Read Giles Richards' race report
So Lewis Hamilton joins Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher on a very small list of drivers to have won three grands prix at the Circuit de Catalunya. He dominated the entire weekend and completed victory with the minimum of fuss. You could see from his reaction that he believes something big is brewing …
“It felt really good today. I don’t now how it looked but it felt special. Really strong. Once I got going after a good start no one had the pace to keep up with me. I was pulling away more than a second a lap. There are still areas that weren’t quite perfect but this is the closest it has been to some of the performances last year.”
Next up is Monaco, Hamilton’s adopted home town. Thanks for joining and goodbye.
The drivers' championship standings
1 Lewis Hamilton 95pts
2 Sebastian Vettel 78
3 Valtteri Bottas 58
4 Kimi Raikkonen 48
5 Daniel Ricciardo 47
6 Max Verstappen 33
7 Fernando Alonso 32
8 Nico Hulkenberg 22
9 Kevin Magnussen 19
10 Carlos Sainz 19
11 Sergio Perez 17
12 Pierre Gasly 12
13 Charles Leclerc 9
14 Stoffel Vandoorne 8
15 Lance Stroll 4
16 Marcus Ericsson 2
17 Esteban Ocon 1
18 Brendon Hartley 1
Christian Horner looks relieved that Verstappen righted a few wrongs for Red Bull. “It’s good to get both cars to the finish,” he says wryly. “It’s nice to see Max on the podium. He did a great job in fending off Sebastian [Vettel] all be it with an injured car. He’s had a difficult start to the year but starting a new chapter in Europe will set him on his way.” Horner adds that Ricciardo had a sneaky spin behind the virtual safety car which the cameras didn’t pick up. Apparently that cost him 12 seconds and explains why he was so far behind Verstappen.
Sebastian Vettel cuts a frustrated figure. “We just didn’t have enough pace today,” he says. “At the end I just wasn’t in a healthy place with the tyres even though mine were the freshest. It was a decent weekend but we just need to understand what to do with the tyres.”
The full race result
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
6 Kevin Magnussen Haas
7 Carlos Sainz Renault
8 Fernando Alonso McLaren
9 Sergio Perez Force India
10 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari
11 Lance Stroll Williams
12 Brendon Hartley Scuderia Toro Rosso
13 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari
14 Sergey Sirotkin Williams
On the podium Hamilton launches the Spanish Grand Prix trophy six foot in the air and prepares to pop the corks. Verstappen gets an almighty cheer from the abundant Dutch fans and sneakily soaks Hamilton in Champagne while the championship leader sprays the crowd.
Verstappen looks delighted with his third place. “It is really hard to pass here but we got the luck with Kimi retiring,” he says. And how was the car after part of the wing fell off? “I had to keep pushing because I had Sebastian behind me” he says. “The car doesn’t look as nice but it doesn’t matter.”
Hamilton performs a swallow dive on to his team members before describing his race. “Today the car and mysel, I felt that synergy which I hadn’t been feeling for the whole year,” he says. “This is where we start to try and apply the pressure. It’s great to see that true force within the team.”
“Awesome race,” Hamilton is told over the radio by a very happy Mercedes team. The world champion is now 17 points ahead in the drivers’ standings, having been 17 behind not so long ago.
Ricciardo will be frustrated by his fifth-placed finish. Magussen comes in sixth and Sainz seventh on home ground.
Bottas crosses in second, with Verstappen third after holding off Vettel.
Lewis Hamilton wins Spanish Grand Prix
It never looked in doubt.
Lap 65/66: Verstappen looks comfortable in third, a podium finish will be very welcome. A first of the season when he really needed it.
Lap 64/66: Alonso posts his fastest lap. But is 7sec behind Sainz in seventh.
Lap 63/66: Ricciardo is flying now, but he’s 20 sec behind Vettel in third. Too little too late I’m afraid.
Lap 62/66: Can Vettel get past Verstapen in this last four laps? He just piut in a fastest lap and the gap is 2sec.
Lap 61/66: A Mercedes one-two is looking inevitable now. Hamilton and Bottas are a long way clear and only engine failure are likely to stop them.
Lap 58/66: Kevin Magnussen has quietly gone about his business in his Haas today. He started seventh on the grid and is now sixth, ahead of Sainz, Alonso and Perez, who has just taken Leclerc.
