Hamilton victorious in Spain by beating Vettel

Lewis Hamilton won a thrilling battle with Sebastian Vettel to win the Spanish Grand Prix and close the points gap to his rival in the Formula 1 drivers’ standings.

Hamilton recovered from losing the lead to Vettel at the start by reclaiming first place on track in a final-stint battle that included the two champs banging wheels.

Mercedes driver Hamilton crossed the line 3.4 seconds clear of Vettel’s Ferrari, with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo completing the podium.

Valtteri Bottas, who won the previous race in Russia, was on course to finish third, but retired when his Mercedes power unit expired with a third of the race to go.

Bottas had earlier triggered the exits of last year’s Spanish Grand Prix lead players of Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen, when he tagged Raikkonen into the first corner of the race and sent the Ferrari sideways into Verstappen’s Red Bull.

While Bottas continued, Raikkonen and Verstappen were out with heavy damage.

Ahead of that incident, Vettel had made a sensational getaway from second on the grid to move ahead of Hamilton into Turn 1.

Vettel went about gradually increasing his lead before pitting for another set of softs at the end of lap 14 of 66 and suffering a minor delay on the front left.

Mercedes decided to keep Hamilton out, and he immediately pumped in the fastest lap of the race and stretched his stint by an extra five laps.

When he did come in, Hamilton took on the medium tyres – and he was helped by Bottas staying out even longer and holding Vettel up for a spell until a bold pass in which Ferrari jinked from one side of the pits straight to the other and brushed the grass before completing the move.

The race swung back to Hamilton when Mercedes pitted him just as a virtual safety car – caused when Stoffel Vandoorne ended up in the gravel at Turn 1 after banging wheels with Felipe Massa – ended.

Hamilton rejoined on soft tyres, 24 seconds behind Vettel.

Ferrari immediately pitted Vettel for mediums on the next lap, but Hamilton was alongside as he rejoined.

Hamilton kept his foot in and tried to go around the outside but Vettel squeezed him and they touched, with Hamilton taking to the run-off.

The three-time world champion regrouped, got back on the attack and five laps later – on lap 44 no less –  the move was done with DRS help around the outside into Turn 1.

Hamilton then controlled the gap to Vettel behind to take his second victory of the 2017 season.

Behind the lonely Ricciardo, Force India continued its impressive start to the season with Sergio Perez fourth and Esteban Ocon a career-best fifth.

Nico Hulkenberg secured his best result for Renault with sixth.

A brilliant drive on a unique one-stop strategy brought Pascal Wehrlein up to seventh on the road for Sauber.

Although a five-second time penalty for failing to stay to the correct side of the pit entry bollard meant he lost that position to Carlos Sainz, Wehrlein’s late burst of speed meant he still secured eighth rather than falling right out of the points as initially seemed likely.

Sainz spent most of the race in a spectacular battle with Kevin Magnussen, who lost a likely point when contact with Daniil Kvyat left him with a puncture.

Kvyat and Romain Grosjean completed the top ten.

After his heroic qualifying performance, Fernando Alonso immediately fell back from his seventh place having made contact with Felipe Massa at the first corner.

While Massa had to pit with a puncture, Alonso continued in P11 but his pace faded later on before a late third stop for fresh softs allowed him to charge back to P12 – his first race finish of 2017.

Overall, a fantastic result for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton. That wheel-to-wheel duel with Sebastian Vettel was entertaining and I look forward to the next race as the two champions fight for title honours.

Spanish Grand Prix, race results after 66 laps:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1h35m56.497s
2    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    3.490s
3    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m13.978s
4    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
5    Esteban Ocon    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
6    Nico Hulkenberg    Renault    1 Lap
7    Pascal Wehrlein    Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
8    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    1 Lap
9    Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Renault    1 Lap
10    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    1 Lap
11    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    2 Laps
12    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    2 Laps
13    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    2 Laps
14    Kevin Magnussen    Haas-Ferrari    2 Laps
15    Jolyon Palmer    Renault    2 Laps
16    Lance Stroll    Williams-Mercedes    2 Laps
–    Valtteri Bottas    Mercedes    Power Unit
–    Stoffel Vandoorne    McLaren-Honda    Collision
–    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    Collision
–    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    Collision

