Sebastian Vettel concerned after Barcelona tyre struggle

Sebastian Vettel concerned after Barcelona tyre struggle

Sebastian Vettel concerned after Barcelona tyre struggle

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton won his second race of 2018 at Spanish Grand Prix.

Hamilton's strong run helped Mercedes re-establish order at the top of the field after seeing Ferrari dominate most of the early season.

"It was a rejuvenating experience", Hamilton said.

He led all but nine of the 66 laps after he emerged from his one and only stop behind Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who was also carrying out a one-stop race.

But the 33-year-old now sits 17 points clear of Sebastian Vettel at the top of the drivers' standings after winning by 20 seconds in Barcelona. I was on fresher tyres than Max.

"Today, the vehicle and myself, I felt that synergy which I hadn't been feeling for the whole year", Hamilton said.

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"So it's a good feeling".

The four times world champion and Mercedes have been talking about a lucrative new deal since past year, with regular assurances that it is on the point of being signed.

In qualifying, despite the Ferraris obviously not being 100 percent happy with their tyres, Sebastian Vettel managed to get within a sniff of pole position.

"Right now I've just got to keep my head down and keep doing what we've been doing". He has some serious records.

"It's going to be hard".

But for a man who can flit so easily between supreme confidence and form-affecting frustration, Hamilton's measured response to a significant victory is the sign of a driver with his focus fully on the long game and a fifth world title.

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"But [I have] the will to want to get this one and do it right, flawless weekend in, weekend out".

"So that's why I'm only partly celebrating".

He had won in Bahrain and in the season-opener in Australia, when he wasn't as dominant as Hamilton but took advantage of a safety vehicle to win on race strategy.

Ricciardo was fifth in Barcelona, ahead of Kevin Magnussen of Haas and the Spanish duo of Carlos Sainz of Renault and Fernando Alonso of McLaren. Sergio Perez finished in ninth place ahead of the Sauber of Charles Leclerc. Ten laps after the Ferraris had pitted, Hamilton ducked into the pits with nearly 20 seconds to spare ahead of the next vehicle.

"Apparently, the changes that were made did us more harm than it did our opponents", Ferrari's Vettel said.

Ferrari's call to stop Vettel for a second time, albeit under virtual safety vehicle conditions, has been heavily criticised by people who don't have access to the necessary data, such is the wonder of that most public of forums, the internet. However, on new medium tyres versus Verstappen's worn softs, Hamilton was still unable to overtake.

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"I never believed we can do a one-stop", he said. Why on earth he kept his foot hard on the throttle, spun back into the pack and created that smoke cloud I have no idea, but it was an extremely unsafe thing to do.

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