Spanish GP: Sebastian Vettel defends Ferrari pit-stop strategy

Spanish GP: Sebastian Vettel defends Ferrari pit-stop strategy

His teammate Valtteri Bottas completed over 20 seconds behind with Crimson Bull's Max Verstappen finishing the rostrum.

Vettel, who won in Barcelona in 2011, has finished fourth or better at this race in eight of the last nine years.

It was the first one-two of the season for Mercedes, which had been slower than Ferrari in the past few races. Meanwhile, both Red Bull drivers had yet to pit, and Verstappen lorded track position over Hamilton until called to pit on lap 34, his teammate Daniel Ricciardo attended to the lap prior.

"I'm always on the worrying side and we'd been very good in winter testing here and when we went to Melbourne everybody said it was going to be an easy Mercedes one and then we had hard races so I think we were very good today but we need to stay calm and humble", Wolff said. I was feeling good.

As soon as Hamilton led into Turn 1 his victory did not appear to be in doubt, with the Mercedes able to open up a comfortable gap to the chasing Vettel behind.

Speaking after his victory Hamilton stated that he was pleased with his vehicle and also praised the supporters.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix star Charles Leclerc kept his name in the points-paying positions by rounding off the top ten for Sauber.

Hamilton had a clean start, with Vettel moving from third to second by passing Bottas on the outside of Turn 1.

Vettel stayed ahead in what had seemed like a logical one-stop race for all the drivers starting on the soft tyre, but Ferrari surprised everyone by bringing the German in for another set of medium tyres on lap 42.

Spanish Grand Prix
Verstappen took third despite damaging his front wing

Vettel gave away his position when Ferrari made a decision to go for an extra stop and give the German driver fresher tires.

Verstappen, and was unable to make up the difference despite the newer tires.

It was a lukewarm Spanish GP, especially compared to the thrilling races seen in China and Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, Renault's Nico Hulkenberg and Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly were the innocent victims.

Brendon Hartley of Toro Rosso did not make it to qualifying because the team was not able to fix his vehicle after a crash in the final minutes of Saturday's practice.

"If you look from outside it's easier, but inside the auto, we were going through the tyres too quick".

"But I got a good start and after that the others didn't have the pace to keep up with me".

Kiw driver Brendon Hartley moved up eight spots from the back of the grid to finish the race 12th, although what damage his auto took to claim that spot remains unclear after he was forced to pull over immediately after crossing the finish.

Hartley started at the back of the grid after a big crash in final practice on Saturday meant he missed qualifying. 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 auto on Saturday morning. A lap later, McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne retired, propulsion lost out of the last corner.

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