Spanish Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton triumphs in dominant display


When he jumped out of his auto to celebrate Mercedes' first one-two victory of the season, Valtteri Bottas looked back at his front tyres to see there was nearly no rubber left on the carcass.

Hamilton may have needed a huge stroke of luck to clinch his first victory of the season last time out in Baku - but it was all down to him and a superior auto in Barcelona.

"I couldn't have done it without this incredibly team", Hamilton said post-race.

"Today the vehicle and myself, I felt that synergy which I hadn't been feeling for the whole year", said Hamilton as he celebrated his 64th career win.

After a hard start to the season Verstappen could not even buy a trouble-free race and he lost some front wing after clipping the Williams of Lance Stroll on the restart after the VSC, although he was able to continue without stopping again.

"We got through all our running and were quite fast compared to previous years", Hamilton said.

Sebastian Vettel, who trails Hamilton by four points in the drivers' standings, kept Ferrari close in the morning session, but Red Bull was the main challenger to Mercedes in the afternoon.

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Really, it's a " win the Champions League or lose your job" situation, one that is ultra intense. The club from the French capital is not a member of that exclusive elite club of European clubs.

However he remained cautious. "It's important for me to get back into a good position in qualifying, it's usually a strength of mine". The team did an exceptional job.

"I don't know what happened. I've not had pole for a while", Hamilton said. I wouldn't say I had flawless synergy but close.

Hulkenberg said: "I got crashed into - Romain spun, came back into the track. Coming across the line, I'm happy I did it in the way I planned to".

Whether it marks a definitive shift in form at the front, where Ferrari had until this weekend appeared to have the fastest vehicle of the year, remains to be seen.

What did Hamilton think of the turnaround? I think now he has put all these things behind him and had a good weekend and this is what racing drivers need.

"All the compounds lasted a lot longer than we ever expected".

"I would say you could say a small percentage of it was the track. We still need to add performance to the vehicle throughout the year, so that's what we're going to be continuing to be working on".

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A call from Madrid will require no convincing as this move would guarantee a Champions League spot next season for the Belgian. There were chants in support of manager Rafa Benitez and an incredible Wor Flags banner in the Gallowgate End.

Most teams brought significant updates to their cars as F1 returned to Europe after races in Australia, Bahrain, China and Azerbaijan.

"Third, I think it was a poor weekend in terms of reliability".

Hamilton is a two-time victor of this race and the defending champion.

In cooler conditions, the session was brought to an early conclusion when New Zealander Brendon Hartley lost control of his Toro Rosso vehicle at Turn Nine and spun violently into the barriers.

"We couldn't make the tyres last, so for us it was clear we come in again. We had pickup and a little bit of a flat spot so we had a disgusting vibration, which looked a bit grim, but Lewis at the front was really outstanding".

Hamilton pulled away early and was able to comfortably control the pace of the race through to the end, finishing more than 20 seconds ahead of his teammate.

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