Drivers’ standings:

1    Sebastian Vettel    104
2    Lewis Hamilton    98
3    Valtteri Bottas    63
4    Kimi Raikkonen    49
5    Daniel Ricciardo    37
6    Max Verstappen    35
7    Sergio Perez    34
8    Esteban Ocon    19
9    Felipe Massa    18
10    Carlos Sainz    15
11    Nico Hulkenberg    14
12    Pascal Wehrlein    6
13    Romain Grosjean    5
14    Kevin Magnussen    4
15    Daniil Kvyat    4
16    Marcus Ericsson    0
17    Lance Stroll    0
18    Fernando Alonso    0
19    Antonio Giovinazzi    0
20    Jolyon Palmer    0
21    Stoffel Vandoorne    0

Constructors’ standings:

1    Mercedes    161
2    Ferrari    153
3    Red Bull-Renault    72
4    Force India-Mercedes    53
5    Toro Rosso-Renault    19
6    Williams-Mercedes    18
7    Renault    14
8    Haas-Ferrari    9
9    Sauber-Ferrari    6
10    McLaren-Honda    0

7 thoughts to “Hamilton victorious in Spain by beating Vettel”

  1. Spanish Grand Prix race review as reported by Formula1.com.

    Lewis Hamilton won a drama-filled Formula 1 Gran Premio de Espana Pirelli 2017 on Sunday, as Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull all saw just one car make the finish at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Hamilton took the flag 3.4s ahead of title rival Sebastian Vettel, with Daniel Ricciardo a distant third.

    It was Hamilton and Vettel’s best encounter yet this year, as each had turns leading a very tactical race before the Briton was finally able to overtake the German to score his 55th career victory and the second of the season. It moves him within six points of Vettel’s championship lead as they head to Monaco.

    An excellent afternoon for Force India saw Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon finish fourth and fifth respectively, with Nico Hulkenberg an equally impressive sixth for Renault. Carlos Sainz took seventh in his home race for Toro Rosso, while Sauber celebrated their first points of 2017 thanks to Pascal Wehrlein’s eighth place. Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat and Haas’s Romain Grosjean completed the top ten.

    The race began with drama. Hamilton and Vettel ran side by side down to Turn 1, with the Ferrari finally getting the advantage as the Mercedes struggled with wheelspin. Behind them, Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes almost got past Hamilton before tucking back in behind him, but as the Finn rode up the inside kerb his car was edged into contact with fellow countryman Kimi Raikkonen, to his left. The Ferrari was in turn nudged into Max Verstappen as he was trying to go round the outside in his Red Bull.

    The Ferrari and the Red Bull were immediately eliminated with suspension damage, while in another incident Williams’ Felipe Massa collided with Fernando Alonso, who had made a slow start in his seventh-placed McLaren. Both continued, but finished only 12th and 13th.

    Vettel led until pitting to switch to a fresh set of soft Pirelli tyres. Hamilton then took over and led until the 21st lap, when he pitted for medium tyres. That put Bottas into the lead and Mercedes tactically left him there so he could try to contain Vettel as Hamilton recovered. Vettel was able to overtake him on the 25th lap, however, and Hamilton also closed in and moved ahead of his team mate. Now he had to wait and see whether he could maintain pace with Vettel on his faster soft-compound tyres, as Mercedes’ strategy called for him to run his mediums and then take a fresh set of softs to have an advantage later in the race.

    But then fate intervened, when the face of the race changed as Stoffel Vandoorne collided with Massa in Turn 1 on the 34th lap, bringing out a virtual safety car (VSC) – and ultimately costing Vandoorne a three-place grid drop for the next round of the championship.

    Mercedes snatched the chance to bring Hamilton in for soft tyres, and because of the VSC he was able to rejoin right alongside Vettel as the track went green as they went into the 38th lap. Hamilton was on the left and got alongside the Ferrari as they turned in, and they touched as each pursued their goal. The Ferrari pushed the Mercedes wide, as Vettel kept his lead. Hamilton was forced to drop back, and they laughed about it later.

