losangelesnewstoday.com
losangelesnewstoday.com May 20, 2018


Vettel backs Ferrari strategy decision

14 May 2018, 04:58 | Stacy Ballard

Updated mirrors for Vettel’s Ferrari SF71H at Spanish GP

Updated mirrors for Vettel’s Ferrari SF71H at Spanish GP

Lewis Hamilton won the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon, thanks to the "synergy" between him and the auto.

Racing resumed on lap seven, with Hamilton holding his lead through the restart.

Valtteri Bottas made it a Mercedes one-two ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Soon it became just one Ferrari in the hunt for a podium finish as Kimi Raikkonen was forced to retire with mechanical issues. "Today, the auto and myself, I felt that synergy today, which I hadn't been feeling for the whole year, so it's a good feeling".

But Mercedes, who pitted some 10 laps earlier than the two Red Bulls, managed their tyres to the finish, while Vettel's hopes were futher dashed by his own slow second stop under the virtual safety auto.

In Barcelona, Verstappen did a fine job holding off Vettel and restored some credibility to seal a second podium of the season. "I've not had pole for a while", Hamilton said.

Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix was destined to be full of turmoil from before it began, courtesy of rain overnight that cut grip levels at Circuit de Catalunya. Vettel, meanwhile, lost ground to Hamilton and is now 17 points adrift.

Rory McIlroy endures the birthday blues at Quail Hollow
Second-round leader Peter Malnati birdied the first hole, but had double bogeys on No. 7 and No. 12 on his way to a 75. Rickie Fowler (72-69) is 1-under par and he said the greens are so firm that it is hard to get close to the hole.

"I think he's a great driver", he said, "and if the fallout of the previous relationship did not exist then I think he would have ten championships". "I would like to hope it could be part of the turning point".

Red Bull colleague Daniel Ricciardo was fifth, ahead of Kevin Magnussen for Haas. Sergio Perez took ninth in his Force India, and Sauber finished with one point, courtesy of Charles LeClerc in 10th. Ricciardo cut under the 1:19 mark on lap 61, but it meant little to the Australian, in a lonely P5. It had seemed as though the Dutchman had blown another opportunity for a strong finish when he collided with Lance Stroll just after a Virtual Safety Car period, but the damage to his front wing did not seem to seriously jeopardise his race from that point.

The opening lap started with a crash as Romain Grosjean in the Haas spun at Turn 3, collecting Nico Hulkenberg and Pierre Gasly in the process.

Cleanup required a safety auto, extending the streak of safety vehicle (or virtual safety car) appearances to five this season. Unusually for a race in the Pirelli era, it was tyre wear and not degradation that was the limiting factor with the tyres and it seems Ferrari was not confident there was enough rubber left on Vettel's second set of tyres to see him to the end of the race. What had looked at first sight like questionable strategy was actually, they said, just the auto going through its tyres quicker than others.

Ferrari thought they could take advantage of the virtual safety vehicle out on track, but somehow their strategy failed and Vettel had lost two places behind Hamilton after changing tyres.

All eyes now turn to Monaco for arguably the most iconic of the season's races on May 27. McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne also retired because of a auto failure.



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