Vettel: Lewis and I linked by 'common passion'

Doug Mendoza
May 19, 2017

The win was Hamilton's second in Barcelona and ended a run of 10 different winners in 10 years.

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany, right, leads Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain through a corner during the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Barcelona Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, Spain, Sunday, Ma.

The victory means Hamilton cuts Vettel's lead in the driver's championship to six points ahead of the Monaco grand prix on May 28.

That close encounter saw the Brit take to the run-off and concede the place to the Ferrari briefly, but five laps down the road Hamilton was able to catch and overtake the German for the lead, where he remained at the chequered flag.

MercedesAMG's Valtteri Bottas, retired when his exhausted engine failed running 3rd late in the F1 race. "Outside the track we are not best friends, I have known him for a long time but I don't have a problem with him".

"That's how racing should be and I loved it", said a happy Hamilton, who raced side by side with Vettel at turn one after the German's final pitstop. "In the end I think it was a balance, it was balancing on a knife's edge because you want to have the gap to avoid the undercut, but on the other side we had to make the tyres last 32 laps and it was just a big combination of team work and strategy and Lewis' driving". "The strategy was great, but it was the driver who won it", said Mercedes F1's non-executive chairman Niki Lauda.

For much of the fifth round of the championship here in Barcelona it looked as though it was going to be Vettel who would extend his title lead to 20 points after executing the ideal start to leapfrog his championship rival.

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The victory, Hamilton's second of the season and the 55th of his career, was just what the doctor ordered after his drubbing in Russian Federation a fortnight ago. He finished the race less than four second behind Hamilton, and Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo was nowhere close finishing a distant third. "I don't know how we managed to lose that", said Vettel, who made the most of Hamilton's poor start.

Every driver, 1, 2 & 3 on the Podium, was lapped during a terrific race that saw Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and last year's victor, Max Verstappen, crash out on the 1st lap. While Bottas survived the incident, Raikkonen's front-left suspension was in tatters, and although Verstappen limped back to the pits his race was over, too.

The two title rivals jousted after Vettel came out of his second pit stop just inches ahead of the hard-charging Hamilton.

Bottas was then reduced to playing a supporting role for Hamilton's bid to win on an alternative strategy. While Vettel took on another set of the quicker soft tyre, Mercedes extended the stints of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, eventually putting medium tyres on the former and using the latter to hold up the charging Ferrari for four laps. He blocked me, in the end I managed to get past, but by then I had lost an very bad lot of time.

"I was inside for Turn One, Kimi came from outside and tried to overtake from there", said the Mercedes driver.

"I was doing everything I could to stay in front, but as soon as I was alone he just flew past me down the straight, which was a shame".

Sergio Perez finished fourth, while Esteban Ocon went fifth. The two Toro Rosso's of Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat were split on the seventh and ninth position by Sauber's Pascal Wehrlein, despite him suffering from a 5 second penalty. My second stint was also pretty good: I managed to get close to Valtteri who was all over the place with his tyres.

Other reports by GizPress

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