Monday, 28 May, 2018

Mercedes F1 team principal: 'We're back in business' after Spanish GP win

Qualifying classification 3:18PM Full qualifying classification Qualifying classification Credit FORMULA 1 on Twitter
Edward Snyder | 16 May, 2018, 13:49

Low grip caused problems all around, but for none more than Haas' Romain Grosjean.

Another bad day at the office for the Frenchman as he lost control of his vehicle on the first lap and spun into a chasing field, that eliminated Nico Hulkenberg and Pierre Gasly along the way.

He had less success, though, when Ferrari opted to bring him in again under the virtual safety auto on Lap 42.

But the decision did not work out and cost Vettel what could be a crucial six points in his title fight with Hamilton.

His usual one lap prowess had been eclipsed by Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel in the previous three and Baku was his first win of the season.

Vettel's stop unleashed Bottas and he set rapid sector times - but a slightly tardy stop two laps later ensured Vettel remained ahead.

Lewis Hamilton eventually won the Grand Prix by a margin of over 20 seconds, highlighting the gulf between the two drivers this weekend. Potentially they may have believed with their first stop so early they could not make the flag with only one stop.




Australian Daniel Ricciardo was fifth in the second Red Bull ahead of Dane Kevin Magnussen of Haas and Spaniards Carlos Sainz, of Renault, and two-time champion Fernando Alonso, of McLaren.

Ocon's bad luck continued with smoke spouting from his tailpipe on lap 41, speculated by SkySports commentators to be a hydraulic failure.

When the virtual safety auto came out to recover Esteban Ocon's Force India which was stranded after a suspected power unit issue, Ferrari elected to stop Vettel who then lost track position to Max Verstappen.

Vertappen held off Vettel for a first podium finish of the season despite damaging a front wing when he ran into Lance Stroll's Williams after the virtual safety vehicle restart. Sergey Sirotkin (Williams) (all 3 laps). Verstappen has good memories here, as he captured his first ever F1 win in Barcelona in 2016, while Ricciardo finished third at this race past year.

Mexican Sergio Perez was ninth for Force India and Monegasque rookie Charles Leclerc took the final point for Sauber.

The result means Hamilton extends his lead in the drivers' championship to 17 points and Mercedes also take a commanding lead in the constructors' contest. While Bottas and Verstappen followed Hamilton to the remaining steps on the podium, Brendon Hartley's Toro Rosso-Honda creeped across the finish line with an apparent loss of power. Carlos Sainz Jr finished ahead of his countryman Fernando Alonso, despite the pair almost colliding on the opening lap.

Hamilton has been desperate for a return to form over the single lap and with his Mercedes finally performing as expected and required he managed it superbly.

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