Hamilton wins Spanish GP, strengthens lead in F1 standings

Spanish Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG F1 W09

Spanish Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG F1 W09

He was at his very best in Melbourne but was then, by his own admission, off-colour in Bahrain, China and even Baku despite his victory.

The win was Hamilton's 41st from pole position, one more than the previous record he shared with retired seven times champion Schumacher. He wasn't fast enough to keep pace with Hamilton up front but looked quick enough to at least secure second place.

"I was comfortable and at no point did I feel like I was going to lose it, but I was pushing every single lap using it as a test bench to understand what I liked about the balance and how can I play with it more and how can I squeeze more out of it and do all sorts to understand what more I can get from".

Hamilton roared off his marks 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 Mercedes.

"But then of course there's always a part of me not happy being second because I want to win races - but it's still a long year ahead and, I'm a racer but I'm also a team player. Coming across the line, I'm happy I did it in the way I planned to". I think that showed in my face [as he celebrated after winning].

Hamilton, who won on the same circuit past year, strengthened his lead in the 2018 driver standings with 95 points, 17 points ahead of second-placed Vettel.

The poor results by Vettel and Raikkonen dropped Ferrari behind Mercedes at the top of the constructors' championship.

In fact, after winning the first two races of the season, Vettel has failed to finish on the podium.

The safety vehicle has helped add to the drama of the early part of the 2018 season and its appearance early in Sunday's race means it has been used in the opening five races of a championship for the first time.

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"We couldn't make the tyres last, so for us it was clear we come in again". I think it was the right thing to do. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) + 20.593, 3.

Assessing what this victory means going forward is difficult as Barcelona has always been a strong track for Mercedes, mostly because of the use of harder tyres which suit their vehicle more than Ferrari and Red Bull.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen came third, followed by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel of Germany in fourth. McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne also retired because of a vehicle failure.

The German was second until he took an ill-judged second pit-stop, under Virtual Safety Car conditions, midway through the race, dropping two places.

"It felt good. It was the closest I've been to feeling it is all going right, but there are still things that are not quite ideal".

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

Further down the order, Kevin Magnussen put Haas back in the "best of the rest" position after team-mate Romain Grosjean span on the opening lap, and both Spanish heroes finished inside the points.

Mexican Sergio Perez was ninth for Force India and Monegasque rookie Charles Leclerc took the final point for Sauber.

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