    But after shadowing the Ferrari for six laps, Hamilton used his DRS to sweep by Vettel and though there was a possibility that Ferrari might implement Plan C and make a third stop, for fresh soft tyres and a counter-attack, it was too late. Hamilton stayed clear to win by just over three seconds, and that was that.

    Mercedes lost their second car, however, just as Ferrari had, when Bottas’ engine expired in Turn 6 on the 39th lap.

    It was a gruelling race for Red Bull, for though Ricciardo took the final podium position, his very heavily updated RB13 was 75.8s behind…

    Force India not only maintained their recent run of top-ten finishes with both of the VJM10s, but took a big haul of 22 points as Perez led home Ocon well clear of Hulkenberg’s Renault. Each had a lonely race, but that could not be said of the next drivers.

    Sainz spent an awful lot of his race behind Wehrlein’s Sauber after some brilliant strategy allied to a brilliant drive from the young German enabled the Swiss team to hold track position over Toro Rosso and Haas, as five cars chased car number 94.

    Wehrlein incurred a five-second penalty for missing the pit entry bollard on his sole pit stop, but that only cost him a place to Sainz, who pleased the spectators by taking seventh. Wehrlein took eighth on pure merit, leaving Kvyat to secure ninth in the other Toro Rosso as Grosjean picked up the final point for Haas.

    Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, Alonso, Massa, Haas’s Kevin Magnussen who dropped back after a late stop to replace a punctured tyre after a clash with Kvyat, a lonely Jolyon Palmer in the Renault and Williams rookie Lance Stroll completed the finishers.

  2. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has commented that his Sebastian Vettel duel was “the rawest” in recent memory. Motorsport.com has the full story.

    Lewis Hamilton says he loved having a “raw” fight for victory in Formula 1’s Spanish Grand Prix with Sebastian Vettel.

    The Mercedes driver came out on top after a race-long battle with Vettel, which included a flashpoint when they made slight contact at Turn 1 after Vettel emerged from the pits on the inside of Hamilton.

    Hamilton made use of an alternative strategy to Vettel – aided by making a pitstop just before a virtual safety car period came to an end – to get back on terms with the Ferrari, which had surged into the lead at the start.

    “Seb was so fast ahead, it was such a push to try to keep close to him and not let him pull away,” said Hamilton after the race.

    “It was just the rawest fight I can remember having for some time, which I loved. This is what the sport needs to be every single race and this is why I race, what got me into racing.

    “To have those close battles with him, a four-time champion, is awesome.

    “In the end we came out so close together which was very, very close into Turn 1, I gave you [Vettel] space otherwise we would have touched. It was close, it was cool.

    “In the heat of the moment it’s difficult to know from the outside, I felt like I ran out of road but was alongside.

    “But it was how racing should be – I love it, I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

    The final stint of the race hinged on whether Hamilton could make his soft tyres last long enough to prevent Vettel – on the harder medium compound – from fighting back late in the race.

    “The team did a great job with the strategy,” said Hamilton, who repeatedly questioned the decisions from the pit wall when he was left out for a later first stop than Vettel, while being reassured that things would come back to him later on if he could keep his pace up.

    “This is one of the hardest races, to keep up with him, he drove fantastically well so it’s such a privilege to race against him.

    “The last stint, 25 laps, when they told me they [the tyres] had to do that I didn’t think… I thought at the end of the stint he would come back but we managed it.

    “These guys [Ferrari] have done a phenomenal job, the pace they have, it is close between us.”

  3. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel admits Valtteri Bottas was a road “block” which cost him “an awful lot of time” that may have decided this Spanish Grand Prix. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Sebastian Vettel feels he lost “an awful lot of time” when Mercedes used Valtteri Bottas to “block” him during his Spanish Grand Prix battle with Lewis Hamilton.

    Though Vettel grabbed the lead from pole-sitter Hamilton at the start at Barcelona, the Mercedes emerged triumphant after a close on-track battle in the final stint.

    Vettel felt he twice lost key advantages to Hamilton – first when he was held up behind temporary leader Bottas as the Finn ran much longer in his first stint than the other frontrunners, and later when Hamilton made his final pitstop just as a virtual safety car period was ending.

    “I am not happy, it [the win] was there,” said Vettel. “Lewis had the luxury to stay out and choose a different tyre With Valtteri I was catching him and I knew they wouldn’t pit him.

    “He was all over the place with the tyres, so they used him a bit to block me.”

    Vettel eventually made it past Bottas with a bold move into the first corner.

    “He still somehow managed to get a decent exit [from the chicane] so I couldn’t do it first time,” said Vettel. “Second time I thought I had to find a way even if it was on the grass.

    “It was really close, I faked it on the inside, then went back on the outside and inside again, but nearly lost the car as I had DRS open – but it worked. I looked down and I had lost an awful lot of time.”

    He then rebuilt a margin when on soft tyres in the middle stint while Hamilton was on mediums, but found that gap gone when they made their final stops and took the opposite tyres.

    Hamilton had pitted just as a virtual safety car period for Stoffel Vandoorne’s damaged McLaren was ending.

    “I don’t know what happened in the last stint,” said Vettel. When I came out of the pits I was surprised it was close because I thought I had eight seconds in hand.

    “That could have brought a cushion.”

    Vettel resisted Hamilton’s initial attack on his out-lap but was overtaken around the outside into the first corner not long afterwards.

    “I thought it would be more difficult for him the longer I tried but then I had no tow and he sailed past,” said Vettel. He managed a really good exit and was really quick in last sector and managed to win the race.

    “Well done to him, he won it fair and square and you can’t take it away from him.”

  4. Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen have both pointed the finger at Valtteri Bottas for their first-corner exits from the Spanish Grand Prix, but Bottas insists that he did not cause their collision “on purpose”.

    Bottas’s Mercedes made an excellent initial getaway, but appeared to brake sooner for Turn 1 than his rivals – allowing Raikkonen and Verstappen to draw alongside to his outside.

    Bottas then clipped Raikkonen’s right-rear wheel, sending the Finn into Verstappen – the secondary collision causing suspension failures on both the Ferrari and Red Bull.

    “It all started when I got hit on my right-rear corner,” said Raikkonen. “It jumped a little bit and then obviously you cannot control a lot after that. Then we came together with Max, but it all started from the first touch. What can you do?

    “I made a good start, got blocked by Bottas on the straight once, I had to lift already, and then we touched and my race ended there.”

    Verstappen added: “I think you can clearly see what happened – Valtteri hitting Kimi and then, of course, it was difficult for Kimi to control the car, so he then slammed into me. Normally three cars [into Turn 1] is doable, it’s always very tight.

    “It was unfortunate. When you’re on the outside you know it’s a bit tricky, I was just giving a bit of space, but then I got a Ferrari slamming into me. It’s a part of racing.

    Bottas said of the incident: “It was not on purpose, it’s shame we collided, it was just a small touch really.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

  5. Hero of qualifying Fernando Alonso was feeling disappointed after the race and admits a strong result was unlikely after a chaotic first lap. Motorsport.com has the story.

    Fernando Alonso admitted he is unsure he would have scored points in the Spanish Grand Prix even without his first-lap incident.

    The McLaren driver had been one of the stars of qualifying when he put his Honda-powered car seventh on the grid in his first appearance in Q3 this year.

    But Alonso lost his chances of a good result when he made contact with Felipe Massa in Turn 2 at the start, going off track and losing several positions as a result.

    The Spaniard, who secured his first race finish of the season, conceded that, given his car’s top speed, it would have been hard to keep his position anyway.

    “The cars in front were making contact and I took a risk,” said Alonso of his start. “Maybe I could have stayed behind but I had nothing to lose so I tried to go around the outside, knowing that maybe he [Massa] wouldn’t see me.

    “But even without that I think that, with our speed on the straights sooner or later, you start to drop down. Your rivals prepare it little by little and at one point it’s impossible to defend or impossible to attack.

    “I’m happy with the weekend anyway. Yesterday I had a super lap. Today my car finished without major problems, so step by step.”

    Alonso said his chances took another hit when he emerged from his first pitstop behind the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat and could do nothing to overtake him.

    “In terms of race pace we knew we couldn’t match the cars in front and, even if we had it, we lost all our chances behind Kvyat after the pitstop,” he said.

