In Brief

F1 Spanish GP digest: victory is a turning point for Lewis Hamilton

British driver is close to signing new Mercedes contract, while Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari were not quick enough to win

After securing back-to-back victories in Azerbaijan and Spain, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton believes the Barcelona win could provide a huge turning point for the team in the 2018 Formula 1 season.

Hamilton’s victory at the Circuit de Catalunya means the Brit now has a 17-point lead over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel at the top of the F1 drivers’ standings. Hamilton was joined on the podium in Spain by Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. Vettel finished fourth on a frustrating weekend for Ferrari.

Speaking after his deserved victory at the Spanish Grand Prix, Hamilton told The Times: “I said I wanted to come and win in the way that I won, I was just glad I did it as planned. 

“We’ve definitely got ourselves on to the right path... I felt that synergy which I hadn’t been feeling for the whole year... Race by race, we are understanding the tyres more.”

New Mercedes deal is close for Hamilton

Reigning world champion Hamilton has less than a year left on his Mercedes contract, but the 33-year-old says that a new deal will be signed soon.

Hamilton told Sky Sports F1: “All the bosses have been here [in Spain] and I don’t think there is anyone in the hierarchy who has any concerns. We do talk about it and we are not far away from finishing things. It will happen – hopefully in the near future.”

Vettel: Ferrari were just not quick enough

While Hamilton celebrated victory at the Spanish GP, it was a frustrating weekend for his title rival Sebastian Vettel. The Ferrari driver finished fourth to lose ground on title leader Hamilton.

Vettel blamed his car’s lack of speed and reliability on a disappointing result in Barcelona. Quoted by the Daily Mail, the German said: “There were three things this weekend. One, we were not quick enough and if we are not able to see then we are more than blind. Secondly, we struggled with the tyres. Thirdly, it was a poor weekend in terms of reliability.

“If we don’t see those issues then there are no excuses. But the bottom line is that we are not quick enough to win, and that is what needs to be addressed.”

Red Bull favourites for Monaco

The F1 bandwagon will roll into Monte Carlo for the Monaco Grand Prix on 27 May. Mercedes and Hamilton’s return to form means the reigning champions are “back in business” for 2018, says Sky Sports, but can they they win in Monaco?

Mercedes have recently struggled on the street circuit in Monte Carlo and Hamilton predicts that Red Bull will provide strong competition in the principality. “Red Bull are going to be rapid and very hard to beat,” he said.

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