Lewis Hamilton made it back-to-back Formula 1 victories as he headed home a dominant Mercedes one-two in the Spanish Grand Prix.
Hamilton defeated teammate Valtteri Bottas by more than 20 seconds after a surprise second stop under a virtual safety car for Sebastian Vettel dropped Ferrari off the podium.In his place came Max Verstappen, who fended off Vettel despite a damaged front wing to score his first rostrum of the year.Vettel jumped Bottas into Turn 1 to slot into second before the race was immediately neutralised under a safety car for a multi-car crash at Turn 3.
Romain Grosjean had nipped ahead of Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso after those ran deep into Turn 2, but then overreacted to a wobble from Haas teammate ahead of him and ran wide on the entry to Turn 3.He lost the rear but seemed to keep the throttle planted, which lit up the rear tyres, spun him back across the track and meant he was collected by Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault and Pierre Gasly’s Toro Rosso.All three retired on the spot and a lengthy clean-up operation began, before racing resumed on lap 7.
Hamilton bolted clear at the restart, comfortably stretching his advantage to more than seven seconds over the next 10 laps, until Vettel stopped.A slow out-lap as Vettel struggled to get an immediate hit on its fresh medium tyres, combined with Bottas pumping in outright best sector times, looked to have handed second place to Mercedes.
But Bottas suffered a slow pitstop, losing 1.4s to Vettel, and emerged just behind.The procession was interrupted on lap 25 by the first of two incidents involving Ferrari.First, Kimi Raikkonen slowed from fourth position and coaxed his car back into the pits to retire – the Finn had taken a new engine after Friday practice.
The second came 15 laps later, when Esteban Ocon’s smoking, parked Force India sparked a virtual safety car and Ferrari reacted by pitting Vettel and putting him on a two-stop strategy as the other frontrunners stuck to a one-stop.That ceded track position to Bottas and Verstappen, but kept Vettel ahead of Daniel Ricciardo.Vettel, with fresh medium tyres, started to catch Verstappen as the Dutchman battled with a front wing missing the left endplate, which he broke clipping a Williams at the VSC restart.
However, Verstappen just kept clear of Vettel to score his first podium of the season behind the Mercedes one-two.Ricciardo slipped back to a lonely fifth in the second Red Bull after a curious second half of the race.
Having run within 10s of Verstappen at the VSC, he spun at the restart and ended up 21s behind his teammate despite responding with the fastest lap near the end.Kevin Magnussen produced a faultless drive to claim sixth and best-of-the-rest honours for Haas, while Sainz survived a fuel problem in the closing stages to finish seventh.Alonso was eighth for McLaren ahead of Sergio Perez’s Force India, while Sauber rookie Charles Leclerc earned his second points finish in a row with 10th.