F1 2018 Spanish Grand Prix: Could 2nd or 3rd have won?

Phil Duncan

Hartley started the race in last place but he gave everything he had to move up eight spots. In a strong race for Mercedes, his team-mate Valtteri Bottas was second, with the Red Bull of Max Verstappen in third.

Vettel will be desperate to get back to winning ways after finishes of 8th, 4th, and 4th in his last three races have seen him drop to 17 points behind Lewis Hamilton in the leaderboard. This was also Mercedes' first one-two of the campaign and sent them back on top.

"This is more like it, let's keep this up", Hamilton told his celebrating team over the radio as he swept past the checkered flag. The Briton started the race on pole and managed to retain the lead throughout despite close competition from Ferrari and Red Bull. "I felt really comfortable in the auto". "It's a good feeling".

Mercedes has struggled compared to Ferrari at times this season, with Sebastian Vettel winning the opening two races and taking three consecutive pole positions as the Scuderia had a more consistent vehicle. Haas F1 Team's Kevin Magnussen finished sixth, while the Spanish crowd got a nice showing from Renault Sport F1 Team's Carlos Sainz Jr. and McLaren F1 Team's Fernando Alonso, with the two Spaniards finishing seventh and eighth.

Vettel's second slow stop was not helped by Sergio Perez entering the pits at the same time for Force India, but he claimed: "It was my mistake". And though the Mercedes men locked out the front row, the biggest surprise (shock?) came when Ferrari sent its drivers out on the Soft tyre for their final runs in qualifying. Race by race we are understanding the tyres more.

But Vettel struggled with tire wear and Ferrari made a decision to bring him in for an extra stop. The stop occurred under VSC conditions and he emerged from it behind Verstappen and was ultimately unable to get close enough to the Dutchman to try and pass.

Mercedes was in front in Barcelona the entire weekend, setting the fastest time in all practice sessions and taking pole position with Hamilton - his first since the season-opener in Australia. Vettel won in Australia and Bahrain, while Ricciardo was first in China and Hamilton triumphed in Azerbaijan. The Frenchman then speared across the circuit, into Renault's Nico Hülkenberg and Toro Rosso-Honda's Pierre Gasly, both of whom suffered race-ending damage in the collision. But we still have improvements to make and performance to add to the auto.

"But we could easily go to the next race and struggle and be nowhere".

"It wasn't so comfortable as it looked because the race was good", Wolff said.

Kiw driver Brendon Hartley moved up eight spots from the back of the grid to finish the race 12th, although what damage his auto took to claim that spot remains unclear after he was forced to pull over immediately after crossing the finish.

Soon it became just one Ferrari in the hunt for a podium finish as Kimi Raikkonen was forced to retire with mechanical issues. McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne also retired because of a auto failure.

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