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F1: Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2 in Spain

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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.

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Reports: Fernando Alonso to test on September 5 at Barber Motorsports Park

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According to a number of media stories Thursday afternoon and evening, two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will reportedly test an Indy car at Barber Motorsports Park on Wednesday, September 5.

The 2.38-mile permanent road course just outside Birmingham, Alabama, per those stories, will play host to Alonso as he reportedly tests with IndyCar’s Andretti Autosport team and Honda.

Honda Performance Development (HPD) President Art St. Cyr issued a statement late Thursday afternoon about Alonso’s reported upcoming test:

“Fernando Alonso is one of the premier racing drivers of this generation, and we very much enjoyed working with him at the 2017 Indianapolis 500.

“He has shown that he can be very competitive right off the bat, and it would be great for IndyCar if he were to decide to drive here full-time after his F1 career. Having Alonso as a driver would be an obvious benefit for any team or manufacturer.”

However, St. Cyr’s statement also included a reference to Honda potentially not being able to field a new engine for Alonso in the IndyCar series in 2019.

“Our engine lease agreements are made between HPD and specific teams,” St. Cyr’s statement said. “Several of our current IndyCar Series teams already have agreements in place with HPD for the 2019 season, and we have been operating near maximum capacity all year long to properly provide powerful, reliable engines for all of our teams.

“We have had discussions with several current and potential teams for 2019, and those discussions are ongoing.”

Rumors of Alonso potentially racing for a hybrid operation that would include Andretti Autosport, McLaren and Harding Racing have been picking up speed. But there’s one potential major hurdle: Harding’s Dallara’s are powered by Chevrolet engines.

Alonso announced earlier this week that he’d be retiring from Formula One at season’s end, saying he’s looking forward to new adventures.

Because of his loyalty to McLaren, it’s increasingly looking as if Alonso comes to IndyCar, McLaren will have some involvement – although perhaps not as much as it potentially could do if it went all-in with a full-time effort immediately in 2019.

There is no word whether Chevrolet or Harding Racing could potentially be on hand at the Sept. 5 test at BMP, even in just an observation role.

Since being part of the winning team at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, Alonso’s desire to become only the second driver to win motorsport’s triple crown – the Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500 – has increased exponentially.

He’s already won the first two; just a Indy 500 triumph remains on his bucket list.

The late Graham Hill is the only driver to have accomplished the triple crown feat to date.

Alonso, who turned 37 on July 29, has made just one prior IndyCar start, in the 2017 Indianapolis 500. He led 27 laps of the 200-lap event and appeared to have a car strong enough to win before it suffered engine failure with 21 laps remaining.

Instead of what likely could have been a top-five finish, if not a win, Alonso’s first foray into IndyCar racing ended disappointingly with a 24th-place finish.

In addition to being courted by IndyCar, NASCAR has also jumped into the Alonso sweepstakes, saying he’d be welcome to race in the 2019 Daytona 500.

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