Warm weather gave me the win: Hamilton

16 May, 2018, 15:15 | Author: Judy Cobb
  • F1 Raceweek Hamilton primed to extend championship lead

Hamilton clocked in with a time of one hour, 35 minutes and 29.972 seconds at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, over 20 seconds ahead of fellow Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas of Finland, reports Efe.

He had won in Bahrain and in the season-opener in Australia, when he wasn't as dominant as Hamilton but took advantage of a safety vehicle to win on race strategy.

It also set a record, one that Hamilton had previously shared with seven times champion Michael Schumacher, of 41 wins from pole position. "This weekend, definitely we got ourselves onto the right path and I think the team just did an exceptional job, managing all aspects and improving in all areas".

So, while Sunday's result will be hugely encouraging to Hamilton and Mercedes, it should not be taken as an indication that the team will dominate from here on in.

"I'm really happy. I said I wanted to come and win in the way that I have won".

"I am much happier with the vehicle". I think that showed in my face.

It was the first one-two of the season for Mercedes, which had been slower than Ferrari in the past few races.

"We couldn't make the tyres last, so for us it was clear we come in again".

Hamilton now leads in the championship by 17 points over Vettel, with the team 27 points over its Italian rivals in the constructors' championship.

"Even in the end, with the fresher set, I wasn't able to attack", he added.

Even if one were to assume that two-stopping was Ferrari's strategy for Vettel's race, it wouldn't be too hard to think that they were more foolhardy than fearless.

"During the whole weekend it has been tough to find the right balance on these new tires, but I see no reason for not being optimistic for the next race", Vettel said.

After edging out Bottas for pole, Hamilton roared off the line to retain his lead on the 200mph charge to the opening bend, while Vettel got the jump on Bottas after a gutsy move around the outside of the Finn.

Vettel's teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, also struggled in the Spanish GP, having to retire because of a loss of power near the halfway-point.

Verstappen and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo were promoted to first and third respectively, with Red Bull opting to run their drivers on a longer opening stint. McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne also retired because of a auto failure. He said, "It feels nice to be on the podium and nice to have a good clean race".

Max Verstappen scored his first podium of the season despite yet another driver error during the race when he tapped Lance Stroll's right rear tyre while under Virtual Safety Car conditions.

Vettel had pitted when the virtual safety vehicle was deployed to slow the field, something that had played in his favour at previous races.

Only 14 of the 20 starters completed the race after a major high-speed crash on the opening lap, triggered by a spin from Frenchman Romain Grosjean's Haas auto, and a sequence of retirements. Force India's Sergio Perez's scored two points for his team in 9th, while Charles Leclerc continued his momentum from Baku to finish 10th, adding one more point to Sauber's tally.

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