Lewis Hamilton has revived the fight for the title by winning on Sunday at the F1 Spanish Grand Prix in front of Sebastian Vettel.
After the disappointment of Sochi, where he had not managed a place on the podium, the British F1 driver for Mercedes clinched his second victory of the season, ahead by more than three seconds of the Ferrari of Vettel. “This has really been a very good weekend and bounce back after Russia”, said Lewis Hamilton, the triple world F1 champion.
“He won without discussion, although obviously I can not be satisfied with this result”, admitted Vettel, who has finished on the podium in every race this year. The new technical upgrades made this weekend to the cars by all the teams could challenge the return in great shape of Ferrari, only the third constructors’ championship in 2016.
But this race in Catalonia has confirmed what we already knew: the Mercedes, who reigned supreme since 2014, no longer exists and each Grand Prix is now a fierce battle with the Scuderia for the team led by toto Wolff. The race has also verified the predictions of the Pirelli tire selection made for this weekend. With hard tires without any practical interest on this track, and tire medium almost two seconds slower than the soft lap, at least in qualifying tire choice has had a major influence on the place of the race.
In this regard, the British and German followed diametrically opposed strategies. While the virtual safety car was deployed to clear the McLaren-Honda Stoffel Vandoorne, Hamilton took advantage in the 38th lap to change tyres to the soft compound instead of medium. One lap later, Vettel was doing exactly the reverse operation and came out just ahead of his rival, he lacked enough speed and grip and they had slight contact between the two cars.
Ocon beautiful fifth
Ferrari, supposed to manage tyre wear, however, was exceeded after five rounds chase after the straight. Hamilton not relaxed its grip thereafter, allowing him to return to the six points of Vettel in the drivers ‘championship, while in the constructors’ standings, Mercedes now leads Ferrari’s by eight points.
Highly anticipated at the place of his triumph last year, which made him the youngest winner of a Grand Prix history, Max Vertsappen (Red Bull) lived a very short race, to the disappointment of thousands of Dutch fans came to support him. The first lap was indeed eventful. Vettel sprang initially to get the better of Hamilton while the Finn Raikkonen, slightly hit by fellow Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), hit into Max Verstappen, resulting in the abandonment of the two men.
At the same time, pushed by Felipe Massa (Williams), Spanish Fernando Alonso (McLaren-Honda) was push over on to the grass and emerged into the main pack while the Brazilian returned to the pits to repair. After beautiful qualifications, Alonso, the local hero finished his first race in 2017, to 12th, before leaving for the Indianapolis 500 in two weeks.
Bottas was forced to retire on the 39th lap after a small fire on his car. Australian Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) finished third, his first of the season, after having lived a very quiet afternoon, more than a minute and leaders from the rest of the pack. On the French side, the smiles were in order. Esteban Ocon, 20, managed to finish with his career best, in 5th place, just behind Force India teammate, the Mexican Sergio Perez.
Romain Grosjean (Haas), earned a point at the very end of the race, probably a satisfaction for him after a difficult weekend. And Renault won eight valuable points with a sixth with the German Nico Hülkenberg.