Lap 57/66: Vettel’s front left tyre doesn’t look quite right, and that could explain why he is struggling to make inroads on Verstappen despite the fresh tyres.
Lap 56/66: Verstappen is doing a fine job holding off Vettel here, and restoring some credibility. Vettel just cannot get close enough to attempt a pass.
Lap 55/66: Fernando asks for a weather forecast over the radio. He is desperate for rain. The team say it hasn’t changed.
Lap 53/66: Hamilton is coasting at the front. His lead over his Mercedes team-mate Bottas is 17sec. Verstappen is 10sec further back in third but Vettel is scenting blood.
Lap 51/66: Christian Horner says Verstappen’s damage is “not too bad”. There’s been a slight balance shift in the car but he can can deal with that says his team principal. Horner says that his lap times are in line with team-mate Ricciardo’s.
Lap 49/66: Verstappen is defying expectations and has put in a rapid lap of 1.12.40sec in his damaged Red Bull. That’s impressive.
Lap 48/66: The current standings:
1) Lewis Hamilton
2) Valtteri Bottas +14sec
3) Max Verstappen +26
4) Sebatian Vettel + 27
5) Daniel Ricciard +45
Lap 45/66: Alonso has got past Leclerc and is up to eighth.
Lap 44/46: Part of Verstappen’s wing has fallen off so the stewards will not worry. His team tell him he can carry on without stopping. He’s been really lucky but this will surely impact on his speed.
Verstappen has massive damage to his car
Verstappen’s front wing is hanging off. He ran into the back of Stroll’s Williams. Surely Verstappen will have to come in to.
Lap 42/66: Vettel’s stop has lost him a place. Verstappen is now third, but Vettel has fresher tyres. The virtual safety car is ending.
Lap 42/66: Vettel is pitting, Hamilton doesn’t, Bottas doesn’t. This could be key for Vettel’s stop is very slow.
Lap 41/66: After a brilliant drive that was hampered by a terrible pit stop, Ocon has to retire. The virtual safety car is out. This could be time for a free pit stop.
Lap 39/66: Charles Leclerc has had the wily Alonso hunting him down since lap 1, and is showing some real chutzpah to hold him off. Leclerc is still in eighth. He’s got some talent this lad.
Lap 38/66: Bottas gives his view on the likelihood of going to the end of the race on his medium tyres: “For the moment it’s very consistent, but very unknown,” he says.
Raikkonen’s exit left his No 1 fan in tears again …
Lap 35/66: Tyre change for Verstappen means he drops to fourth. Hamilton now leads by 10sec from Vettel with Bottas 2sec behind the Ferrari
Lap 34/66: Ricciardo comes into the pits. A medium tyre goes on. Will this be his only stop. Interesting tactics if so. Ricciardo rejoins in sixth. Verstappen still leads but will have to stop soon
Lap 33/66: Ignoring the two Red Bulls that haven’t stopped yet, Hamilton has a 21 second lead over Vettel. He’ll want to get past Verstappen soon anyway, but for now he’s biding his time
31/66: Disastrous stop for Ocon. He’s stuck in the pits for 30 second while the mechanics try to get his right rear wing on. He’s plummeted to 16th. A real shame that as his fight with Alonso was hotting up
This is what happened at the start in a nutshell:
29/66: Sainz in 10th attacks Ericsson ahead of him and the two cars touch as they go side by side. Ericsson holds off the Renault though and keeps his ninth placed position. Great racing
28/66: Hamilton is flying on his new tyres. He is only two second behind the leader Verstappen, on new tyres.
Kimi Raikkonen's race is over
Raikkonen has been on fire recently but he won’t get any points here. It looks like an engine issue.
26/66: Hamilton comes into the pits and rejoins behind Verstappen. The Red Bull hasn’t stopped yet, so Hamilton is in full control here
25/66: Raikkonen has a real problem and lets Verstappen through into second. It looks like his race might be over
24/66: Verstappen goes wide at turn nine. It’s sloppy but he’s safe in third for now, although he has not stopped yet
22/66: Bottas overtakes Magnussen and will now hunt down Vettel
Here’s the top 6 right now:
1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes
2 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari
3 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull
4 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull
5 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari
6 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes
20/66: Bottas comes in to change to medium tyres. He comes right back into the Magnussen-Vettel battle, but Vettel dives through. Magnussen is now sixth and Bottas is seventh
19/66: Magnussen’s Haas is slowing Vettel down. He’s stuck in seventh.
