May 20, 2018

Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes team fear repeat of their Monaco nightmare

15 May 2018, 06:51 | Joan Schultz

Lewis Hamilton rejuvenated by Spain F1 victory but wary of Monaco GP

Lewis Hamilton

With AP Photos.Mercedes got the commanding victory it had been seeking all season when Lewis Hamilton put on a strong performance at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Both parties had hoped to finalise the four-times world champion's new deal by the start of this season but five races have now passed.

With Sunday's win, Hamilton opened up his lead over Vettel to 17-points in the overall standings.

"We don't want to lose him and l don't think he wants to go anywhere else", said Wolff.

"Lewis was able to control the race and whilst we could have gone longer on that first stint, the front tyre was quite worn and we chose to stop as a precaution as there was no real threat from behind", he said. "This put Lewis behind [Max] Verstappen but we knew he had to stop so there was no urgency to pass".

"There are a lot of challenging races coming up and Monaco is a serious challenge", Hamilton said. "We wanted to take care of the racing car.The ink is nearly dry, and when it is, we'll let you know", Wolff said.

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"We spoke about potential options for next year or even later on this year, spreading the compounds out a little bit, making it a bit more racy". One, we were not quick enough and if we are not able to see then we are more than blind.

That pair will also be in action as part of Pirelli's 2018 tyre development programme, with 18-year-old prospect Norris sharing day-one duties with fellow Brit Oliver Turvey before Vandoorne takes charge of the second MCL33. "Both Valtteri and Lewis have been on top form and the auto has been reliable and very fast".

It was the first one-two of the season for Mercedes, which had struggled to keep pace with the Ferraris.

"As much as I am overwhelmed by the victory here, my mind is already on Monaco, and I remember it wasn't a pleasant Sunday night a year ago".

"It is the greatest feeling to come here and have that kind of performance and then win convincingly", he said. Hamilton set blindingly fast sector times throughout the race regardless of tyre-type, and it is going to be dashed hard for Vettel to claw back this advantage. Ferrari had a race to forget as Vettel could only manage fourth following a late-race call to the pits. Verstappen finally got his first podium of the season and fulfilled his obvious speed and potential, which is good to see. In a way, while it was a shame for Nico Hulkenberg and Pierre Gasly, it was lucky that there weren't more cars wiped out in that or drivers injured. The Red Bull cars of Verstappen and Ricciardo kept out of trouble just behind them.

Valtteri Bottas appeared a dead man walking after he courted criticism for failing to make Vettel sweat in their battle for the lead back in Bahrain.

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