Vettel still confident despite Hamilton's win at Spanish GP
- Author: Rosalie Stanley May 20, 2017,
May 20, 2017, 1:22
Lewis Hamilton won the 66-lap race at Catalunya for Mercedes, finishing four seconds ahead of the Ferrari of Sebastien Vettel, with Ricciardo's Red Bull more than a minute behind. I felt like I ran out of road. "I was a bit lucky that there was always a vehicle ahead giving me a bit of a tow, but as soon as I was alone he just flew past". "The strategy was great, but it was the driver who won it", said Mercedes F1's non-executive chairman Niki Lauda.
Hamilton has cut the gap on Vettel at the top of the standings to six points after five rounds of this year's Formula 1 championship with his second victory of the season and 55th overall.
Hamilton's victory came after a puzzling weekend in Russian Federation which saw the three-time world champion uncharacteristically out of sorts, finishing a distant fourth.
DANIEL Ricciardo scored his first podium finish of the year with third place in the Spanish Grand Prix, but the Perth driver did have luck on his side.
After Hamilton's stop, Ferrari pitted a lap later and Vettel emerged wheel to wheel with Hamilton, holding position with a firm defensive move at Turn 1.
Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen were wiped out of the race after an early collision, while Bottas' engine eventually packed up. Bottas nudged Raikkonen into Verstappen, with the contact damaging the front suspensions of the Ferrari and Red Bull. "It was shame to not be able to take part in the race after the incident as I think with this weekend's upgrades it could have been fun and we could have got a good result".
"I lost two kilos [in weight during the race]", Hamilton revealed, having taken the chequered flag less than four seconds clear of Vettel.
"It could have been a rewarding strategy but with the Virtual Safety Car the guys in front had a free pit stop".
"Sometimes you have a bit of luck, like last year, sometimes you don't as we can see this year", Verstappen said. So I think we can be very happy, but today we're not entirely happy because the win was there, the auto was good enough, but the way the race happened it wasn't meant to be.
"We just had a very close battle today and if it had gone a different direction, it would have been different between us", said Hamilton, who went wheel-to-wheel with the German after Vettel's final pitstop and sounded breathless at times. Then, when I was alone, he just flew past me down the straight.
Spain's double world champion Fernando Alonso, starting seventh for McLaren after a troubled practice, was forced into the gravel in a tussle with Williams's Felipe Massa and dropped to 13th. He added his hopeful 12th-place finish to the leg of Spanish ham that a fan handed him over a barbed-wire fence while he was greeting his home supporters before the race.