F1 Raceweek: Hamilton primed to extend championship lead?

Raikkonen forced to retire with suspected turbo issue

Raikkonen forced to retire with suspected turbo issue

"So, we need to stay calm and humble, because it can be a different ball game again next time round".

Behind Vettel and Bottas, Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was keeping the error-prone Verstappen at bay, with the Dutchman beyond the DRS range of the Finn. The top five had all pitted once and it meant that Hamilton was back as race leader.

Hamilton and Mercedes have both frequently emphasised that neither party is looking elsewhere for 2019, though earlier suggestions that the situation would be wrapped up pre-season failed to materialise.

"During the whole weekend it has been tough to find the right balance on these new tires, but I see no reason for not being optimistic for the next race", Vettel said.

After a breathless and competitive season of Formula One, this weekend's action from the Spanish Grand Prix felt like a rerun. Two laps later, Mercedes brought in Bottas in the hope that he had gone fast enough to get ahead of Vettel after the pit stop. They have also proven that even when they have not had the quickest auto; they have still had the tactical edge over arch rivals Ferrari.

They are Lewis, Valtteri and the Mercedes young drivers. Yet, he still recorded a second, third and fourth place finish, proving that even in a slump, he can still put his auto in a strong position. Aitken is a Renault development driver and his test on Wednesday came three days after he secured his first F2 sprint race win of the season on Sunday. Only an ill-timed safety auto incident, which allowed rival Sebastian Vettel to gain a position on him, denied the Brit victory.

The clock is ticking, EU warns Britain of poor Brexit progress
Barnier later said that there had been "a little, not very little progress" but warned that more was urgently needed. The EU has said London must come up with a solution for the Irish border and highlights that has not happened.

Pressure had been building on the Silver Arrows following a tricky start to the season - a miscalculation by the team cost Hamilton dear in Australia and he had to settle for third and fourth-place finishes in Bahrain and China respectively.

Lewis Hamilton is leading the F1 drivers' championship by 17 points from Sebastian Vettel.

But team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel were sufficiently close to Hamilton's track-record lap of 1:16.173 to give the Briton some cause for concern.

Hamilton joined Mercedes from McLaren on a three-year deal in 2013 and renewed his contract for the same period of time mid-2015, meaning he is out of contract at the end of 2018.

Then there was Azerbaijan.

"But he had eight seconds of race time relative to the Red Bull behind, and what we were trying to do was very delicately use up some of that race time to slow down in some of the key corner sequences to make sure we looked after that tyre whilst not losing temperature in the rubber that was still actually left on it".

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