Spanish GP: Sebastian Vettel defends Ferrari pit-stop strategy

Spanish Grand Prix driver ratings

Spanish Grand Prix driver ratings

Hamilton put in a dominant performance at the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday, winning easily and showing Ferrari that Mercedes remains the team to beat in Formula One. However, Hamilton's pace was no match for other drivers as he won the race with a gap of over 20 seconds over teammate Valtteri Bottas, while Red Bull's Max Verstappen finished third, taking his first podium of the year after an early retirement from Kimi Raikkonen.

When the virtual safety vehicle came out to recover Esteban Ocon's Force India which was stranded after a suspected power unit issue, Ferrari elected to stop Vettel who then lost track position to Max Verstappen.

"I've been racing a long time so to still have that feeling when you do have that win, and that happiness and that uplift inside (is special)", he said.

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

Verstappen, whose season has been littered with collisions, also almost wrecked his race when he hit the rear of Canadian Lance Stroll's Williams and lost a front wing end-plate.

His team boss Toto Wolff suggested some of the reason for Hamilton's upturn in form may also have been psychological, following his victory in Baku.

For the Spanish Grand Prix however, Bottas followed Hamilton home to claim Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport's first one-two of the year.

Chelsea vs Huddersfield: Why I benched Eden Hazard - Conte
Asked if he had rested Hazard ahead of Chelsea's FA Cup final with Manchester United , Conte responded: "No, absolutely not". Now it is right for everyone to be focused on the present and finish this season in the best possible way.

"I think as a team this weekend was flawless".

The result sees Hamilton stretch his lead at the top of the drivers' standings to 17 points after five races.

"I think he's a great driver", he said, "and if the fallout of the previous relationship did not exist then I think he would have ten championships". If the conditions remain cold - air temperature was just 11C for this morning's Formula 2 race - Alonso will have the benefit of starting on a lower working range tyre than his rivals in the top ten that should means he has more grip right from the start of the race. "I have some catching up to do overall in terms of the points, so I will be aiming to do as well as I can".

The last two points were taken by Sergio Perez of Force India and Charles Leclerc of Sauber, after Perez passed the latter on Lap 60 and held on to the spot. It had seemed as though the Dutchman had blown another opportunity for a strong finish when he collided with Lance Stroll just after a Virtual Safety Car period, but the damage to his front wing did not seem to seriously jeopardise his race from that point.

The only excitement of the forgetful grand prix was a first-lap crash that took three drivers out of contention. It was gutsy, especially after the criticism they received after failing to take advantage of the safety auto to pit Hamilton in China. "I had no idea how the race was going to play out".

Vettel, pictured, was the first of the leaders to stop for fresh tyres, but was the only one who needed to stop again, which cost him two places.

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