Hamilton takes pole for Spanish GP with track record

Hamilton takes pole for Spanish GP with track record

Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes will be able to apply pressure to Ferrari on a more consistent basis, such was the level of his performance in the Spanish Grand Prix. "It is always a hard decision to make and we debated it here again and for us it was clear that track position was more important", he said.

"I have said many times this team is strong and we have a lot of potential but we also need to make sure we address the problems we have and work together in the same direction".

Lewis Hamilton has extended his lead at the summit of the Formula One championship after a crushing win at the Spanish Grand Prix while his rival Sebastian Vettel faltered to fourth.

In Ferrari's favour, Mercedes has struggled at certain circuits in past years, including Monaco.

"I think today has been a rejuvenating experience", he said. "It's a really good feeling".

It was the 64th victory of his career - only Michael Schumacher on 91 has more - and came from his 74th pole.

McLaren, Renault and Red Bull all bolted on major updates in Barcelona - indeed McLaren said this was essentially their proper 2018 race auto.

The concern for Red Bull is that, despite a sizeable upgrade of their RB14 chassis for this weekend, they were unable to qualify higher than the third row and, running behind Raikkonen in the opening stint, finished the race almost half a minute behind Hamilton. On the Super Soft tyre, Vettel was the first driver to dip into the 1min17sec-mark with a 1:16.8.

"I was comfortable but at no point did I feel like I was going to lose it".

Hamilton will hope also that Ferrari fail to repeat the form that brought them a one-two finish in the Mediterranean principality a year ago where Vettel won.

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Daniel Ricciardo was fifth, ahead of Kevin Magnussen, Carlos Sainz, Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc.

Ferrari have had the best vehicle so far this year, but Spain marked a turning point with Mercedes dominating throughout the weekend.

He fell behind both Bottas and Verstappen and was never able to get back in range despite his newer tyres.

"We let him down in Melbourne, which could have been an easy win, with an error and that stays in your mind". I think it was the right thing to do.

The Mercedes ace started from pole after a breathtaking lap in qualifying and led from lights to flag in Barcelona.

Sebastian Vettel is concerned but not panicked after falling even further behind in the world championship battle in Spain.

It was a lukewarm Spanish GP, especially compared to the thrilling races seen in China and Azerbaijan.

As a result, his auto created a cloud of black smoke and was invisible to following drivers as they raced into it - Nico Hulkenberg, of Renault, and Pierre Gasly, of Toro Rosso - both smashing into him.

No such trouble for Hamilton at the head of the field who, after six laps behind the safety auto, set about establishing a commanding lead over Vettel.

Hamilton crossed the line 21 seconds clear of Bottas, with Vettel 0.7 sec behind Verstappen.

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