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Mercedes restore order at top with Hamilton's win

Mercedes restore order at top with Hamilton's win

Hamilton crossed the finish line over 20 seconds ahead of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, a win which extended his championship lead over Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel to 17 points. His first pole since that race showed that the Silver Arrows were back at the front of the field.

With the exception of the seasonopening Melbourne race, the 33-year-old had so far this season appeared ill at ease in his Mercedes, fighting to impose his will on a capricious auto.

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - Mercedes got the commanding victory it had been seeking all season. Vettel has been a master on his tyres this year, but Pirelli's new, thinner tread - which was introduced here for the first time in Spain and will again be used in France next month and at the British Grand Prix later this summer - proved his kryptonite. And it was the type of victory that could reassert the team's authority in Formula One.

"The cool thing about being a world champion is the team naturally listens to what you say because you are not talking gibberish so they go away and focus on those areas, look at the data and try to work on it, it is an incredible process you do together when it comes back and it works".

"The journey to it is why it feels unique on its own but that is encouraging for me because I've been racing a long time so to still have that feeling when I have that win".

"But we know that this was a good circuit for us and the temperatures fell in our favor as well".

After three races in which driver and the team have struggled to unlock performance from tyres and vehicle, Mercedes finally had the platform required at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Defending champion Hamilton has had to be patient this season, waiting until the fourth race in Azerbaijan to register his first victory of the campaign.

He pointed out that Catalunya had always been a strong track for Mercedes in races and testing. The street circuit demands setups that work well on slow corners, traditionally a strength for Ferrari and Red Bull.

"As much as I am overwhelmed by the victory, my mind is already in Monaco and I remember Sunday night wasn't as pleasant past year". F1 heads to Monaco next, and it was there where Hamilton endured his worst weekend of the year in 2017; 14th in qualifying, seventh by the chequered flag.

Valtteri Bottas believes it would have been possible to challenge Sebastian Vettel even if the Ferrari hadn't taken a second pit stop.

"I think [three] things this weekend", Vettel said.

"My job is not to worry so much but preparing by extracting as much as I can from my engineers; to make sure the debrief is good, to reconnect with them later in the week once they have downloaded everything, and see that we have followed through with all the things that I have asked them to do". While it was Ferrari dominating Q1 and Q2, the team bagged pole where it mattered the most which was in Q3.

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