Sports

F1-Spanish GP-Vettel

F1-Spanish GP-Vettel

While Hamilton continued to lead the Spanish GP, Bottas and Vettel switched places just before the safety vehicle was called with the latter now two seconds behind Hamilton.

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton has emerged victor of the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona ahead of teammates Valteri Bottas and Red Bull's Max Verstappen. Vettel got off to a great start this season, winning the first two races, but his fortunes have changed for the worse.

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 USA events.Hamilton did.

Vettel, who now trails Hamilton by 17 points in the drivers' standings, was only fourth after a slow pit stop. Mercedes have not been able to get the most from their vehicle since the opening round in Melbourne and have been repeatedly out-paced by Ferrari.

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

"But it took everything from us to get this result, and to get a one-two in qualifying is fantastic". It appeared as though Mercedes was about to take the position back, with Bottas setting a series of purple sector times - indicating the quickest of the race to that point - on the next two laps, but a tardy stop saw him emerge just behind the four-time world champion.

Vettel won in Australia and Bahrain, while Ricciardo was first in China. Vettel was left to fend off Bottas.

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"Ferrari was probably sandbagging just because they could, they've always had a very quick auto".

But Vettel struggled with tire wear and Ferrari chose to bring him in for an extra stop. Logic would tell you that the faster tyre is the better option, but Ferrari, like Red Bull, believed that the Soft tyre would give them better performance. Verstappen lost his left side wing endplate, which flew off the vehicle once on the pit straight, and into the Force India of Sergio Perez.

That was perhaps no more evident than at the Spanish Grand Prix where Vettel fell from the podium after a qualifying position of third to finish fourth - although Ferrari themselves took the brunt of the blame from fans.

"I think, as a team, this weekend we have been ideal, and we just need to continue like that and for me also the wins are going to come", Bottas said. Looking to tomorrow, I think we will be strong on race pace. Vettel's teammate Kimi Raikkonen was forced to retire his Ferrari with an engine problem on lap 25.

Asked by Autosport just how important the Barcelona pole was to him in light of his recent form, he said: "We've had one pole, we haven't really had great qualifying sessions after that, so it was important for me to get back into a good position with qualifying, as it is usually a strength of mine". "There is nothing we could have done differently today, but we need to try and keep pushing". The safety yielded control of the race to Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton at the end of lap six, but pursuing Vettel stumbled, losing a chance to attack Hamilton on the pit straight.

"For tomorrow though I think we should be in the mix". But today we had them working.


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