    “We can’t pass on the straight so we stayed behind him and from there the race was more complicated.

    Despite having his first reliable race outing of the race, Alonso did not see it as a turning point in his season.

    “The inflection point will come when Honda brings a powerful update. We are not bad with the chassis to be in Q3 and in the top 10 regularly. But we are lacking power and reliability.

    “Hopefully reliability has improved seeing that the car finished perfectly. But let’s hope things keep improving.”

  6. Stewards in Spain have handed McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne a three-place grid penalty for the next round of the championship in Monaco for colliding with Felipe Massa’s Williams during Sunday’s race.

    Vandoorne was running 16th when he turned in on a fast-approaching Massa at Turn 1 on the 34th lap. Massa was able to continue and finished 13th, but branded Vandoorne, who ended up in the gravel with broken suspension, “crazy” for not giving him sufficient room.

    But while Vandoorne was punished, Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat escaped sanction for their late-race collision on lap 62.

    Kvyat was attempting to pass Magnussen’s Haas for ninth place when the duo made contact, resulting in a puncture for the Dane. However, after reviewing video footage and speaking to both drivers, the stewards deemed it a racing incident.

    Source: Formula1.com

  7. Toto Wolff says Mercedes Formula 1 team’s strategists made a “magic call” in pitting Lewis Hamilton late under Virtual Safety Car, which helped the Briton defeat Sebastian Vettel in the Spanish Grand Prix.

    Pole-sitter Hamilton had lost out to Vettel at the start and followed the Ferrari driver during the first two stints of the 66-lap grand prix.

    But when contact between the McLaren of Stoffel Vandoorne and the Williams of Felipe Massa left the former stranded in the gravel on lap 33, Hamilton used the resulting Virtual Safety Car period to make his final stop.

    The Briton wound up waiting until lap 36, taking to the pitlane as the “VSC ending” message appeared on the screens – and as the green flags were waved, he was already approaching his pit stall.

    “There was a bit of thought process in the strategy group [during VSC] – at a certain stage we planned to do the opposite to Sebastian,” Wolff recounted. “And then the magic call was the one to take the pitstop at a time when it looked like the VSC would end soon.

    “Because [otherwise] Sebastian could have reacted to that, pitted next lap. So we timed it perfectly, I really take my hat off to James [Vowles, Chief Strategist] and his group of strategists.”

    Vettel had been almost eight seconds ahead of Hamilton before the VSC was called out, but, after he responded by pitting under the green flag a lap after his rival, he came out only just ahead.

    He had to squeeze Hamilton to the outside on exit of Turn 1 to keep the lead and couldn’t break away afterwards, eventually surrendering first place with 22 laps left.

    Wolff elaborated further: “You lose so much when you do a regular pitstop during the race. Your pitstop loss is around 21s and all cars are at speed – so you lose time being stationary and by being slow in the pitlane.

    “And on the VSC everyone on the track is moving much slower so the effective pitstop loss is less. I don’t know the overall number but the actual loss is probably around 12, 13 seconds – so it is much better.”

    Wolff admitted that Mercedes was “on the back foot” at the end of the first stint, as Vettel pitted early for new softs, preventing an undercut. He emerged behind the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo but cleared the Aussie in no time.

    “We had hoped that Ricciardo would make his life quite difficult but Sebastian’s pace was just so much faster and he got past him quite easily,” Wolff said.

    “And from then on we were on the back foot. And there wasn’t really a lot to do so we tried to extend the stint and hopefully, towards the end of the race, have a better tyre.”

    Hamilton wound up running a different two-stop strategy to his Ferrari rival, going long on softs early on before a switch to mediums and a final stint on softs against Vettel’s mediums.

    “We started to go on a remote strategy – that was to put the medium tyre on and keep the soft for the end to, hopefully, attack.”

    Commenting on the wheel-to-wheel battle between Vettel and Hamilton, Wolff said: “First of all, that first defence was great, maybe a little bit on the aggressive side but that is racing.

    “He [Vettel] pushed him [Hamilton] wide and, from then on, we knew we had an advantage of the soft tyre that was almost brand new. We knew we had a chance.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

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