Sport

Hamilton denies Vettel in Spanish GP thriller

Hamilton denies Vettel in Spanish GP thriller

The Dutchman was on the outside when Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas collided heading into Turn 1, with the Ferrari driver bouncing off the Mercedes and into Verstappen's Red Bull vehicle, eliminating both with suspension damage.

Vettel and Hamilton have won seven of the last nine world championships, but this is the first year they've been able to go head-to-head properly.

For much of the fifth round of the season here in Barcelona it looked as though it was going to be Vettel who would extend his title lead to 20 points after executing the ideal start to leapfrog his championship rival. At nearly exactly the same moment, both Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen crashed out after the Iceman was clipped by Valtteri Bottas and pushed into The Flying Dutchman.

Bottas' slight nudge of Raikkonen caused a chain-reaction, sending Raikkonen into Verstappen. While Bottas survived the incident, Raikkonen's front-left suspension was in tatters, and although Verstappen limped back to the pits his race was over, too. However, Ferrari made a decision to pit the German earlier in the race. Both drivers have been putting up a close fight since the beginning of the season, but the true spectacle was only visible at the Spanish GP.

Vettel admitted after the race, during the press conference that he just couldn't do anything when Hamilton pressured him in the second part of the race before he jumped over him in the standings.

Vettel's and Hamilton's teammates both abandoned the race.

"He came out of the pits and I was a bit surprised that it was so close", Vettel added. As the Mercedes driver tried to go around the outside of Turn 1, the German squeezed him, causing their tyres to touch.

Hamilton started on pole ahead of Vettel but it was the German who got the better start to lead into Turn One. The Briton managed to pull this off on the Catalunya circuit, where passing is exceptionally hard, makes it all the more interesting.

With Bottas and Raikkonen failing to finish in Barcelona, Force India took full advantage. Alonso was only 12th while British driver Jolyon Palmer finished 16th and last of all the classified runners following another disappointing day at the office.

He said: "I lost out on the start and had to watch Sebastian fly by".

Spaniard Carlos Sainz was eighth on the road, but classified seventh, ahead of Russian Daniil Kvyat who did a superb job for Toro Rosso after starting at the back of the grid, and Frenchman Romain Grosjean of Haas. That will also be the Indy 500 weekend where Mr. Alonso will be competing for McLaren-Honda-Andretti. The virtual safety vehicle was deployed when Stoffel Vandoorne crashed into Felipe Massa and Mercedes caught Ferrari on the hop by pitting Hamilton.


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