Hamilton takes another record from Schumacher in Spain

Lewis Hamilton Sebastian Vettel F1 news

Out came the safety vehicle with Hamilton then executing a masterful restart to leave Vettel for dust before establishing a comfortable cushion over his rival.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel could manage only fourth after his team took a second pitstop for the German behind the virtual safety auto that lost him track position. "So our ambition has to be that we're better off rather than worse off", reasoned Vettel.

"This is more like it", the four-time champion said after the race.

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.

"The season so far has been positive for us".

With Hamilton once again in clean air out front he held the lead on Vettel at over ten-seconds, when the virtual safety auto was deployed after Esteban Ocon's retired at the side of the track on lap 41.

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Wolff, whose cars made a single stop each and brought home a one-two, said Vettel's VSC stop did not come as a surprise given the way Red Bull had pulled off Chinese GP victory with a similar strategy earlier this year.

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was a track where Mercedes was expected to run well, but the next race is in Monaco, where the team has struggled in recent years. Esteban Ocon, who ran a good race till a delayed pit-stop ruined his chances, had to retire after his auto ran out of power. Up until this weekend, the SF71H has been kindest on its tyres while also working in the broadest range of temperatures and conditions.

Ferrari and Vettel clearly felt the consequences of the decision - but so did Mercedes, who capitalised to take both first and second place. Mercedes, meanwhile, were the most obvious beneficiaries.

When he jumped out of his vehicle to celebrate Mercedes' first one-two victory of the season, Valtteri Bottas looked back at his front tyres to see there was nearly no rubber left on the carcass. However, Ferrari caught everyone by surprise when they chose to call Vettel in the pits (under the VSC period) for the second time. Verstappen was able to leapfrog the Ferrari as it sat stationary for an age, and despite front wing damage from bizarrely running into Stroll's Williams under the safety vehicle, Verstappen was able to snare a much-needed first podium of the year. This 64th career victory is his third in Barcelona.

The ensuing loss of a front-wing endplate didn't have a major impact on the end result but Verstappen is still without a clean weekend in 2018.

Lap 30/66 Ricciardo pits from third place and rejoins on the mediums in fifth.

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Ricciardo's team-mate Max Verstappen said he did not mind the cars being slower "if it makes racing better". His 1:18.441 was more than three seconds faster than the previous record - a 1:21.670 - set by Kimi Raikkonen in 2008.

Lap 17/66 Hamilton now seven seconds clear at the front.

No one will complain if these changes promote overtaking, but there is scepticism through the paddock that they will. Bottas finished fourth and Hamilton was seventh. One of them was Haas driver Romain Grosjean, who spun his auto following the start into Turn 1, collecting Nico Hulkenberg and Pierre Gasly, which put all three out of the race with sufficient damage.

Fernando Alonso dominated the radiowaves, asking his team several times if rain was on the way. His finish helped Haas jump up to 6th place with 19 points, one ahead of Force India.

A lack of pace after a promising start to the season. If not off to Ferrari in 2019, Haas might be eager to have the young star in their vehicle instead of an underperforming Grosjean.

The Dutchman managed to keep his nose clean - well, nearly as he lost a part of his front wing towards the end of the 66-lap race - and make up for the incidents that had brought scrutiny to his driving style. Sergey Sirotkin, meanwhile, finished 14th and last.

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