Lewis Hamilton has reduced his driver’s championship deficit to Sebastian Vettel to just six points after claiming a memorable victory at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Although the Brit started from pole, it wasn’t an easy victory. In fact, Sebastian Vettel leaped off the line from second position to snatch the race lead heading into the first corner. At almost exactly the same moment, both Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen crashed out after the Iceman was clipped by Valtteri Bottas and pushed into The Flying Dutchman.
Vettel quickly opened a 2+ second gap to Hamilton and it seemed he may have continued to sprint away with victory. However, the Mercedes team pressured Vettel into pitting early, giving Hamilton the lead on lap 15.
Hamilton then pitted six laps later while his teammate, Bottas, stayed out and briefly led the race ahead of Vettel and Hamilton. The Russian GP winner did an excellent job of slowing up Vettel, furiously defending his position to allow Hamilton to sneak up to Vettel.
Both Vettel and Hamilton managed to pass Bottas before fate intervened and a virtual safety car was deployed following an incident between Stoffel Vandoorne and Felipe Massa. This allowed the Mercedes team a free pitstop where they brought Hamilton in for the soft compound tires.
Vettel was forced to respond three laps later and after exiting the pits side-by-side with Hamilton, the two made contact in the middle of turn 1 and the Brit was pushed wide. While Vettel hung onto the lead for six laps, Hamilton eventually made the winning move on his faster tires by overtaking the four-time world champion down the pit straight on lap 44.
There were a number of other intense battles further down in the top 10, including between Carlos Sainz and Pascal Wehrlein for seventh place. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo ultimately claimed the final step on the podium (75 seconds behind Hamilton) while fourth and fifth were claimed by Force India’s Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon.