Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton secured back-to-back Formula 1 victories in dominant fashion as he cruised to victory at the Spanish Grand Prix, leading home a Mercedes 1-2.
Hamilton will share the first row on Sunday with Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas, who clocked one minute, 16.213 seconds. reports Efe.
The win returned Hamilton to the top spot in the drivers’ standings, four points clear of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who finished fourth.
Hamilton, who leads the championship by four points over Vettel, felt slowing down the cars would not make racing any better and said drivers just wanted to go faster and push the limits. Team mate Valtteri Bottas took second place while Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took third place after a botched pit stop ruined Sebastian Vettel’s chance of making podium during a virtual safety vehicle stint. Daniel Ricciardo was second and Max Verstappen third.
Both Spanish drivers made it to the final qualifying session, with two-time champion Fernando Alonso eighth with McLaren and Carlos Sainz ninth with Renault.
After dominating in the season opener at Melbourne but failing to win after Vettel took advantage of a late virtual safety auto, Mercedes admitted a software error had caused the miscalculation that had cost Hamilton.
Mercedes got off to a good start in Formula One’s return to Europe, with Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton setting the pace in practice for the Spanish Grand Prix on Friday.
“Today, the vehicle and myself, I felt that synergy today which I haven’t been feeling for the whole year”.
Hamilton was supremely above Ferrari’s concerns, as he converted his first pole position since the opening race in Australia into a first-lap lead.
“It just still is very, very surreal to think that every now and then I keep coming up against Michael in terms of records and it just reminds me of what a great he was”, said the Briton, now 27 races short of the German’s all time tally of wins.
Verstappen, whose season has been littered with collisions, also almost wrecked his race when he hit the rear of Canadian Lance Stroll’s Williams and lost a front wing end-plate.
But Vettel said: “It wasn’t an option to stay out because we were going through tyres quickly today”. Meanwhile, Sauber driver Charles Leclerc will start 14th tomorrow, sandwiched between the Force India cars with Esteban Ocon in 13th place and Sergio Perez in 15th.
The race was marked by a crash on the opening lap that saw the exit of Romain Grosjean, Pierre Gasly and Nico Hulkenberg.
However, Hamilton was not convinced with Ferrari’s lack of pace and suggested they could be “sandbagging” and will show their full hand on Saturday during Practice 3 and the qualifying session. “It is a little bit disheartening as I don’t really know what I could have done more”. Vettel led for 41 laps in Baku before the rogue Red Bull boys brought out the safety vehicle that changed everything.
New Zealand’s Brendon Hartley did not take part in qualifying for Toro Rosso after crashing heavily in final practise.