Mercedes matched the record of five successive Formula One one-twos as Lewis Hamilton beat pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas to glory at the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday.
Reigning champion Hamilton also took home the fastest-lap bonus for the first time this season to regain the lead in the drivers’ standings and move seven points clear of Bottas, who had to settle for second ahead of Red Bull driver Max Verstappen.
It is just the fifth time in F1 history that a team has taken the top two steps of the podium for five straight races and the third instance of Mercedes achieving the feat since 2014.
A safety car in the second half of the race after Lando Norris and Lance Stroll collided brought the cars back together, but Hamilton held on to seal his third victory of the season and third in succession in Barcelona.
Hamilton got away quicker than Bottas and took the lead into turn one, while Sebastian Vettel, who started third, locked up and ran wide with an attempt to overtake down the outside of the Mercedes duo.
Vettel, who was overtaken by Verstappen, sustained a flat spot on his tyre in the process and team orders were then used to let Charles Leclerc pass on lap 12.
The German four-time champion was put on mediums for his second stint and Leclerc received the hard compound as Ferrari appeared to deploy a one-stop strategy with the Monegasque.
Vettel was allowed back through by Leclerc but had to pit again, before Norris clipped Stroll’s rear into turn two on lap 45, bringing out the safety car and offering everyone a chance to pit for fresh tyres.
Hamilton and Bottas faced no issues when racing resumed with 14 laps remaining, cruising serenely to another one-two that left Mercedes’ 2019 supremacy unchecked.
HAMILTON: “I have to put it down to this incredible team. This is history in the making, with five 1-2 finishes in a row. I’m so happy for every one of them” #F1 #SpanishGP pic.twitter.com/w9pImPxzoF— Formula 1 (@F1) May 12, 2019
FERRARI IN SHAMBLES
Pre-season testing at this track suggested Ferrari were finally going to challenge Mercedes, but despite bringing upgrades for the second successive race they were unable to pose a threat to the Silver Arrows.
There also seemed to be a distinct lack of leadership from the garage, with team orders twice taking too long to be issued and costing Vettel and Leclerc valuable seconds.
A haul of 22 points with Vettel and Leclerc finishing fourth and fifth respectively sees them fall further behind Mercedes in the constructors’ standings.
NO CHANGE FOR RENAULT
Daniel Ricciardo qualified 10th but started 13th due to his three-place grid penalty for reversing into Daniil Kvyat in Baku, and he struggled in the midfield in Barcelona.
The Australian seemed to lack the pace and confidence to fight his way through the field, while Nico Hulkenberg was unable to make much ground after starting from the pits due to a front-wing change after his crash in Q1 on Saturday.
It is already the third time this season they have seen both drivers fail to register points at the same grand prix.
HAAS BATTLING TWICE
There was slight contact between Haas duo Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen into turn two on lap 56 in a battle for seventh.
The uncompromising Dane refused to give way and Grosjean had to take the escape route before re-joining the track, something he had to do twice more – once with Magnussen and once with Carlos Sainz Jr – as he dropped down the standings before the chequered flag.
IN THE POINTS
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +4.074secs
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +7.679s
4. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +9.167s
5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +13.361s
6. Pierre Gasly (Red Bull) +19.576s
7. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) +28.159s
8. Carlos Sainz Jr (McLaren) +32.342s
9. Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) +33.056s
10. Romain Grosjean (Haas) +34.641s
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 112
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 105 (-7)
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 66 (-46)
4. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 64 (-48)
5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 57 (-55)
1. Mercedes 217
2. Ferrari 121 (-96)
3. Red Bull 87 (-130)
4. McLaren 22 (-195)
5. Racing Point 17 (-200)
One of the most prestigious races on the calendar is up next, with the teams heading to Monte Carlo for the Monaco Grand Prix.