Commanding Hamilton comfortably reigns in Spain

Spanish Grand Prix Race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates
© XPB 

Lewis Hamilton won the 2018 Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday, after the Mercedes driver put in a dominant performance in Barcelona.

His team mate Valtteri Bottas picked up second place after a late pit stop gamble from Sebastian Vettel dropped the Ferrari down to fourth place. Red Bull's Max Verstappen picked up the vacant podium position.

The race had got off to a dramatic start when Romain Grosjean spun across the track on the opening lap and smashed into two rival cars to trigger an early safety car. There was also an early retirement for the second Ferrari after Kimi Raikkonen suffered technical issues.

Spanish Grand Prix - Race result

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes66 laps - 1:35:29.972s1
2Valtteri BottasMercedes+ 20.593s1
3Max VerstappenRed Bull+ 26.873s1
4Sebastian VettelFerrari+ 27.584s2
5Daniel RicciardoRed Bull+ 50.058s1
6Kevin MagnussenHaas+ 1 lap1
7Carlos SainzRenault+ 1 lap1
8Fernando AlonsoMcLaren+ 1 lap1
9Sergio PérezForce India+ 2 laps2
10Charles LeclercSauber+ 2 laps1
11Lance StrollWilliams+ 2 laps1
12Brendon HartleyToro Rosso+ 2 laps2
13Marcus EricssonSauber+ 2 laps1
14Sergey SirotkinWilliams+ 3 laps3
15Stoffel VandoorneMcLarenDNF1
16Esteban OconForce IndiaDNF1
17Kimi RäikkönenFerrariDNF1
18Romain GrosjeanHaasDNF0
19Pierre GaslyToro RossoDNF0
20Nico HülkenbergRenaultDNF0

The race started in bright conditions. The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya had long since dried up in time for the start of the race following its overnight soaking. However the rubber laid down by the cars in practice and qualifying had been washed away, meaning that it was a brave new world for the drivers when the lights went out to get the race underway.

Unlike most of the polesitters in the support races, Lewis Hamilton had no trouble getting off the line ahead of his Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas. However Sebastian Vettel positioned the Ferrari in the slipstream and was able to use the long run down to turn 1 to gain the advantage and take second place. Bottas shut the door on Kimi Raikkonen, with the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo watching the developments from a safe distance.

After the relative calm of the start, the storm broke two corners later. Romain Grosjean lost grip in dirty air behind his team mate and spun, sending the Haas veering across the track in a cloud of tyre smoke. He went right through the middle of the pack, coming close to wiping out everyone still coming through. In the end the unlucky winners of an early retirement proved to be Renault's Nico Hulkenberg and Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly.

A safety car was required to clean up the debris from multiple impacts and to remove the shattered cars. Racing resumed on lap 7, with Hamilton judging things to perfection to keep the lead from Vettel, Bottas, Raikkonen, Verstappen and Ricciardo. Kevin Magnussen had held on to seventh place ahead of Renault's Carlos Sainz, while Sauber's Charles Leclerc had leapt into the top ten ahead of Force India's Esteban Ocon.

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W09. 13.05.2018. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix

Ocon was soon demoted by Fernando Alonso, who had lost out in the original start as the only driver on supersofts. However, there was bad news for his McLaren team mate running in 14th place: Stoffel Vandoorne was handed a five second penalty after running wide in turn 1 at the start and failed to follow the correct procedure for returning to the track.

Hamilton soon pulled out a six second lead over the field, with Bottas bottled up behind Vettel and unable to get by. Wary of being undercut by Mercedes, Ferrari blinked first by pitting Vettel for new mediums on lap 18. Bottas attempted to punch in a couple of fast laps before making his own stop, but he was still a few metres short when he emerged from pit lane despite Vettel having to simultaneously contend with Magnussen who found himself in the middle of this crucial skirmish.

While Vettel was safe, his team mate was in a world of trouble. "I have some issue, no power," he told the Ferrari pit wall on lap 25. "Nothing, nothing." He managed to limp back to pit lane, but the SFH71 was swiftly hustled into the garage and the shutters came prematurely down on the Finn's Spanish endeavours.

Meanwhile more drivers had been making their way down pit lane, including Alonso who was keen to offload his shop worn supersofts for a new set of mediums. Unfortunately Ocon's pit stop was marred by horrible hold-up on the right rear wheel: the interminable delay dropped him down from seventh place to the back of the field and off the lead lap.

There were no such problems for Hamilton, who made his stop on lap 26 for a brisk service and new set of mediums. He came back out between the two Red Bulls who had yet to pit, and still ten seconds ahead of Vettel and Bottas in fourth and fifth. Ricciardo finally came in on lap 34 with his sights clearly set on one-stopping; Verstappen came in next time round on a similar strategy.

That restored Hamilton to the lead, still with his ten second margin over Vettel. Verstappen rejoined behind Bottas in fourth followed by Ricciardo and Magnussen, while Marcus Ericsson was up to sixth for Sauber as the final man yet to pit, putting him ahead of Sainz, with Leclerc and Alonso scrapping hard over ninth place.

The Swede finally pitted on lap 38, just before a Virtual Safety Car was deployed due to Ocon's VJM11 suffering a loss of power and being forced to park by the side of the track. Ferrari responded by taking the opportunity to pit Vettel for the second time, but it wasn't one of the team's swiftest stops and he dropped to fourth behind Verstappen.

When the race got back up to speed, Verstappen nerfed the back of Lance Stroll's Williams, damaging his own front wing. Fortunately the damaged endplate auto-detached before stewards could impose a pit stop on him. Meanwhile Stroll's team mate Sergey Sirotkin had his own restart drama with a balletic pirouette on the main straight; understandably, he pitted next time by to replace his hopelessly flat-spotted tyres.

Alonso had finally won his duel with the increasingly impressive Leclerc to claim eighth place. But once again, the Spaniard's good luck seemed to be at the cost of his team mate, with Vandoorne suffering a loss of power on the main straight forcing him to park the MCL33 at pit exit, where it could be retrieved without recourse to another VSC.

Spanish Grand Prix - podium

Vettel's gamble of stopping for fresh tyres hadn't paid dividends and he continued to trail Verstappen. Moreover, neither Mercedes was looking in need of a second stop and Hamilton's lead over Bottas was up to 20s, with Verstappen and Vettel another six seconds in arrears.

Ricciardo had a lonely race, circulating a further 25s back in fifth place and the last man on the lead lap. Magnussen was in sixth ahead of Sainz, who had been reporting fuel drop out issues reminiscent of those that had afflicted his team mate's qualifying session. Alonso was once again in the points in eighth, while Sergio Perez succeeded in passing Leclerc for ninth despite having picked up some debris from Verstappen's broken front wing.

Finishing just outside the points was Lance Stroll, with Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley beating Ericsson to 12th. The last man still running at the chequered flag was Sirotkin, who crossed the line in 14th place with six cars having retired during the 66-lap race.

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter