Dominant Hamilton wins in Spain, Vettel fourth

Lewis Hamilton claimed his first pole position since the opening round

The German had seized the initiative off the line with a nice move around the outside of Bottas and stayed ahead until pitting on the 18th lap, which was earlier than anticipated.

However, in the 2017 season, Bottas had the worst season of a Mercedes driver of the V6 turbo hybrid era, which began in the 2014 season.

Verstappen hasn't had a lot of success in his F1 career, but he did finish first in this race in 2016.

It appeared as though Mercedes was about to take the position back, with Bottas setting a series of purple sector times - indicating the quickest of the race to that point - on the next two laps, but a tardy stop saw him emerge just behind the four-time world champion.

Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas was second, in 1:16.213, with Vettel third and 0.132 off the pace.

Hamilton's second lap was even better than his first and, although Bottas got to within four-hundredths of his team-mate, it proved good enough to see him top the timesheets.

Hamilton now has 95 points to Vettel's 78 after five rounds of the 21-race championship. I think that is because the working range is far narrower than it was previous year, so you give it everything on an out lap and you still don't have your tires in the window and they heat the tires up in the blankets. Daniel Ricciardo was second and Max Verstappen third. But poorly timed safety cars in both the races took the win away from the Ferrari driver and handed it to Red Bull and Mercedes respectively.

"Today, the auto and myself, I felt that synergy which I hadn't been feeling for the whole year", Hamilton said.

"It is a little bit disheartening as I don't really know what I could have done more".

The win returned Hamilton to the top spot in the drivers' standings, four points clear of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who finished fourth. "Hats off to Mercedes but I think tomorrow will be a close race". Hartley will, however, be ready to compete in Sunday's race. The thinner tread on the rubber Pirelli have supplied this weekend in response to the blistering during testing in Barcelona certainly seems to work to their advantage and the same type of tyres will be used at the French and British grands prix.

Grosjean, who struggled throughout the weekend and had crashed behind the safety vehicle in Azerbaijan, failed to stop his auto from spinning across the track on Turn 3 and Hulkenberg and Gasly could not avoid colliding with him.

While there was more than a hint of fortune about the opening victory of his title defence in Azerbaijan a fortnight ago, there could be no denying Hamilton's win here at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya. "The more comfortable I am, the more the pace shows".

In cooler conditions, the session was brought to an early conclusion when New Zealander Brendon Hartley lost control of his Toro Rosso vehicle at Turn Nine and spun violently into the barriers.

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