F1 2018 Spanish Grand Prix: Could 2nd or 3rd have won?

Aubrey Yates
May 14, 2018

Hamilton's pole yesterday was three seconds quicker than his pole lap a year ago, though that pace will be surrendered in the doubtful pursuit of closer racing.

Title contender Sebastian Vettel could only manage fourth in a frustrating race for the German. Things didn't go almost as well for many other top drivers, though, as Valtteri Botas blew a tyre in the final stages, while Red Bull teammates Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen each failed to finish the race for the second time this season.

Haas-Ferrari's Kevin Magnussen, Renault F1's Carlos Sainz Jr, McLaren-Renault's Fernando Alonso, Force India-Mercedes' Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc of Alfa Romeo Sauber-Ferrari completed the top ten.

But the 33-year-old now sits 17 points clear of Sebastian Vettel at the top of the drivers' standings after winning by 20 seconds in Barcelona.

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.

"It will be close", he said.

The win was Hamilton's 41st from pole position, one more than the previous record he shared with retired seven times champion Schumacher. "It's a shame it's only four hundredths but for us as a team, ideal result today". "Now we want to get the one-two we deserved in Baku".

"It was feeling good until the end, when I looked up at the tower and my name did not go to the top". "Let's see what happens now tomorrow".

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"In Q3 in the first run I locked up a little bit into Turn 1, so the first sector was already slow", he explained.

In a processional race, where looming black clouds threatened rain that never materialised, the only major drama of note came at the start.

Red Bull will certainly be chuffed too, securing their third Spanish GP podium in a row, but Ferrari have plenty to think about after Raikkonen's DNF and a potential second-placed finish for Vettel slipping away.

Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley missed qualifying after a high-speed crash at Turn Nine in the closing minutes of final practice.

He will have to ask the race stewards for permission to take part in Sunday's race even if his vehicle is repaired and he can prove his fitness.

Verstappen was hampered by a damaged front wing after running into the rear of Lance Stroll's Williams when the VSC ended on Lap 42, but still had the pace to keep the Ferrari at bay.

But Ferrari's misjudgement saw Max Verstappen take advantage - despite an earlier coming together with Lance Stroll (him again) resulting in a virtual safety vehicle - to take his first podium of 2018 for Red Bull. 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.

Ferrari, unexpectedly, were pushed back to fifth and seventh.

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