Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

Sebastian Vettel's struggles continue with 4th place at Spanish GP

Sebastian Vettel's struggles continue with 4th place at Spanish GP

But Mercedes officials and drivers are saying one race doesn't make a season.

On a day when there were no red flags, the 13 drivers on duty completed 1,438 laps.

Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas finished second ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen, with Vettel having to settle for fourth after being forced into a second pit stop.

Lewis Hamilton put on a strong performance at the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday, showing his team was back in business after a struggling start to 2018.

"I mean, we are drivers, not to say that we know everything - we don't know anything about engineering the vehicle - but we know how the cars feel, how to drive the cars and their limitations to overtake", added the German.

Hamilton, 33, briefly spoke about his future after the race, explaining: "we do talk about it and we are not really far away from finishing things so it will happen hopefully in the near future". We got in a lot of laps and a decent time, so all in all we're very happy.

"Really?" replied the German, indicating it was news to him.

Hamilton had a clean start, with Vettel moving from third to second by passing Bottas on the outside of Turn 1. And it was the type of victory that could reassert the team's authority in Formula One.

"Our mistake was that we could not get the wear out of them that our rivals did, and it's up to us to react and work on it", Vettel added.

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The slow-speed nature of the most famous race on the F1 calendar is one which played into Ferrari's hands last term as Vettel led Kimi Raikkonen home in a one-two finish for the Italian team. Why our vehicle doesn't like to be quick around the corners in Monaco we haven't found out yet.

The next round is the Monaco Grand Prix on May 27.

Various developments were tried out on the SF71H, "but not aimed at Monaco" clarified Vettel, "because that race is too much of a one-off". It looks different and it looks wrong, but from the inside I think it was the right thing to do.

Tomorrow, Antonio Giovinazzi takes over at the wheel of the SF71H.

Nicholas Latifi, driving for Force India, was the fastest of the inexperienced drivers with the fifth-best time behind Haas' Romain Grosjean in fourth.

"It's obviously a little bit early to say but I would like to hope that it could be part of a turning point", he said.

Grosjean has been handed a three-place grid penalty at the next race in Monaco for his actions on the first lap. "I am glad I could help the team with their testing programme and I am looking forward to being back in the simulator with this new knowledge of how the auto behaves on track". Ten laps after the Ferraris had pitted, Hamilton ducked into the pits with nearly 20 seconds to spare ahead of the next vehicle.

"At no point did I feel like I was going to lose but I was pushing every single lap - using it as a test bed to understand what I liked about the balance and understand where I can get more from". But on Sunday, Lewis Hamilton was in devastating form. While the Prancing Horse seemed to have a measure of the Silver Arrows in the first few races of the season, Mercedes seems to have caught up and even surpassed the Italian constructor in the last few weeks.

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