Mercedes appear to have finally hit their stride in the 2018 Formula One season after Lewis Hamilton claimed a comfortable victory at the Spanish Grand Prix, with Australian Daniel Ricciardo finishing fifth in Barcelona. The defending four-time world champion dominated from start to finish, save for a spell during the mid-race pit-stops, and clocked a series of record laps as he registered his second successive win.
The race was the third in a row that Vettel, stuck on 49 career wins, had finished off the podium. He joined seven-time champion Schumacher and two-time champion Finn Mika Hakkinen as a three-time victor in Spain.
"I've 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 that we have and work together in the same direction".
"I'm always on the worrying side and we'd been very good in winter testing here and when we went to Melbourne everybody said it was going to be an easy Mercedes one and then we had hard races so I think we were very good today but we need to stay calm and humble", Wolff said. The Frenchman then collected the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg and Pierre Gasly's Toro Rosso in a major smash, fortunately without injury, that brought out the safety auto for the first six laps.
Lewis Hamilton summed up his feelings in a few words after leading team mate Valtteri Bottas to the first Mercedes qualifying one-two of the season on Saturday. Mercedes brought Bottas in two laps later but Vettel was just able to maintain second after the dived in front of Kevin Magnussen and the Finn when he emerged from the pits. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +26.873, 4. Sainz's points lifted Renault ahead of McLaren and into fourth place by a single point.
This regardless of the younger Dutchman making an error through the VSC as he touched the again of the Williams of Lance Stroll, shedding a part of his entrance wing within the course of. Brendon Hartley (Toro Rosso), 13. Renault's Nico Hülkenberg was in 16th and Sauber's Marcus Ericsson in 17th.
Despite an off-track tour by Sergey Sirotkin, the VSC was cleared after lap 42. Clearly, then, the statistics favour the driver starting from the top two positions.
"The best ones are very sensitive and fragile and that is something we know and he knows", Wolff said. Vettel, meanwhile, lost ground to Hamilton and is now 17 points adrift.
"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".
Constructors (top three): 1.