Hamilton wins in Spain to take F1 championship lead

Lewis Hamilton: why would I leave a team that can be greatest?

Ferrari have also won a record 16 constructors' championships and 15 drivers' titles, compared to five and seven respectively for Mercedes.

That was when the team ordered the 4-time world champion to move over for his teammate. But this now appears to be a complete red herring, with Mercedes definitely holding something back before dominating the first five rounds of the season. This season is gone. Vettel fell to fourth at 48 points back. The sensible move would have been to allow Leclerc past without undue delay, but "sensible" and "Ferrari" are two words you rarely see in the same sentence in 2019.

The Scuderia was strong at this circuit during preseason testing and was hoping this weekend would validate that its auto was still strong, writing off the previous four rounds as anomalous, but Sebastian Vettel could qualify only third and 0.866 seconds off the pace.

He was forced to set both his laps on one set of tyres because of the lost time, leaving him 1.1 seconds off the pace and fifth behind Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen.

Vettel must have realised how downcast the mood would be, taking to the team radio on the cool-down lap to try and lift the spirits. "As a fan I also want surprise and variety", he said.

"Grazie tutti. Forza Ferrari".

Vettel locked up on the turn, and Bottas, sandwiched in the middle, had to blink to avoid a possible collision as Hamilton sped clear. Hamilton referenced the message immediately after the race. Verstappen is 46 points adrift of Hamilton.

"I had a really nice message from a kid suffering from an illness", Hamilton said.

"Before we judge our performance, I think compliments to Mercedes", Binotto told reporters, with drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc alongside. One wonders how long the entente cordialecan last.

Harry, who has Ewing's sarcoma, had said in his video message on Instagram: "Hello Lewis Hamilton". "The World Championship is far from over". The next race will be held in Monaco on May 26, 2019.

"We have discussed this topic on the board", Wolff admits.

Perhaps the best indication of Verstappen's growing confidence is the gap to his teammate.

With Ferrari committing Vettel to a two-stop strategy, Red Bull made a decision to pit Verstappen early to cover him off as well.

Except for the race in Bahrain, when Hamilton won thanks to an implosion by Ferrari, the other four races this season have been decided in their opening seconds.

Ferrari's failures stood out again as Mercedes destroyed the Scuderia team in Sunday's F1 Spanish Grand Prix and left Ferrari wondering where their preseason pace has gone.Sebastian Vettel. Daniil Kvyat (Torro Rosso) finished in ninth ahead of Romain Grosjean (Haas).

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