Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Sport | By Ruben Hill

Lewis Hamilton calls Spanish GP victory 'a rejuvenating experience'

Lewis Hamilton calls Spanish GP victory 'a rejuvenating experience'

Arriving in Spain, Ferrari boasted the grid's most complete package, but Hamilton's display was a return to the Mercedes of old with Valtteri Bottas following his team-mate home to secure the world champions their first one-two finish of the campaign.

Hamilton was never challenged on the way to his 41st win from pole position, surpassing a record he shared with seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.

When racing resumed Vettel was first of the leading group to pit but the Mercedes pair stayed out on what turned out to be a one-stop strategy, with Hamilton immediately smashing the lap record.

"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".

"I am much happier with the auto". "People probably think it was an easy race and I was cruising but I wasn't cruising".

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

Mercedes has struggled compared to Ferrari at times this season, with Sebastian Vettel winning the opening two races and taking three consecutive pole positions as the Scuderia had a more consistent vehicle.

The safety auto 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.

Hamilton's championship lead now stands at 17 points. "Even in the end, with the fresher set I wasn't able to attack until the end", he added.

"Today we just didn't have the right pace, Mercedes was faster than us and we hadn't many chances", Vettel said.

"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. On the soft tyres, Vettel could manage 4 laps fewer (20 in total) than Alonso who managed 24 laps on his super soft.

Vettel's teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, also struggled in the Spanish GP, having to retire because of a loss of power near the halfway-point. This was the second time in the last five races that only one Ferrari vehicle reached the finish line.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen came third, followed by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel of Germany in fourth. He said, "It feels nice to be on the podium and nice to have a good clean race".

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.

Later in the race Verstappen was running fourth when he clipped his front wing on a Williams under the virtual safety vehicle, but the damage was not significant and he didn't have to make an extra stop. His finish helped Haas jump up to 6th place with 19 points, one ahead of Force India.

After an embarrassing crash under the Safety Car in Baku, Romain Grosjean caused further embarrassment for himself when he spun on the opening lap after his car got destabilised in the dirty air of Magnussen who was ahead of him.

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

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