidents at the start of the race, which saw him retire. The Frenchman went into a spin on the way through Turn Three, before keeping his foot down.
That causes Renaults Nico Hulkenberg to take avoiding action, but he then caught the rear of the Haas pushing the Frenchman into the back of Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly after losing the rear.
The Spanish Armada pulled of great racing as the fought through the tight midfield to finish seventh and eighth, with Carlos Sainz ahead of Fernando Alonso. The McLaren Driver was forced to recover ground, after losing ground trying to avoid the incident at the first corner.
After the race, Grosjean explained “I lost the rear end of the car tried to get the position back, but it didn’t work. If I had braked, the car would have spun the same way. It is quite a normal human reflex (to keep accelerating), once the car went on to the track it was very difficult.”
Sergio Perez finished ninth ahead of Sauber’s Charles Leclerc, the Monacan again showing his skills, which saw him claim last seasons Formula Two championship.
Leclerc told Sky Sports: “I’m very happy there are still things I could have done better. P10, but before the weekend we thought top 15 would be difficult to get. We had a very good start, a great start for once.”
“I’m obviously very happy with the start of the season I have learned a lot the last two races have been very positive for us now we will work to achieve more.”
The circuit still caught several drivers out throughout the race, with Williams rookie Sergey Sirotkin spinning out after a long period of driving slowly at VSC pace.
Esteban Ocon and Stoffel Vandoorne joined the list of retirements after both slowing to a halt during the race. Both appeared to be related to a loss of power from their respective Mercedes and Renault engines.
- Notebook – Spanish Qualifying
- Spanish GP – Qualifying Result
- SPANISH GP – Hamilton beats Bottas to pole by four hundredths as Vettel unable to improve
- Notebook – Spanish Practice
- SPANISH GP – Hamilton tops times in a windy second practice by a tenth
- SPANISH GP – Bottas fastest after an incident-packed first practice
- Prixview – Spanish Grand Prix
- Data Profile – Spanish Grand Prix