Mercedes-AMG enjoyed a return to dominant form over the weekend at the 2018 Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix and as a result secured a one-two victory, its first of the season.
Star driver Lewis Hamilton after starting on pole crossed the finish line first on Sunday at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya, with teammate Valtteri Bottas crossing just over 20 seconds back.
Third place went to Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen, some 26 seconds behind the winner. He was fortunate to finish so high considering he sustained some light damage to his front wing after driving into the rear of Williams’ Lance Stroll during a virtual safety car period.
The race started with the sun playing hide-and-seek with the clouds, after a night of heavy rain. Hamilton and Bottas were in full control, but Ferrari men Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen were right behind snapping at their heels.
But the first lap wasn’t even over when disaster struck. Haas’ Romain Grosjean spun and triggered a string of collisions, taking not only himself out but also Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly. Grosjean was later handed a three-place grid penalty for the next round in Monaco along with two penalty points on his license.
The race restarted at the end of the sixth lap in the same positions and was running smoothly, but then things started to go wrong for Ferrari. Vettel’s tires weren’t keeping up, which required him to pit a second time, while most drivers were on a one-stop strategy. He also struggled with the balance of the car and in the end could only finish fourth. The day turned out worse for Räikkönen who suffered from a power issue for much of the race and ultimately had to retire. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo claimed fifth.
The strong performance of the Mercedes duo means their team has moved into the lead for the 2018 Constructors’ Championship with a tally of 153 points. Ferrari is second with 126 points and Red Bull third with 80 points. In the Drivers’ Championship, Hamilton now enjoys a substantial lead over second-placed Vettel, with the Briton sitting on 95 points versus the German’s 78. Bottas sits in third with 58 points. The next round is the Monaco Grand Prix on May 27.