Ricciardo's woes continue as Hamilton wins Spanish GP

Alicia Farmer
May 16, 2018

Finn Valtteri Bottas came home second ahead of Dutchman Max Verstappen of Red Bull who resisted late pressure from four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, who led Hamilton by 17 points after the opening three races this year.

"I would say you could say a small percentage of it was the track". But inside the vehicle, we were going through the tyres too quick and therefore we were not able to stay out for another 23 laps.

Mercedes F1 team principal Toto Wolff says that his team is back in business after watching drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas score a flawless one-two finsh at the Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday. One revolved around a change in the tyres for this race, Pirelli choosing to bring tyres with a thinner tread depth to avoid the blistering some teams suffered from in pre-season testing. "A one-two for the team; we've got our Mercedes board with us who have been supporting us from day one, so it's great to have them here and just see that true force within the team". "People probably think it was an easy race and I was cruising but I wasn't cruising".

Lewis Hamilton took six of the nine victories in Europe previous year to take a stranglehold on the championship, but although he is pleased with the result in Spain, Wolff said he is not getting overexcited just yet.

"In many ways, this is a weekend in which nothing went right", team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said. The team has worked so hard to understand how the auto and the tyres work.

"That feeling that I'm going to sleep like a baby tonight, because I know I've done my job this weekend to the maximum and I didn't leave anything on the table, there's no better feeling".

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No one will complain if these changes promote overtaking, but there is scepticism through the paddock that they will.

With Vettel some way off Hamilton's pace and Kimi Raikkonen forced into retirement by an engine problem, the biggest challenge to Mercedes threatened to come from Red Bull's decision to adopt a one-stop strategy. And this is all the more threatening to rivals because the Circuit de Catalunya is arguably the most representative circuit visited so far this season.

Lewis Hamilton plans to look back at his emphatic victory in Spain as the turning point that fired him to a fifth Formula One world championship.

He now has 95 points to Vettel's 78 after five rounds of the 21-race championship.

"Overall it has been a decent weekend, we just need to understand for tires what to do". We didn't have winning pace today, that's why we didn't win. On top of that, we had different tyres that maybe suited others better than us. The bottom line is we were not quick enough to win and that's what needs to be addressed. With 16th, 13th, 17th and 15th place finishes in his first four races, it has not been a bright start to the season for the Haas driver. Poor reliability. Those look remarkably like some of the reasons why Ferrari ultimately failed to win the championship past year.

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