Spanish Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton takes a thrilling 55th career win in Spain
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News May 14, 2017 Updated: 11:58 PM
BARCELONA, Spain -- Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton claimed his 55th career win at this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix after a hard fought battle with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
“It’s been a long, long time coming to Barcelona [for me] and I can say it didn’t start out the greatest when I first came but it has grown so much and my love and appreciation for the country has grown so much as well, so thank you. The team did an incredible job today... what an amazing... that’s how racing should be," Hamilton said.
Vettel started the race strong as he looked to have a comfortable lead before a strong strategy from Mercedes and a focused Lewis Hamilton were able to come together to turn the tables on the Scuderia with Vettel finishing second.
Red Bulls's Daniel Ricciardo finished third as he was able to take advantage of the retirements of both Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen.
Force India, who continue to consistently score points, ended the the day with a solid fourth and fifth place finish from Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon with the Renault Nico Hulkenberg in sixth.
“It has been an incredible day for us and I’m very proud of our team and the job we have done all weekend. Everything worked out for us and we have come away with some big points,” Perez said.
“I’m really happy today. There’s still a lot we can achieve this year: we are always there when it counts and the car is consistently fast. Scoring points every time we go out is what really matters for the championship so we need to keep up this consistency,” Ocon said.
But, the standout result has to go Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein. He had an incredible drive and scored the team’s first points of the season after qualifying 15th on Saturday to finish eighth despite receiving a five second penalty for driving the wrong side of a bollard on the pit lane entrance.
“We could not have expected such a result after the practice sessions. It feels very good to finish this race surprisingly in the points. I want to thank the whole team, as everyone has done a great job throughout the whole weekend. Now I hope that the further updates on the car will also move us forward in Monaco and that we can repeat such results,” Wehrlein said.
Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat finished ninth with Haas’ Romain Grosjean in tenth taking the last points of the race.
Wehrlein’s Sauber teammate Marcus Ericsson ended the day 11th, just missing out on a double point finish for the Swiss team.
Twelfth and 13th went to McLaren-Honda’s Fernando Alonso and Williams’ Felipe Massa, with Kevin Magnussen, Jolyon Palmer, and Lance Stroll finishing out the order in 14th, 15th and 16th.
At the start of the race, Valtteri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen, and Max Verstappen all collided with each other. Raikkonen and Verstappen suffered heavy suspension damage, resulting in both cars being put out of the race.
Bottas suffered an engine failure about midway through the race. He was running a previously used engine the team put in after they discovered a water leak in his newer engine over the weekend.
Further down Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso came into contact with each other, forcing Alonso’s car into the gravel. Massa and Alonso continued with Alonso losing position and Massa having to pit to repair damage to his car.
Alonso’s teammate, Stoffel Vandoorne, was unlucky as he attempted to pass Williams driver Felipe Massa at turn 1. The two touched resulting in Vandoorne damaging his suspension forcing him to retire from the race.
Throughout most of the race Hamilton remained focused despite taking a moment to question the life of his soft tires during the final few laps. However, the solid communication from the team eased his concerns as he was able to hold a 3.5s lead over Vettel at the end of the race.
With five rounds now completed, Lewis Hamilton has cut Sebastian Vettel’s lead in the driver’s championship down to six points as the battle continues in two weeks at the Monaco Grand Prix.