Formula One: The Spanish Grand Prix takes us back to 2017

Paola Ditto
Mag 17, 2018

BC-CAR-F1-Cautious Mercedes, 1st Ld-Writethru, 552Mercedes cautious despite a commanding victory in SpainAP Photo XDMV159, XDMV163, XDMV161, XDMV165, XDMV134, XDMV160, XDMV114, XDMV127Eds: Minor edits; Adds new photo links.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton said his dominant Spanish Grand Prix victory had revitalised him after a hard start to the season.

Starting on pole for the first time since the season-opener in Melbourne, Hamilton avoided the melee caused by Haas driver Romain Grosjean's crash on the opening lap, to take control of the race.

Drivers have attacked the lack of consultation over "comical" changes that will be introduced next season, while the head of F1's governing body has accused them of failing to attend meetings to discuss the plans.

"It has been a rejuvenating experience", Hamilton said.

"It was a busy day", admitted the Spaniard, "but certainly a productive one for me and the team". I felt that synergy which I hadn't been feeling for the whole year.

"Obviously we don't want to lose him and I don't think he wants to go anywhere else".

"But we know as well that this was a good circuit for us and the temperatures fell in our favour as well. So we need to stay calm and humble, because it can be a different ball game again next time".

The victory puts Hamilton 17 points clear of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in the Drivers Championship, after the latter was forced to make a second pit-stop under a Virtual Safety Car period due to degrading tyre life.

Many Formula One fans have been led to believe that Saturday in Monaco is the most important qualifying session of the season, however, statistics suggest it's even most critical to get your one-lap runs right in Spain.

Hamilton joined Mercedes from McLaren on a three-year deal in 2013 and renewed his contract for the same period of time mid-2015, meaning he is out of contract at the end of 2018.

After three races in which driver and the team have struggled to unlock performance from tyres and auto, Mercedes finally had the platform required at the Circuit de Catalunya.

"We had updates and maybe the others brought more than us". When the race resumed, Hamilton seemingly got into a groove setting the fastest lap on the seventh lap and began widening the gap between him and Vettel. He rejoined the race behind Bottas and Verstappen. Both Mercedes drivers were able to keep pace on old tires, which allowed Bottas to jump Vettel and finish in a strong 2nd place. "We had a good baseline to work with from the test, so our focus has been further understanding the auto and tyres".

Hamilton turned on the style to crush his rivals by winning so impressively in Spain on Sunday and extend his championship lead to a healthy 17 points over Sebastian Vettel.

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