Mercedes tyre fix put Hamilton back in business

Spanish Grand Prix

Hamilton claimed a dominant victory in Barcelona

BC-CAR-F1-Spanish GP, 136Hamilton wins Spanish GP by 20 seconds, Vettel 4thAP Photo XDMV134, XDMV112, XDMV116, XLB112, XDMV114, XLB113Eds: APNewsNow.

Taking his second consecutive win of the season, Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton led the 2018 Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix to the chequered flag. At the start, Hamilton got a good start and teammate Bottas was slower away.

Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes will be able to apply pressure to Ferrari on a more consistent basis, such was the level of his performance in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Hamilton now leads Vettel by 17 points in the title race.

After dominating in the season opener at Melbourne but failing to win after Vettel took advantage of a late virtual safety vehicle, Mercedes admitted a software error had caused the miscalculation that had cost Hamilton.

"We couldn't make the tires last", said Vettel.

"To get the one-two, it's such a great result for everyone".

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Vettel was also fourth in Azerbaijan, when he made a mistake while trying to pass Valtteri Bottas late in the race. The Virtual Safety Car was out after Ocon's car was in smokes parked at the side after a power unit issue. Vettel won in Australia and Bahrain, while Ricciardo was first in China and Hamilton triumphed in Azerbaijan.

"Bottom line is we're not quick enough to win".

But Vettel struggled with tire wear and Ferrari chose to bring him in for an extra stop. Vandoorne pulled over with a suspected gearbox problem, the team's first retirement of the season. On the outside of Turn 3, Magnussen lost a bit of grip and had a wobble, forcing Haas teammate Grosjean into evasive action. The thinner tread on the rubber Pirelli have supplied this weekend in response to the blistering during testing in Barcelona certainly seemed to work to their advantage and the same type of tyres will be used at the French and British grands prix.

"I asked and we made a decision to go back to the softs and I think that was the right call. I looked at the tower and I saw my name didn't go up, but we expected Mercedes to be strong so we will see what happens tomorrow", Vettel said. It capped off a disappointing afternoon for Ferrari, who saw Kimi Raikkonen retire after suffering a loss of power with a brand new engine which had been fitted to his vehicle on Saturday morning.

Hamilton was only four hundredths of a second faster than his team mate Valtteri Bottas, who will start alongside him on the front row for tomorrow's race. "There is nothing we could have done differently today, but we need to try and keep pushing". During the pitstop phase, Bottas was able to leapfrog Vettel and secure a 1-2 for Mercedes.

But Vettel says his team had no choice and could not one-stop like Mercedes and Red Bull, telling Sky F1's Natalie PInkham: "For us it was not an option to stay out". "Calmly, we need to analyze the reasons, and they are various, which prevented us from exploiting the potential we demonstrated in the previous races".

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