Date: 16th May 2017 at 7:34pm
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Sebastian Vettel continued his 2017 Formula One World Championship battle with Lewis Hamilton during the Spanish Grand Prix.

The four-time champion and the three-time champion had locked out the front row but the Ferrari driver got the better of Hamilton going into the first corner.

From there Vettel looked like he was in total control of the race, pulling away at the front from both Hamilton and Mercedes team-mate Bottas.

He then jumped into the pits, blinking first in a bid to prevent Hamilton the chance of any under-cut.

But instead he came out behind Bottas and lost valuable time.

‘We lost a lot of time fighting Valtteri, We lost four seconds. I was catching him but I knew they wouldn’t pit him. Vettel told formula1.com.

‘He was all over the place with his tyres so they used him a bit to block me. He still managed to somehow get a decent exit [out of Turn 16] so I didn’t quite make it the first time round so the second time round down the straights I thought ‘now, I have to find some way, even if it’s over the grass’.

Once Vettel had got past Bottas the German once again looked to control the race, albeit with a shorter lead than once before.

However a Virtual Safety Car would throw another spanner in the works.

Mercedes bluffed an early stop, which left both Vettel and Hamilton out on track, but just as the VSC was ending, Hamilton dived into the pits.

This enabled Hamilton to make a stop during a period where Vettel was stuck to the safety car procedure but without enough time for Vettel to also pit and gain the same such advantage.

Vettel pitted the following lap, with Hamilton at full pace on fresh tyres and the Ferrari driver came under pressure from Hamilton going into the first corner as he exited the pit lane.

The pair were side-by-side, brushing tyres and saw Hamilton forced off the track.

‘It was very close when we came out, You come out on fresh tyres ? I was just guessing. I wanted to stay ahead but I was just guessing on the brake point.

‘It worked, but there was no room for him.


Ultimately however with Vettel on the slower tyre and any on track advantage gone, Hamilton would eventually breeze past the Ferrari driver and take the race victory.

‘I don’t think the [pit stop] decision is to blame – I think we did the right thing on strategy.

‘We made eight seconds disappear for the second stop. If you add [that and being held up by Bottas] it’s 12 seconds and it would have been a bit better, but that’s how it goes.’

 

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