The Spanish Grand Prix was one of pure dominance for Mercedes AMG Petronas.
After Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas locked out the front row, with Hamilton scoring the pole, the two rolled to a 1-2 for Mercedes on race day, as the team returned to its dominant self after a somewhat slow start to the 2018 season.
Taking advantage of a one-stop strategy, Hamilton was never under genuine threat at any point and made things look easy out front.
Bottas, meanwhile, had to regain P2 after losing out to Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel on the start, with Vettel getting ahead and into second.
Bottas got his chance under a Virtual Safety Car on Lap 42 – Sahara Force India’s Esteban Ocon stopped on track with a mechanical problem – as Ferrari elected to pit Vettel a second time to take on new Medium compound Pirellis.
The stop moved Bottas back into second, and elevated Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen to third, with Vettel dropping to fourth after a slow stop.
When racing resumed, Vettel simply could not muster enough of a challenge to get back into a podium position, this despite Verstappen suffering front wing damage after contact with Williams Martini Racing’s Lance Stroll under the VSC.
In the end, Verstappen rounded out the podium behind Hamilton and Bottas, with Vettel consigned to fourth on a day that Ferrari might be disappointed with – teammate Kimi Raikkonen dropped out early with power unit troubles on Lap 25.
Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo drove a quiet race to finish fifth. 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.
Sergio Perez finished ninth for Force India, while Alfa Romeo Sauber’s Charles Leclerc scored points for the second consecutive race, finishing tenth.
Of note, a number of cars retired due to an opening lap pileup, sparked by Haas driver Romain Grosjean drifting wide in Turn 3 and spinning across the track. He collected Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly, with all three dropping out with crash damage.
The win increases Hamilton’s lead in the driver’s championship to 17 points over Vettel (95 to 78). Bottas ranks third with 58 points.
Results from the Spanish Grand Prix are below. The next event for the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is the Monaco Grand Prix on May 24-27.