Hamilton wins in Spain to go 17 points clear


This was the first time this year that Mercedes had dominated a weekend.

Vettel has fallen 17 points behind Lewis Hamilton after finishing fourth in Barcelona, though he was just a place behind the eventual race-winner before Ferrari pitted him again under the Virtual Safety Car.

Still, there are a lot of good signs for Ferrari.

Could Max Verstappen have won the race?

"Lewis was solidly in the lead in Melbourne and suddenly he was behind the Ferrari".

How did Mercedes turn it around?

It was the first time Mercedes showed the type of dominance many fans had grown used to seeing from the Silver Arrows in recent years.

"The team have been working very hard to understand the tyres and how the vehicle works, so I think it all came together this weekend".

"This is when we're going to start trying to continue to apply the pressure", Hamilton said. It's early to say but I hope it can be part of a turning point.

Nevertheless, Hamilton definitely made a decisive personal step forward in Spain. Vettel exited the pits behind Verstappen, and later that lap, Verstappen would crunch his front wing against Williams' Lance Stroll, who was later accused by Red Bull boss Christian Horner of driving too slowly. On the Super Soft tyre, Vettel was the first driver to dip into the 1min17sec-mark with a 1:16.8. This win was his 64th career victory and third in this circuit. I thought it would be a lot closer but I was much happier with the vehicle. That happiness and that uplift from inside that I have that feeling.

"But I got a good start and after that the others didn't have the pace to keep up with me".

Lewis Hamilton took six of the nine victories in Europe previous year to take a stranglehold on the championship, but although he is pleased with the result in Spain, Wolff said he is not getting overexcited just yet. However it came about.

"I am feeling really good in the vehicle at the moment".

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"For us it was not an option to stay out", he told Sky F1. "It looks different and it looks wrong, but from the inside I think it was the right thing to do".

All three retired on the spot, with Grosjean requiring precautionary medical checks due to the significance of forces in the crash. There were several theories floated for that.

Mercedes got the commanding victory it had been seeking all season.

Wolff said: "We have been pretty competitive in winter testing".

"Not to say that we know everything, we don't anything about engineering the vehicle, but we know how the cars feel, how to drive the cars, and their limitations to overtake". But there was no proof of that.

The German, victor of the season's first two races, had been second before coming in for a fresh set of tyres while Hamilton won with one stop from pole position.

"Today has been a rejuvenating experience", Hamilton said. "We were not quick enough". If we're not able to see that, we're more than blind, because we didn't have the pace in the first stint. Hamilton has two of those wins (2014 and 2017), as well as six overall podium finishes in 11 starts, and he is understandably the favorite to make it back-to-back this weekend.

No one will complain if these changes promote overtaking, but there is scepticism through the paddock that they will. You saw that it worked out for [Daniel] Ricciardo and Verstappen in Shanghai, I think this is what they were thinking. And he had to retire (from the race).

On Sunday, the German admitted: "No excuses - they were faster than us and beat us fair and square this time, but we can bounce back".

"This is more like it", Hamilton said on the team radio.

"The season so far has been positive for us". Our ambition needs to be that we're better off rather than worse off. "It is important these days to understand why and then you look back and understand what is missing in the preparation to the race". "Ferrari were sandbagging until this afternoon and Valtteri has been driving exceptionally well". "Anything can happen really, just like the last couple of races". We had a auto with a winning pace. This is hard to cope with and in the following races we struggled and all that adds up and was in all our minds.

"Probably in the short term, we all had updates for this race". We have had other priorities in the last few weeks.