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Hamilton wins Spanish GP, strengthens lead in F1 standings

Hamilton wins Spanish GP, strengthens lead in F1 standings

An overjoyed Lewis Hamilton has said he had no idea how the 2018 Spanish Grand Prix would play out, but was glad to finally claim a dominant victory.

Hamilton never really had much of a challenge all race, taking the lead at the start, and except for one pit stop, regained the lead on lap 35 and kept it for rest of the afternoon.

Arriving in Spain, Ferrari boasted the grid's most complete package, but Hamilton's display was a return to the Mercedes of old with Valtteri Bottas following his team-mate home to secure the world champions their first one-two finish of the campaign.

Procession remained relatively peaceful until the pit stop war began with Ferrari hailing Vettel in for a set of medium tires after lap 18 for a 2.5 second stop. Ferrari had a far from ideal end to the Spanish GP as Sebastian Vettel finished fourth.

Hamilton later added: "Today I felt a synergy with the vehicle that I hadn't been feeling all year".

Some observers were sceptical of this explanation, but Wolff said Mercedes, too, were experiencing heavier than expected tyre wear - and in fact had brought forward Hamilton's only pit stop as a result of discovering at Bottas' stop that his tyres were nearly worn out.

It was a fairly straightforward win for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton.

"It felt good. It was the closest I've been to feeling it is all going right, but there are still things that are not quite ideal". I don't know how many times he spins on a race weekend.

The Brit gave praise to the Mercedes team though, saying it was not all his work.

The safety vehicle has helped add to the drama of the early part of the 2018 season and its appearance early in Sunday's race means it has been used in the opening five races of a championship for the first time.

Daniel Ricciardo was fifth in the second Red Bull; Magnussen in the Haas in sixth; Renault's Carlos Sainz in seventh.

Charles Leclerc of Sauber and Sergio Perez of Force India closed out the top 10.

As a result, his auto created a cloud of black smoke and was invisible to following drivers as they raced into it - Nico Hulkenberg, of Renault, and Pierre Gasly, of Toro Rosso - both smashing into him.

He was at his very best in Melbourne but was then, by his own admission, off-colour in Bahrain, China and even Baku despite his victory. It had seemed as though the Dutchman had blown another opportunity for a strong finish when he collided with Lance Stroll just after a Virtual Safety Car period, but the damage to his front wing did not seem to seriously jeopardise his race from that point.

"Race by race we are understanding the tyres more", he said. The next race on the calendar is the Monaco Grand Prix on 27 May. Following a safety auto appearance, Hamilton got the whole shot on the restart and rabbited away.

"I was trying to go for every sector record", he laughed.

But Ferrari brought him in for a second pitstop when the virtual safety vehicle appeared just past half-distance, dropping Vettel from second to fourth.

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