Lewis Hamilton continues his great form with victory in Spain. Mandatory Photo Credit: BBC

Thrilling Mercedes battle sees Hamilton win the Spanish Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton continued his fine vein of form by sealing his 26th Grand Prix win and his first ever in Spain.

Nico Rosberg finished just over a second behind his teammate, after he pushed the Brit all the way to the finish line in the last 10 laps to complete a Mercedes 1-2.

Taking the last place on the podium was Daniel Ricciardo. It was the Australian’s first ever podium and helped Red Bull produce their best performance of the season.

Sebastian Vettel was mightly impressive for Red Bull. Starting from a lowly 15th, he and his team produced a three stop strategy that, combined with brilliant driving, saw Vettel finish in 4th. Unsurprisingly, Vettel’s new found place saw Christian Horner tell the BBC that Vettel is now much happier with his car.

Valterri Bottas managed to equal his best result by grabbing 5th. The rookie was looking set for 4th, but was unable to hold off the aggressive and fast Vettel.

Red Bull were not the only one of the big names to improve. Ferrari had Alonso and Raikkonen finish 6th and 7th respectively, after a heated battle saw Raikkonen fall behind Alonso’s fresher tires with few laps remaining.

It looked like being another standard weekend for Lotus with Pastor Maldonado once again failing to avoid a collision as his teammate Romain Grosjean fell down the grid. Despite a lack of pace stopping him competing with the Ferrari team, he was able to take Lotus’ first points of the season from 8th place.

Force India continued to impress, with Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez grabbing 9th and 10th place respectively, with Perez driving well to grab the final point ahead of the poor performing McLaren team that saw Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen finish outside the points once again.

The race began with the first three corners being the focal points of the action. A slow start saw Button fall back, while Bottas managed to take a place on Ricciardo to grab 3rd. As he did this, Grosjean managed to lock up heavily, but recovered. Unable to recover was the other half of McLaren, as Magnussen went wide after slight contact.

The race settled down after the first few corners, but Maldonado once again managed to frustrate Lotus, and the F1 community, by crashing into Marcus Ericcson. It was a minor crash, with both able to continue, but showed the liability of the Lotus driver.

By now, the Mercedes pair were beginning to pull away as Ricciardo and Bottas started a lengthy battle between the two for 3rd place. Behind them, the two Ferrari’s and ex-Ferrari driver Felipe Massa were competing for 4th with just a second between them.

An envious Sebastian Vettel had to make do with taking the slower cars at the back of the field, but began his successful strategy by pitting in the 13th lap.

It began a trend that saw most of the top ten pit, with plenty of teams taking the three pit strategy. It was surprising, as Pirelli suggested a two stop was the expected outcome.

Once the pit lane crews returned to their garages, Hamilton began to build a gap with Rosberg sitting behind.

It seemed Lotus were heading for another poor weekend, as Grosjean had Raikonnen breathing down his neck. Four laps later, he was unable to prevent either Ferrari driver, as the Lotus looked slow compared to the two former World Champions.

In the same lap, there were signs it could be harder than it looked for Hamilton, as he began to claim differential issues were causing him to struggle with under-steer. Seemingly okay, Hamilton seemed unfazed as he built a four and a half second gap over Rosberg two laps later.

Vettel made his second pit and when he came out on fresh tires, the German began to blitz his way up the field, setting the fastest lap of the race on the 37th as the likes of Massa struggled to contain him.

The race had become more settled as it reached its conclusion, but the battle between Daniel Kvyat and Magnussen competing for 12th gave an insight into how far behind the chasing pack McLaren really are.

With ten laps remaining, Hamilton held his place ahead of a chasing Rosberg to take victory at the Spanish Grand Prix. While the three week break has seen the Mercedes team stay well ahead of the chasing pack, the improvement of the likes of Ferrari, Red Bull and Lotus shows that their break was much needed.

 

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Tags: Daniel Kyvat Daniel Ricciardo Fernando Alonso Ferrari Formula One Jenson Button Kevin Magnussen Kimi Raikkonen Lewis Hamilton Lotus McLaren Mercedes Nico Rosberg Red Bull Romain Grosjean Sebastian Vettel Spanish Grand Prix Toro Rosso Valtteri Bottas Williams

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