Lewis eases to Spain win as Ferrari blunders on strategy

Lewis eases to Spain win as Ferrari blunders on strategy

While Hamilton won in Baku, his dominant performance in winning from pole position in Barcelona leaves the championship leader confident Mercedes will be able to maintain that level.

He took pole position in qualifying in a Mercedes lockout of the front row, and was never seriously challenged from the moment the race began. Kimi (Raikkonen, Vettel's team-mate) had an issue with the engine (on Saturday) and had to change it. "I felt really comfortable in the auto".

Some observers were sceptical of this explanation, but Wolff said Mercedes, too, were experiencing heavier than expected tyre wear - and in fact had brought forward Hamilton's only pit stop as a result of discovering at Bottas' stop that his tyres were nearly worn out.

Ricciardo was the first of the Red Bulls to pit on lap 34 with Verstappen coming in a lap later, the team committing to a one-stop strategy.

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes are now properly settled in to the 2018 Grand Prix season - and it's showing. "I don't think it affected me too much", Verstappen said.

The result sees Hamilton stretch his lead at the top of the drivers' standings to 17 points after five races. That is another positive but I think not every win doesn't feel as great as that one does. "I would like to hope it could be part of the turning point".

Force India's Sergio Perez finished in P9 with Sauber's Charl LeClerc in P10.

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Australian Daniel Ricciardo was fifth in the second Red Bull ahead of Dane Kevin Magnussen of Haas and Spaniards Carlos Sainz, of Renault, and two-time champion Fernando Alonso, of McLaren. That could be a disadvantage for the McLaren driver as the stint wears on, but from eighth on the grid he will have more grip at the start and a good chance of making up positions on the long run down to Turn 1. "We expected Mercedes to be strong".

In total, six cars failed to finish.

Verstappen flies with clipped wing: Despite losing his front wing endplate in a collision with Stroll following a Virtual Safety Car, Verstappen looked incredibly racey in the final few laps.

"If you look from outside it's easier, but inside the auto, we were going through the tyres too quick".

Vertappen held off Vettel for a first podium finish of the season despite damaging a front wing when he ran into Lance Stroll's Williams after the virtual safety auto restart. Bottas had done enough on track to move back ahead of the Ferrari only for a sticky rear tyre to contribute to a slow stop and leave Vettel running ahead. The thinner tread on the rubber Pirelli have supplied this weekend in response to the blistering during testing in Barcelona certainly seems to work to their advantage and the same type of tyres will be used at the French and British grands prix.

After another incident on Lap 44, Esteban Ocon retired after Verstappen went into the back of his auto, while McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne lost power on his vehicle and was also forced to retire.

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