Supreme Lewis Hamilton wins Spanish Grand Prix to extend championship lead

Hamilton had made a slow start to his title defence and his first win of the season, in Azerbaijan last month, owed much to luck, but the Briton believes he is finally in tune with his vehicle. While Hamilton continued to lead the Spanish GP, Bottas and Vettel switched places just before the safety vehicle was called with the latter now two seconds behind Hamilton.

"I kept going. It was not bad".

Soon it became just one Ferrari in the hunt for a podium finish as Kimi Raikkonen was forced to retire with mechanical issues. I know it sounds weird but today is the closest I think I've been but there are still areas that weren't quite ideal.

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.

The Dutchman managed to keep his nose clean - well, nearly as he lost a part of his front wing towards the end of the 66-lap race - and make up for the incidents that had brought scrutiny to his driving style. If the conditions remain cold - air temperature was just 11C for this morning's Formula 2 race - Alonso will have the benefit of starting on a lower working range tyre than his rivals in the top ten that should means he has more grip right from the start of the race.

"I'm almost in it [the groove], I think".

"I've been racing a long time so to still have that feeling when you do have that win, and that happiness and that uplift inside (is special)", he said. "We let him down in Melbourne and that stays in your mind and now he has put these things behind him and had a very good weekend". If we don't see those, there are no excuses.

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The victory bodes well for Mercedes for the rest of the season as the performances in Barcelona - where most teams bring significant vehicle updates - usually set the tone for the rest of the races on the European portion of the calendar.

As a potential explanation for the lack of pace, Vettel added that perhaps Ferrari's upgrades for Spain had not been as significant as those of other teams.

Esteban Ocon and Stoffel Vandoorne joined the list of retirees after both slowing to a halt during the race, both of which appeared to be related to a loss of power from their respective Mercedes and Renault engines. We had a auto with a winning pace.

"And we debated it today again and based on the experience we made of struggling to overtake Max, for us it was clear that track position was more important".

"Probably in the short term, we all had updates for this race". Alonso would have been helped by having softer tyres at the Safety Car restart, but it still required bravery and skill to make a move stick around the outside of the fastest corner on the track. The bottom line is we were not quick enough to win and that's what needs to be addressed.

A lack of pace after a promising start to the season. And they need to stop the rot - if that is what it is - sharpish.


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