Hamilton wins Spanish GP thrillerposted in F114 | 05 | 2017

    DEFENDING WORLD CHAMP Lewis Hamilton won his second race of the year when he clinched a thrilling victory in the Spanish Grand Prix.

    The three-times world champ, who started from pole but was overtaken into the first corner at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona by the Ferrari of his title rival Sebastian Vettel, finally retook the lead in the final stint; but only after the two protagonists banged wheels.

    Mercedes driver Hamilton eventually took the chequered flag 3.4 seconds clear of Vettel, to reduce the gap in the race for the championship to six points. Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo completed the podium, albeit 73s behind the winner.

    Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who won the last race in Russia, was on course to finish third, but retired when his car’s engine expired with a third of the race to go.


    The Finn had already played a significant role in the race when, at the first corner of the opening lap he triggered the exits of last year's Spanish GP lead combatants Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen. Bottas tagged Raikkonen  into the first corner and sent the Ferrari sideways into Verstappen's Red Bull. While Bottas continued, Raikkonen and Verstappen were out.

    At the front, the start was all about Vettel who moved ahead of Hamilton into Turn 1. The German then gradually increased his lead before pitting for another set of softs at the end of lap 14 of 66; significantly, he suffered a minor delay on the front left.

    Hamilton — who opted to stay out — then delivered the fastest lap of the race and stretched his stint by an extra five laps. While he then opted for he medium tyres when he pitted, team-mate Bottas stayed out even longer and held held up Vettel up for a spell. It took a bold pass from the Ferrari driver, jinking from one side of the pits straight to the other and brushing the grass, before completing the move.


    Mercedes then delivered a key strategic move, one which essentially allowed Hamilton to close the eight-second gap to leader Vettel.

    The Englishman pitted just as the Virtual Safety Car — which had been introduced following Stoffel Vandoorne’s McLaren ending up in the gravel at Turn 1 after banging wheels with the Williams of Felipe Massa — ended.

    While Vettel stayed out, Hamilton rejoined on soft tyres, 24s behind the German. Ferrari then immediately pitted Vettel for mediums on the next lap, but with Hamilton lapping at full race pace he was alongside the German as he rejoined.

    Determined to take his second win of the season, and his second in Spain, Hamilton kept his foot in and tried to go around the outside. Equally determined to retain his advantage, Vettel squeezed him and they touched, with Hamilton taking to the run-off.


    But the Mercedes driver regrouped, got back on the attack and five laps later, 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 season.

    Behind third-plaved Ricciardo, Force India continued its impressive start to the season with fourth and fifth for team-mate Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon respectively. It was Ocon’s career-best fifth. Sixth went to Nico Hulkenberg, who secured his best result for Renault.

    Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein finished seventh on the road, thanks largely to a unique one-stop strategy, but the German slipped to eighth behind Carlos Sainz Jr after he received a five-second time penalty for failing to stay to the correct side of the pit entry bollard.

    Toro Ross’s Daniil Kvyat and the Haas of Romain Grosjean completed the top 10.

    F1 — Spanish Grand Prix, Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona (Result):

    1. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes - Mercedes 66 laps

    2. Sebastian Vettel GER Ferrari - Ferrari +3.4s

    3. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Red Bull - TAG +1m 15.8s

    4. Sergio Perez MEX Force India-Mercedes +1 lap

    5. Esteban Ocon FRA Force India-Mercedes +1 lap

    6. Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault - Renault +1 lap

    7. Carlos Sainz ESP Toro Rosso-Renault +1 lap

    8. Pascal Wehrlein GER Sauber - Ferrari +1 lap *

    9. Daniil Kvyat RUS Toro Rosso-Renault +1 lap

    10. Romain Grosjean FRA Haas-Ferrari +1 lap

    11. Marcus Ericsson SWE Sauber - Ferrari +2 laps

    12. Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren-Honda +2 laps

    13. Felipe Massa BRA Williams - Mercedes +2 laps

    14. Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas-Ferrari +2 laps

    15. Jolyon Palmer GBR Renault - Renault +2 laps

    16. Lance Stroll CAN Williams - Mercedes +2 laps


    17. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes - Mercedes 39 laps completed

    18. Stoffel Vandoorne BEL McLaren-Honda 34 laps completed

    19. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Ferrari - Ferrari 0 laps completed

    20. Max Verstappen NED Red Bull - TAG 0 laps completed

    * denotes 5 second time penalty applied for pit-entry infringement

    Related: Valtteri Bottas claims maiden F1 win

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    Jim McGill


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