F1 Spanish GP digest: victory is a turning point for Lewis Hamilton


F1 Spanish GP digest: victory is a turning point for Lewis Hamilton

BC-CAR-F1-Cautious Mercedes, 1st Ld-Writethru, 552Mercedes cautious despite a commanding victory in SpainAP Photo XDMV159, XDMV163, XDMV161, XDMV165, XDMV134, XDMV160, XDMV114, XDMV127Eds: Minor edits; Adds new photo links.

Hamilton, though, claimed pole position at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and went on to take an emphatic win, 20 seconds ahead of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas. "Calmly, we need to analyze the reasons, and they are various, which prevented us from exploiting the potential we demonstrated in the previous races".

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - Mercedes got the commanding victory it had been seeking all season.

Lewis Hamilton is out of contract with Mercedes at the end of the season despite talks of a new deal being ongoing since the end of past year. In Spain, though, he was one with his auto again and his claim to victory never under threat.

The Finn bounced back by outqualifying Hamilton in Bahrain and China, finishing second in both races, and was runner-up again on Sunday in a race the champion dominated.

"I've said many times this team is strong and we have a lot of potential, but we also need to make sure we address the problems that we have and work together in the same direction. This is what we will do and we will let you know as soon as possible".

The streets of Monte Carlo proved last year's nadir for Hamilton after he qualified only 14th and took the chequered flag in a lowly seventh place on a weekend to forget for the Brit and Mercedes.

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It was the first time this season Mercedes finished 1-2, and also the first it locked the front row in qualifying.

In Ferrari's favour, Mercedes has struggled at certain circuits in past years, including Monaco.

Isola said giving all teams the opportunity to try out the two tyre specs in the test - which was something planned well before the Spanish GP weekend - was so that Pirelli could get a "proper comparison".

Vettel gave away his position when Ferrari chose to go for an extra stop and give the German driver fresher tyres. The Ferrari driver finished fourth to lose ground on title leader Hamilton.

"For us it was not an option to stay out", Vettel said. "I think Red Bull will really be strong and Ferrari was on the pole previous year". The guys have been working so hard back in the factory and here and it's so good to see.

With Sunday's win, Hamilton opened up his lead over Vettel to 17-points in the overall standings. The team has a 27-point lead over Ferrari in the constructors' championship.

"I think it's pretty straightforward", Vettel said in the paddock after testing. "Monaco, Hungary, Singapore. Part of why that is we know, but part is still a mystery".

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