Thursday, 14 November, 2019

Strategy, teamwork help Hamilton win Spanish GP over Vettel

Lewis Hamilton takes pole for Spanish Grand Prix ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas Strategy, teamwork help Hamilton win Spanish GP over Vettel
Vera Richards | 15 May, 2017, 01:52

It's the turn of Lewis Hamilton to bag a pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix, leading in all three qualifying sessions to put his Mercedes ahead of Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari.

After claiming pole position in qualifying on Saturday, Hamilton was overtaken by Vettel on the opening lap, the Ferrari man bolting into an early lead on the approach to the first corner.

On a ideal, if windy, spring day, the session began with a track temperature of 44 degrees Celsius and Vettel hurrying to join the fray after Ferrari had changed his engine following a water leak problem discovered in final practice.

However, Bottas performed well in the first two practice sessions, clocking the second-fastest times behind Hamilton in both.

The Red Bull pair of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo qualified fifth and sixth respectively.

Sauber's Pascal Wehrlein made it through to Q2 by just five thousandths of a second ahead of his team mate Marcus Ericsson, who was the first driver in the drop zone. "That for sure did not help, but the guys did a great job getting the vehicle back on track", Bottas remarked.

Hamilton teammate Valtteri Bottas came third followed by Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen at fourth.

While Bottas continued, Raikkonen and Verstappen were out. McLaren had a surprising performance from hometown hero Fernando Alonso, who took P7 in qualifying. Teammate Stoffel Vandoorne was out in Q1, however, as was Daniil Kvyat who complained that there was plenty that needed fixing on his auto. On their second and final stops, Hamilton got the softs and Vettel the mediums.

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 tire strategies played out.

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However, that was not to be the end of their fight as Hamilton regrouped and came back a few laps later to fly past his rival and eventually hold onto first place for the remainder of the race.

Hamilton trimmed four-tenths off that to set the Q1 pace, with Bottas third ahead of Raikkonen, who soon improved to second.

The result is a boost for Hamilton in his attempts to cut Vettel's lead in the title race, who had bemoaned tyre issues at the last race in Russian Federation.

Hamilton sounded breathless when he was talking to the team on the radio. Neither Haas progressed, with Grosjean's final flying lap once again ending up in a mess going into turn 14. A further opportunity emerged for Mercedes on lap 34 when Stoffel Vandoorne turned in on Felipe Massa as the Williams attempted to pass at Turn 1 and broke his McLaren's suspension.

The virtual safety auto was deployed when Alonso's team mate Stoffel Vandoorne broke his car's suspension in a collision with Massa on lap 34.

With the start over and done with, Hamilton said his focus will then switch to tyre management.

Ferrari's Vettel started brillantly and was the fastest in the first two laps but the nice fine tuning from Mercedes of Hamilton's auto helped him pip his rival in the final lap.

For much of the fifth round of the championship here in Barcelona it looked as though it was going to be Vettel who would extend his title lead to 20 points after executing the flawless start to leapfrog his championship rival.

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