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Mercedes-AMG dominates 2018 Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix

14 May 2018

It was a fairly straightforward win for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton.

Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas was second, in 1:16.213, with Vettel third and 0.132 off the pace.

The defending world champion had to wait until the fourth round in Azerbaijan to pick up his first win of the campaign, but an imperious drive in Barcelona made it back-to-back victories for the Briton.

"We weren't happy with the performance of the cars and we needed to sort things out". "It's a good feeling".

Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix was destined to be full of turmoil from before it began, courtesy of rain overnight that cut grip levels at Circuit de Catalunya.

"I remember like it was yesterday sitting at home playing this computer game as Michael, " Hamilton said. He wasn't fast enough to keep pace with Hamilton up front but looked quick enough to at least secure second place. "It's hard to beat all of these records that he has".

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Sunday's race will also be the first this year without a Ferrari on the front row.

The man with more pole positions than any other driver in the history of Formula One, his tally now standing at 74, had been going through a drought since Australia in March. "So I hope we can continue".

Danish driver Kevin Magnussen qualified seventh for Haas, ahead of Spaniards Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz for McLaren and Renault respectively. Rookie sensation Charles LeClerc earned his second points finish of the season in 10th place, behind Sergio Perez's Force India. He now has 95 points to Vettel's 78 after five rounds of the 21-race championship.

With the in-the-groove Hamilton having the luxury of not having to pit for fresh tyres for another eight laps, the lead Mercedes was always going to have a significant tyre advantage over the Ferrari provided the leaders did not need to pit for fresh tyres again.

While on the day Vettel was probably not a realistic winning chance, second place - rather than his eventual fourth placing - had been eminently achievable.

"I think, as a team, this weekend we have been flawless, and we just need to continue like that and for me also the wins are going to come", Bottas said.

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At the start, Lewis Hamilton darted out to a solid lead while Sebastian Vettel settled into the slipstream behind the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.

The leading cars navigated the opening metres without drama before the error-prone Romain Grosjean, once labelled a "first-lap nutcase" by Mark Webber, lived up to that title by sparking a huge crash after he lost control of his Haas at Turn 3 and slid back across the track in a cloud of tyre smoke.

Vettel had pitted when the virtual safety vehicle was deployed to slow the field, something that had played in his favour at previous races.

Vettel was the first driver to stop for new rubber, pitting on lap 18, and Ferrari also chose to sacrifice track position later in the race to take on new tyres under the virtual safety vehicle because Vettel was expected to be marginal on tyre wear.

"We got the luck with Kimi [Raikkonen, Ferrari] retiring, but the tyres were handling really well, so I think that gave us third position today". Also suffering mechanical issues were Stoffel Vandoorne and Esteban Ocon for McLaren and Force India respectively.

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Mercedes-AMG dominates 2018 Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix