Hamilton wins thrilling Spanish Grand Prix
- Author: Julie Sanders May 23, 2017,
May 23, 2017, 10:04
The Mercedes driver's 55th career win was hard-fought and tense, with Ferrari's Vettel seizing the lead from Hamilton at the start and in the hunt all the way as the tyre strategies played out.
Hamilton's tire strategy paid off and guaranteed him a second victory over Vettel this season, but the German remains on top of the 2017 driver standings.
Hamilton ran an alternative strategy, picking medium tyres for the middle stint while Vettel held them off until the end, and also benefited from pitting just as a virtual safety vehicle period was ending.
But his advantage was short lived as Hamilton took advantage of having the quicker soft tire on his Mercedes and powered past Vettel with 22 laps remaining, holding off his arch rival to take the checkered flag. The Mercedes driver crossed the line 3.4 seconds clear of Vettel, while his teammate Valtteri Bottas, who won the last race in Russian Federation (his first ever win), had to retire after his engine gave up on Lap 38.
Ricciardo, in a Red Bull, was more than a minute adrift of the leaders, ahead of Mexican Sergio Perez and his Force India team-mate Frenchman Esteban Ocon.
The next round of the season, the Monaco Grand Prix, takes place on May 28 in Monte Carlo. "I tried to brake as late as possible".
Despite Bottas experiencing his first retirement as a Silver Arrows driver with a mechanical failure on lap 39, Mercedes lead the Constructors' Championship by eight points from Ferrari.
"In the heat of the moment it's hard to know from the outside, I felt like I ran out of road but was alongside".
The Red Bull driver and Raikkonen were unable to stay on the track and driving over a bump led to irreparable suspension damage. "Like.a TRAIN." Vettel couldn't hide how impressed he was with Hamilton's overtake on the soft tyres.
Vettel now has 104 points to Hamilton's 98.
"I thought I did everything I was supposed to do but I got a bit of wheel spin".
Reflecting after the race, Vettel, who would later be caught and passed by Hamilton, said it came at a crucial point in the grand prix. "We lost four seconds". Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas was right behind them but in the tight pack came into contact with the Ferrari of Kimi Räikkönen. Bottas was later forced to stop his Mercedes when it started spouting smoke midway through the race. "Hamilton's and Vettel's two-horse race here nearly certainly reflects what is now their battle for the world championship". However, both Hamilton and Vettel were in a league of their own, steering clear from Ricciardo who finished a distant third.
We had one more incident during the opening lap of the race, in which two veterans of this sport participated.