05/14 2018



Hamilton wins by 20 seconds; just five cars finish on the lead lap


Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton cruised to an easy victory in the F1 Spanish Grand Prix as he recorded back-to-back wins for the first time since the 2017 Formula 1 Japanese and U.S. events.

Hamilton did his best to make the whole thing look rather straightforward — OK, easy —  as he dominated from lights to flag, taking the record for pole-to-win conversions for himself. It was a record 41st lights-to-pole victory, breaking Michael Schumacher’s record of 40 such conversions.

Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas was second, a distant 20.593 seconds behind. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, 26.873 seconds behind Hamilton. Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo finished 4-5 and were the only other drivers to finish on the lead lap.

“I couldn’t have done it without this incredible team,” said Hamilton. “These guys have done a really amazing job and I’m just incredibly proud of everyone. Today the car and myself, I felt that synergy today which I hadn’t been feeling for the whole year, so it’s a good feeling.

 “This is when we’re going to start trying to continue to apply the pressure. A one-two for the team. We’ve got the Mercedes board with us who have been supporting us from day one so it’s great to have them all here and just see that true force within the team, the strength in depth so I hope we can continue.”

Bottas held his qualifying position to finish second. Having lost second to Vettel on the run down to the first corner, Ferrari opted for a two-stop strategy when a virtual safety car allowed the team to throw on a fresh set of medium rubber onto the car, handing back the position.

Unable to pull back the gap, and with a distinct lap of pace in the car, Vettel never reaped the rewards hoped and, thanks to a slow stop, dropped out of podium contention, with Verstappen also passing him during the stop.

Late concern over fuel levels meant that Bottas had to lift and coast more than he would have liked but ultimately, it had no affect on the end result and the Finn completed a calendar year of classified finishes.

“Well of course, I wanted to fight for the win of the race today but as a team it was so good, the race,” said Bottas. “We had such a good car. The team was so reactive today with the strategy. I never believed we could do a one-stop, but we could, so for that I am happy.

“As a team, this weekend we have been perfect. We just need to continue like that and for me also the wins will come.”

Having dropped points to Hamilton in both China and Azerbaijan as well as the championship lead in the latter, Vettel will be frustrated that the gamble of a two-stop strategy failed to pay off and dropped him further back from the championship lead. Vettel sits second in the points, 17 points behind Hamilton.

Bottas is third in the standings, 37 points back of Hamilton.

“Yeah (pitting was the right decision) because for us really it was not an option to stay out,” said Vettel. “We were going through the tires quicker than the others today so obviously it looks different and looks wrong but from the inside I think it was the right thing to do.

“I think overall we were a little bit quicker (than Red Bull), our tires were fresher as well but I think as the laps went on, we just didn’t have enough pace. Simple as that. He (Verstappen) was doing more or less the same (lap time) and we’re just not quick enough and even at the end, I was not in healthy shape with the tires despite the fact that mine were the freshest.”

The race had gotten of to a lively start as Romain Grosjean spun his Haas F1 Team car, setting of a chain reaction which saw Nico Hulkenberg and Pierre Gasly join him on the sidelines at turn three but, from that moment on there was little to write home about. After three action-packed Grands Prix, the Spanish Grand Prix wasn’t one that will live long in the memory.

F1 Spanish Grand Prix Results

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport  
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 20.593
3 Max Verstappen Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 26.873
4 Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari 27.584
5 Daniel Ricciardo Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 50.058
6 Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 Team +1 Lap
7 Carlos Sainz Renault Sport Formula One Team +1 Lap
8 Fernando Alonso McLaren F1 Team +1 Lap
9 Sergio Perez Sahara Force India F1 Team +2 Laps
10 Charles Leclerc Alfa Romeo SauberF1 Team +2 Laps
11 Lance Stroll Williams Martini Racing +2 Laps
12 Brendon Hartley Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda +2 Laps
13 Marcus Ericsson Alfa Romeo SauberF1 Team +2 Laps
14 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Martini Racing +3 Laps
15 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren F1 Team DNF
16 Esteban Ocon Sahara Force India F1 Team DNF
17 Kimi Raikkonen Scuderia Ferrari DNF
18 Nico Hulkenberg Renault Sport Formula One Team DNF
19 Pierre Gasly Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda DNF
20 Romain Grosjean Haas F1 Team DNF