Lewis Hamilton calls Spanish GP victory 'a rejuvenating experience'

Doug Mendoza
May 15, 2018

However, Vettel - now trailing race victor Lewis Hamilton by 17 points in the drivers' standings - says rapid tire wear had become an issue for the team and that they had no choice but to bring him in for that costly second stop.

Sebastian Vettel finds Formula 1's flip-flopping over aerodynamics "a bit comical" now rulemakers have pushed through a change to reduce downforce levels for 2019. "Even in the end, with the fresher set I wasn't able to attack until the end", he added.

Hamilton says he felt in sync with his vehicle on Sunday as he won by over 20 seconds, and highlights Mercedes' understanding of the way the auto behaves as key to his confidence. Both Red Bulls were yet to stop with Ricciardo in on lap 33 and Verstappen pitting a lap later. "One of the exciting things this year has been that we are breaking records".

For the first time this season, he felt truly at one with the vehicle.

Hamilton, however, was in cruise control, as he made his one and only trouble-free stop on lap 25.

Vettel had managed to pass Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas for second at the start, and looked on course for the runner-up spot before making a second stop under virtual safety auto conditions around two-thirds distance.

The German was second until he took an ill-judged second pit-stop, under Virtual Safety Car conditions, midway through the race, dropping two places.

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Vettel replied: "I think you should ask us what we need to overtake".

Ricciardo's team-mate Max Verstappen said he did not mind the cars being slower "if it makes racing better". "So our ambition has to be that we're better off rather than worse off", reasoned Vettel. "I was pushing every single lap using it as a test bench to understand what I liked about the balance and how can I play with it more and how can I squeeze more out of it and do all sorts to understand what more I can get from".

Raikkonen's race ended on lap 26 with the Finn reporting that he has "some issue, no power" as he slowly toured around the circuit before pulling into the pits, retiring the auto. He said, "It feels nice to be on the podium and nice to have a good clean race".

Simpler front wings are the crux of a new aero regulation forced through at the last minute for next season, to make cars easier to follow and try to increase overtaking. Sixth was Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, who helped convert the team's strong pace into a healthy haul of points.

Spanish driver and local hero Fernando Alonso finished seventh after a spirited drive, also pulling off the best overtaking manoeuvre of the race, when he raced past Esteban Ocon on the outside of the fast and sweeping Turn 3. Azerbaijan Grand Prix star Charles Leclerc kept his name in the points-paying positions by rounding off the top ten for Sauber. The unfortunate victims of Grosjean's spin were Nico Hulkenberg and Pierre Gasly.

Wolff dismissed theories this was done to favour Mercedes with some salty language, and pointed out after the race their performance advantage in testing, on the thicker-gauge tyres, had actually been larger than it was at the race weekend.

A lack of pace after a promising start to the season.

Other reports by GizPress

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