18/66: Ferrari bring Vettel in for a tyre change. They are driving the tyre strategy now but Vettel is behind Magnussen now. Have they jumped too early here?
17/66: Martin Brundle says: “This is one of those happy Lewis days when he is unbeatable – so far.” A long way to go Martin
Lap 15/66: Verstappen responds with his fastest lap of the race to keep Ricciardo at bay. Hamilton is now almost seven seconds clear of Vettel at the front
Lap 14/66: Ricciardo is chasing Verstappen hard and wants his fifth place. Second fastest lap from the Australian shows he means business. This is going to be tricky for Red Bull. Will they ask Verstappen to move over?
Grosjean looks forlorn after causing that early crash
Lap 13/66: Ocon is trying to recapture the 10th place Alonso took from him at the start. It’s a battle royale. Alonso’s super soft tyres are starting to go
Lap 11/66: Things have settled down after that dramatic start and Hamilton is now 4sec ahead. Bottas is starrting to gain on Vettel, who got the jump on his at the first corner
Lap 9/66: Hamilton is pulling away. Stoffel Vandoorne has a 5sec time penalty which he must tak at his first pit stop
Lap 8/66: So after six laps behind the safety car we are racing again and Vettel is already 2sec behind Hamilton’ with Bottas 2sec further back.
Hamilton storms off again, and Alonso takes Ocon. Brilliant move from the Spaniard. He’s up to 10th
As the cars parade round the track, Grosjean is sitting alone on some steps wondering what he has done. One of only two drivers still waiting for a point this season, his Spanish grand prix is over already. He took Hulkenberg and Gasly with him, and they omn’t be pleased, but everyone else has survived for the restart.
Lap 1/66: So the race is on hold temporarily but behind the safety car Hamilton leads Vettel, Bottas is down to third, Raikkonen is fourth, Verstappen fifth and Ricciardo sixth
Four cars are out of the race already. Grosjean, Hulkenberg and Gasly and one other. Grosjean careered off the track and Hulkenberg hit him.
Hamilton gets to turn one first, Vettel takes Bottas off the start. Grosjean spins, Hulkenberg goes off and the safety car is out
We’re on the formation lap now. Just a reminder that Mercedes have locked out the front row, Ferrari the second and Red Bull the third. Not long now
Lewis Hamilton is looking to join a small list of F1 legends to win at this circuit for a third time. Should he triumph, he’ll be on the same number of wins as Mika Hakkinen and three behind Michael Schumacher. We’re almost ready for lights out. And here’s a start-line weather update:
Christian Horner, Red Bull’s team principal, pulls no punches when asked what he’s said to Verstappen and Ricciardo after their crash in Baku. “They’ve been on the naughty step for two weeks,” he says. “They know the rules. The plan is to race the cars ahead, not so much each other.”
The Verstappen fans are out in force today as the anthem blares out at the Circuit de Catalunya
Talking of Alonso, Matt Loten has emailed in with his thoughts for the day:
“Looking forward to seeing how McLaren and, in particular, Fernando Alonso get on today. The team seemed to be hedging their bets on the impact of this weekend’s upgrades, but qualifying suggest that they could finally be moving towards the right end of the pack. I’m not suggesting that they’re going to challenge the big three for the championship any time soon, yet Alonso, for my money, is still pound-for-pound one of the best racers in the field (alongside Hamilton and Ricciardo), and I’d love to see him in a position to at least give the Red Bulls some food for thought.”
Carlos Sainz tells us that his Renault team have told him there is a 70% chance of rain. Bottas says “it’s not too windy”. Alonso is “confident”. Thanks lads, riveting stuff.
Martin Brundle is on the grid walk and grabs hold of Rupert Grint, aka Ron Weasley from Harry Potter. “ I’m a big F1 Fan,” he says. I love Lewis and Kimi Raikkonen is so cool”. Rugby union’s Scott Quinnell is far too excited about being involved in some sort of ‘fan van’.
