Mercedes' Hamilton, Bottas finish 1-2 at Spanish Grand Prix

LewisHamiltonCropped

And to add insult to injury for Ferrari, Kimi Raikkonen failed to score any points after he was forced to retire following his second engine failure of the weekend.

Mercedes have recently struggled on the street circuit in Monte Carlo and Hamilton predicts that Red Bull will provide strong competition in the principality.

"I needed this pole, I haven't had a pole for a while".

"I have no idea what they've changed", said the Red Bull driver. "Coming across the line, I'm happy I did it in the way I planned to". The guys have been working so hard back in the factory and here and it's so good to see.

Lap 11/66 We're back in full flow now and Hamilton has already built up a two second lead over Vettel. "Ferrari were sandbagging until this afternoon and Valtteri has been driving exceptionally well. This is a good way to start the weekend". "I felt really comfortable in the auto". "We have such a good auto". His margin over teammate Bottas in the identical sister vehicle - 20.593secs - was scary for the rest. "Anything can happen really, just like the last couple of races".

Hamilton's win moves him into a 17-point championship lead, with title rival Sebastian Vettel fourth on Sunday following questionable strategy calls from his Ferrari team.

Vettel won in Australia and Bahrain, while Ricciardo was first in China. After the leader had all cycled through their pit stops it was once again Hamilton in the lead followed by Vettel and Bottas, with Verstappen and Ricciardo rounding out the top five. "A 1-2 for the team", Hamilton said. He and Verstappen were six tenths off the pole time.

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"I chipped away at my lap time by a few hundredths but it wasn't enough", Ricciardo said. "Then they put in some belters at the end. I know that sounds weird but today is definitely I think the closest I've been". The top American entry had Kevin Magnussen and his Gene Haas Ferrari lining up at seventh. Teammate Romain Grosjean is 10th on the grid. The street circuit demands setups that work well on slow corners, traditionally a strength for Ferrari and Red Bull.

Both Spanish drivers made it to the final qualifying session, with two-time champion Fernando Alonso eighth with McLaren and Carlos Sainz ninth with Renault. "So that's a positive thing".

Vettel suspects that it could be because of the tyre compound thickness, which Pirelli changed for this race to reduce the risk of blistering.

"If I had braked, the auto would have spun the same way". He also struggled with the balance of the auto and in the end could only finish fourth.

Verstappen, third, had damage to his front-wing endplate after a collision but was told to continue despite loss of down-force and did just that as Hamilton, back to his best, controlled proceedings to the chequered flag. He also went into the gravel in practice earlier on Saturday and on Friday.

Race organizers said additional security was implemented after several cars were broken into at a closed parking lot for the media at the track.

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