Hamilton takes another record from Schumacher in Spain

Hamilton takes another record from Schumacher in Spain

Javier Howell
May 14, 2018

Lewis Hamilton ended Sebastian Vettel's dominant run in Formula One qualifying by setting a track record and wining pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday.

Racing resumed on lap seven, with Hamilton holding his lead through the restart.

Finland's Valtteri Bottas was second, a hefty 20.5 seconds behind, with Dutch 20-year-old Max Verstappen completing the podium for Red Bull - his first of an incident-filled season.

Hamilton stayed out until lap 25 and slotted back in behind the yet-to-stop Verstappen, who had profited from the exit of Kimi Raikkonen mere minutes before.

When the virtual safety auto came out to recover Esteban Ocon's Force India which was stranded after a suspected power unit issue, Ferrari elected to stop Vettel who then lost track position to Max Verstappen.

"Today, the vehicle and myself - I felt that synergy today that I hadn't been feeling all year, so it's a good feeling", said Hamilton. Earlier than planned pit stops for Vettel meant that ultimately he had to concede not only second place to Bottas but also third to Verstappen.

Grosjean, once labelled a first-lap nutcase by Mark Webber, lost control of his Haas at Turn 3 and slid back across the track in a cloud of tyre smoke.

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

"That feeling that I'm going to sleep like a baby tonight, because I know I've done my job this weekend to the maximum and I didn't leave anything on the table, there's no better feeling".

"I needed this pole".

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The safety auto has helped add to the drama of the early part of the 2018 season and its appearance early in Sunday's race means it has been used in the opening five races of a championship for the first time.

Mexican Sergio Perez of Pressure India made a late overtaking transfer on Sauber's Charles Leclerc for ninth, but it surely had been one other spectacular drive by the younger Monagesque.

Behind the top four it was Daniel Ricciardo in a fairly distant fifth spot - although on the same lap as the top four at the finish - with the Haas of Magnussen in sixth, although his team mate, Romain Grosjean, managed to spin out on the opening lap.

In total, six cars failed to finish.

Hamilton had made a slow start to his title defence and his first win of the season, in Azerbaijan last month, owed much to luck, but the Briton believes he is finally in tune with his auto. We'll race hard and try and get the 1-2 we deserved in Baku.

Verstappen flies with clipped wing: Despite losing his front wing endplate in a collision with Stroll following a Virtual Safety Car, Verstappen looked incredibly racey in the final few laps.

Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff agreed that Ferrari had been in worse shape for tyre wear, and said it had been a concern for his team too.

Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari): +27.584s 5.

After another incident on Lap 44, Esteban Ocon retired after Verstappen went into the back of his auto, while McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne lost power on his vehicle and was also forced to retire.