I’ve never been to the Circuit de Catalunya but I was once targeted by thieves in a supermarket a couple of miles away. A friend and I returned to his car loaded up with Spanish rioja only to find a back window had been smashed in and a bag stolen from the back. Fortunately the only thing gone was a baby changing bag. Idiots, I hope they enjoyed their nappy bonanza. Feel free to email me with your grand prix related mishaps, however tenuous.
It’s a big day for Max Verstappen, who triumphed here in 2016 on his Red Bull debut. Then, aged 18 years and 228 days, he became the youngest driver in F1 history to win a grand prix. Two years on his star has fallen a little in a blaze of error-induced crashes. He and his team-mate Ricciardo have been read the riot act by Red Bull after taking each other out in Baku but the Dutchman is still smiling. Our man in Catalonia, Giles Richards, has the lowdown on where Mad Max is at …
Sean Bratches, F1’s commercial chief, is talking about taking F1 to Miami, but says it is no threat to Silverstone’s place in the race calendar. “Celebrity, glamour and fashion” are just some of the reasons Miami and Fi1 are the perfect fit, he says. He then goes into over drive with the corporate speak. Miami is “good brand alignment” he states. “We we are trying to make F1 a media and entertainment brand,” he goes on, “a fan focused entity”. Explanations on a postcard please
The commentators seem to think Hamilton will re-sign with Mercedes, and for another three years. The world champion has been coy on his future recently, leading to speculation that he will leave the sport to pursue music and fashion interests, but would he really throw in the towel just yet?
It’s not warm in Catalonia for today’s race, about 15 degrees at present, and that may favour the Mercedes of Hamilton and Bottas. Toto Wolff joked yesterday that Mercedes were trying to fix the weather to make it “arctic”. Rain is forecast though, so that could throw a spanner in the works. Wolff has just spoken trackside to say he thinks most teams will make two pit stops in the race.
The head of Formula One’s governing body has responded to criticism from drivers about rule changes by saying they had every opportunity to contribute but often failed to attend meetings. The FIA president, Jean Todt, hit back after Hamilton and Vettel said new aerodynamic regulations for 2019 that would slow the cars by around 1.5 seconds a lap had come as a surprise. “I do respect them and know how busy they can be and all that. But they have access,” said Todt. “Unfortunately very often there is a meeting and they don’t come to the meeting. I have always tried to hear what the drivers were saying. The drivers are invited to participate, to do something.” Todt pointed out also that he had appointed a number of former racers to FIA commissions. Four-times world champions Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel had said on Saturday that new aerodynamic regulations for 2019 that would slow the cars by around 1.5 seconds a lap had come as a surprise.
1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes,
2 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes
3 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari
4 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari
5 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull
6 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull
7 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas
8 Fernando Alonso (Spa) McLaren
9 Carlos Sainz (Spa) Renault
10 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas
11 Stoffel Vandoorne (Bel) McLaren
12 Pierre Gasly (Fra) Scuderia Toro Rosso
13 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Force India
14 Charles Leclerc (Mon) Sauber-Ferrari
15 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India
16 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Renault
17 Marcus Ericsson (Swe) Sauber-Ferrari
18 Sergey Sirotkin (Rus) Williams
19 Lance Stroll (Can) Williams
20 Brendon Hartley (Nzl) Scuderia Toro Rosso
After the madness of Azerbaijan we’re in Spain for the start of the European leg of what is shaping up to be a thrilling F1 season. Lewis Hamilton emerged from the Red Bull chaos in Baku to record his first victory of the season in its fourth race. He holds a four point lead in the drivers’ standings from Sebastian Vettel, who won the first two grands prix of the season before Daniel Ricciardo’s masterclass in China. Hamilton will be on pole at the Circuit de Catalunya, despite saying before this weekend that he had ‘zero comfortability’ with his car.
The British world champion won from pole here last year, and will be difficult to beat at a track where overtaking can be tricky, but he was only four-hundredths of a second faster than his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in qualifying. The Ferraris of Vettel and Kimi Raikonnen make up the second row, with those dastardly Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen ready to rumble from fifth and sixth on the grid. The start could be quite something.
Lights out: 2.10pm BST