Lewis Hamilton extends F1 championship lead with #SpanishGP victory

by Steven Clarke May 14, 2018, 4:56
Lewis Hamilton extends F1 championship lead with #SpanishGP victory

ESPN rounds up the main talking points from the Spanish Grand Prix, a race where Lewis Hamilton dominated from the opening lap to claim a second victory in 2018.

Hamilton converted his pole position into the lead while Vettel tucked in behind Bottas and used the slipstream to pass the Mercedes driver into Turn 1.

Hamilton coasted to back-to-back wins by a 20-second margin in Barcelona, leading home team-mate Valtteri Bottas on a superb afternoon for Mercedes made even better by Vettel's failure to make the podium. It capped off a disappointing afternoon for Ferrari, who saw Kimi Raikkonen retire after suffering a loss of power with a brand new engine which had been fitted to his auto on Saturday morning. Ferrari had a race to forget, with a poor strategy decision dropping Sebastian Vettel to fourth despite running second early on. "I felt really comfortable in the auto".

But Mercedes, who pitted some 10 laps earlier than the two Red Bulls, managed their tyres to the finish, while Vettel's hopes were futher dashed by his own slow second stop under the virtual safety vehicle.

Vettel was triumphant at the Monaco Grand Prix previous year and will be desperate to prevail again as he looks to close the gap to Hamilton in the championship standings. "It's a shame it's only four hundredths but for us as a team, ideal result today". Vettel, meanwhile, lost ground to Hamilton and is now 17 points adrift.

"I'm almost in it [the groove], I think".

At the front of the race, Vettel's move on Bottas from the start line was the key move, but the main first-lap action took place behind the front-runners.

Haas-Ferrari's Kevin Magnussen, Renault F1's Carlos Sainz Jr, McLaren-Renault's Fernando Alonso, Force India-Mercedes' Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc of Alfa Romeo Sauber-Ferrari completed the top ten. Ricciardo cut under the 1:19 mark on lap 61, but it meant little to the Australian, in a lonely P5.

Grosjean, who struggled throughout the weekend and had crashed behind the safety vehicle in Azerbaijan, failed to stop his auto from spinning across the track on Turn 3 and Hulkenberg and Gasly could not avoid colliding with him.

Cleanup required a safety auto, extending the streak of safety vehicle (or virtual safety car) appearances to five this season. "I had no idea how the race was going to play out". "A one-two for the team; we've got our Mercedes board with us who have been supporting us from day one, so it's great to have them here and just see that true force within the team".

The next F1 round is the Monaco Grand Prix on May 27. McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne also retired because of a vehicle failure, as did Esteban Ocon with Force India. This is hard to cope with and in the following races we struggled and all that adds up and was in all our minds.

While the podium sitters could not have done any better, Ferrari will be left wondering what might have happened had they not pitted Vettel under the virtual safety vehicle.


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