Spanish Grand Prix driver ratings: Hamilton flawless, Verstappen on song, Vettel struggles

Spanish Grand Prix driver ratings: Hamilton flawless, Verstappen on song, Vettel struggles

The American team showed excellent pace in pre-season testing in Barcelona and based on early-season results it would seem that low-fuel runs or some kind of testing trickery were not behind their headline times in testing.

"I think today has been a rejuvenating experience", Hamilton said.

This was the first time this year that Mercedes had dominated a weekend. Our ambition needs to be that we're better off rather than worse off.

Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene has called on the team to be calm in its analysis of the performance and Vettel agrees with that approach.

"I lost the rear end of the auto and then tried to get the position back, but it didn't work", said a crestfallen Grosjean afterwards.

Vettel won this race back in 2011.

When the virtual safety auto was deployed after Esteban Ocon retired at the side of the track on lap 41, Ferrari gambled on fitting new rubber to Vettel's vehicle but the stop was slow and he emerged behind Bottas and Verstappen in fourth place, sacrificing track position they could not get back. When there is no surface left on the tyre it is so easy to lose temperature and if you let it switch off you are done and you are going to start locking up.

"I think we had a very fast race vehicle again today".

Even though Verstappen suffered vehicle damage after a weird collision with Lance Stroll in the Williams, Vettel could not challenge and he believes Ferrari, who have had the consistently quicker auto this year, never had the pace in Spain.

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Vettel replied: "I think you should ask us what we need to overtake".

"Ferrari made a mistake with their strategy, but for us, to get a 1-2 - it's really hard to do that". Then, once I got going and got a good start - after that no-one had the pace to keep up with me and I was pulling away at a second a lap.

Why were Mercedes much more relatively competitive in Spain than in the past three races? The circuit suits us, the Tarmac suits us, the cold weather suits us and I would be careful with predictions.

'There were three things this weekend.

Verstappen had trailed Raikkonen throughout the first stint but the Finn suffered a suspected engine issue and slowed, dropping out of fourth place, before retiring altogether.

"That's more like it guys, great job", said Hamilton on team radio. Since then they have struggled, largely with optimising the tyre temperature operating window but in Barcelona it clicked perfectly, especially for Hamilton who finished 20 seconds up the road from his team-mate.

On Sunday, the German admitted: "No excuses - they were faster than us and beat us fair and square this time, but we can bounce back".

"We did 47 laps with that set of tyres, which was quite risky, but it brought the result for us". On top of that, we had different tyres that maybe suited others better than us.

'But the bottom line is that we are not quick enough today to win, and that is what needs to be addressed'.

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