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Race highlights - Spain 2017 - Strategy takes centre stage in sunny Barcelona

Published by Christine

Race highlights - Spain 2017
Credit: Sahara Force India

Two things were going to be key for this Barcelona race day - getting a good start off the line, and making the right strategy calls at the right time.

And it was those two things that dictated the winner of the race, although there were a few incidents and retirements, and a couple of penalties that also helped move the action along.

If you want to know how Spain's podium came together, then read on for lap by lap coverage of the action at the Circuit de Catalunya, including statistics, quotes and much more.

As it happened: Spain 2017 - The race

Event Highlights

  • Lewis Hamilton wins the race after good strategy call under virtual safety car.
  • Vettel swept into the lead off the line but dropped back for second.
  • Ricciardo finished a distant third.
  • On lap 1, Bottas nudged Räikkönen who clouted Verstappen, knocking the Ferrari and Red Bull out of the race.
  • Bottas retires with power unit failure.
  • Vandoorne collides with Massa and ends up in the gravel for another McLaren DNF.
  • 12:30

    Hello F1 friends, how have you been? Are you all wide awake and raring to go for the Spanish Grand Prix today?

  • 12:31

    The pit lane has opened at the Circuit de Catalunya, and the cars are revving up and making their way out for a lap to the grid.

  • 12:32

    Lots of practice starts in evidence, no doubt drivers feeling the pressure as overtaking is at a premium in Spain so the start will be crucial.

  • 12:32
    Circuit Data
    Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
    Local timezone+02:00 GMT
    First race1991
    Number of laps66
    Circuit length4.655km
    Race distance307.104km
    Start offset0.126km
  • 12:33

    McLaren are still dominating headlines but they have mixed fortunes this weekend so far. Stoffel Vandoorne qualified second from last but has taken a 10 place power unit grid drop anyway, so will be at the back of the field.

  • 12:33

    Fernando Alonso, however, spurred on by the home crowd, managed to qualify not only inside the top ten, but up in seventh place. Incredible!

  • 12:33
    Starting grid
    1L HamiltonMercedes
    2S VettelFerrari
    3V BottasMercedes
    4K RäikkönenFerrari
    5M VerstappenRed Bull
    6D RicciardoRed Bull
    7F AlonsoMcLaren
    8S PérezForce India
    9F MassaWilliams
    10E OconForce India
  • 12:34

    The last ten years have seen the Spanish Grand Prix won by a different driver every single time. It's also been the sight of some surprise winners, like Pastor Maldonado in 2012 and Max Verstappen last season. Who will it be this year?

  • 12:35

    The tyres are of some concern, as Pirelli have opted to bring the hard compound here, despite the fact that durability has been higher than expected on even the softest of compounds.

  • 12:36
    2017 race wins
    1S Vettel2
    2L Hamilton1
    3V Bottas1
  • 12:39

    The organisers have opted to extend the length of the DRS zones here this weekend, hoping to improve overtaking opportunities.

  • 12:40

    TweetTweet from @SauberF1Team: Empty garage. Our boys are on the way to the starting grid - #PW94 will start the #SpanishGP from P15, #ME9 from P16! 20 min to go

  • 12:41

    QuoteDaniil Kvyat, starting 19th on the grid: "It’s a long race and anything can happen still. Sometimes strange things can happen on this track. I think we will see a lot of interesting things today. [The car] can sometimes come alive in the race, you never know, it’s a bit unpredictable this weekend."

  • 12:43

    QuoteStoffel Vandoorne, starting 20th on the grid: "It’s been a difficult start of the season, we knew that. Hopefully today with the strategy we can do something different. It’s not an easy one stop as everyone thought."

  • 12:46

    QuoteMax Verstappen, third row of the grid: "Nice temperature, so good. I’m not sure if we can really challenge [Mercedes and Ferrari] on pure pace but I think if we can have a good start… it’s difficult to overtake on this track. I think we can defend, just a shame the DRS zone is a bit longer, but I think we can."

  • 12:46

    Weather icon

    Wind speed1.1mps
  • 12:47

    Drivers have made their way to the front of the grid to respectfully await the national anthem.

  • 12:49
    Race Battle
    Red BullFinished Ahead
    M Verstappen3
    D Ricciardo1
  • 12:51

    TweetTweet from @MercedesAMGF1: The boss, Dr. Zetsche, is with us this weekend!

  • 12:53

    Ferrari have introduced a new start system for their drivers, but Ted News, it looks like Vettel has got the new system and Kimi has not.

  • 12:54

    QuotePaddy Lowe of Williams aims to get both drivers in the top ten today: "Very tough for Lance to get points today, but there are options to allow him that. Depends what happens in front, obviously. Felipe we’d like to be pushing up towards seventh, sixth place if we can."

  • 12:55

    TweetTweet from @nigelmansell: Hearts starting to beat a little quicker.The start at this GP has a long run down to turn one,so easy to misjudged your braking.Good race

  • 12:58

    Not much chance of rain today, less than 20%, but it's looking quite windy out there and the gusting conditions caught out a lot of drivers during Friday practice.

  • 12:59

    Most of the drivers are starting on the yellow soft tyres, with just Kvyat and Vandoorne, plus Palmer in 17th, starting on the mediums.

  • 13:00

    The grid clears for the formation lap.

  • 13:02

    Lewis Hamilton leads the field away for the formation lap, it's nice and bright there in Barcelona.

  • 13:04

    Green flagRace started.

  • 13:05 Lap 1

    First lap action all over the place. Sebastian Vettel has grabbed the lead of the race. Verstappen and Räikkönen back at the rear of the field.

  • 13:05 Lap 1

    Räikkönen has a tyre pointing in totally the wrong direction, he'll be heading for the pit lane.

  • 13:05 Lap 2

    Felipe Massa has a puncture and he'll have to dive in for an early stop as well.

  • 13:06 Lap 2

    Race controlTurn 1 incidents under investigation.

  • 13:06 Lap 2

    Yellow flagYellow flags.

  • 13:07 Lap 2

    Räikkönen hasn't managed to make it back to the pit lane, he's stopped at the side of the track. Verstappen is in the pits but it doesn't look so good for the Red Bull driver either.

  • 13:08 Lap 3

    Palmer and Kvyat also pitted during the first few laps of chaos.

  • 13:08 Lap 3

    Out front, Vettel has hauled out a 2.6 second lead already, and is setting the fastest lap of the race so far.

  • 13:09 Lap 4

    Race controlTurn 1 incident involving M Verstappen and K Räikkönen - no action warranted.

  • 13:09 Lap 4

    Massa had a front right puncture and a front wing change, so he's back out and running in 18th, having dropped nine places.

  • 13:10 Lap 4

    Race controlTurn 2 incident involving F Massa and F Alonso noted - forcing another driver off the track.

  • 13:10 Lap 5

    Fernando Alonso has dropped to 11th, but he's chasing the Haas of Grosjean for that last points position.

  • 13:11 Lap 5

    Right, replays of the start are go. Vettel just got off the line really cleanly and was leading into the first corner.

  • 13:11 Lap 5

    Bottas on the inside nudged Räikkönen into Verstappen, it was a minimal amount of contact for those two but they then had to go over the hefty kerbs.

  • 13:12 Lap 5

    On board with Kimi, actually it looked like a soft nudge with Bottas but a really hard hit with the Red Bull. "Somebody hit me from behind and broke my steering," the Finn reported.

  • 13:13 Lap 7

    We heard the replay of Alonso complaining that Massa had bumped him off track, but it seems like Massa came off worse there anyway.

  • 13:14 Lap 7
    One to Watch
    L Strollvs.M Ericsson
  • 13:14 Lap 8

    TweetTweet from @pirellisport: Already on lap two, #Seb5 is setting lap times more than two seconds faster than last year’s fastest race lap. #SpanishGP

  • 13:15 Lap 8

    Hamilton is maintaining the gap to Vettel but tells the pit wall that he's really struggling to keep up with the guy in front.

  • 13:16 Lap 9
    Gap Analysis
  • 13:16 Lap 9

    Team radioTeam radio to Alonso: "How much do you think you're being held up?"

    "A lot."

    Unusual position for the McLaren to be in!

  • 13:17 Lap 9

    Valtteri Bottas has been instructed to pick the pace up.

  • 13:18 Lap 10

    TweetTweet from @RenaultSportF1: Lap 10 - Nico is P7, looking to go play with his former team, and Jolyon has rejoined in P17 after his pitstop.

  • 13:18 Lap 10

    Race controlTurn 1 incident involving Alonso and Massa - no action warranted.

  • 13:19 Lap 11

    With those early stops for Palmer and Kvyat, Stoffel Vandoorne is the only driver currently running on the medium compounds. All else on softs.

  • 13:19 Lap 11

    Race controlTurn 1 incident involving Räikkönen, Verstappen and Bottas under investigation - causing a collision.

  • 13:20 Lap 12

    Force India are doing a brilliant job, running fifth and sixth at the moment, Pérez four seconds ahead of Ocon.

  • 13:21 Lap 12

    Nico Hülkenberg was the biggest winner in the kerfuffle at the beginning, he's currently up six places running in seventh.

  • 13:22 Lap 13

    In the other Renault, Jolyon Palmer is told to pick up the pace. He's running 16th with one stop under his belt.

  • 13:22 Lap 13

    Fernando Alonso comes in to the pits for his first stop of the afternoon, another set of softs goes on that McLaren.

  • 13:23 Lap 14

    Team radioTeam radio from Hamilton: "What's going on guys?"

    "Okay Lewis, we're just keeping an eye on our pit window. Just keep doing what you're doing, keep that gap as small as possible, you're doing a great job."

  • 13:24 Lap 14

    Magnussen and Sainz hustle into the pit lane at the same time. Both cars are released at the same time and Carlos takes to the grass to try and get past the Haas, but has to stick behind for now.

  • 13:25 Lap 15

    "He pushed me off, he pushed me off," Sainz complains when we all saw that Magnussen was just trundling down the pit exit as normal.

  • 13:25 Lap 15

    Race controlTurn 1 incident involving Räikkönen, Verstappen and Bottas under investigation - no action warranted.

  • 13:26 Lap 16

    Race controlPit exit incident involving Kevin Magnussen and Carlos Sainz noted.

  • 13:26 Lap 16

    Sebastian Vettel pits which puts Hamilton in the lead of the race, and the Mercedes is instructed to make the most of this opportunity.

  • 13:27 Lap 16

    TweetTweet from @pirellisport: We’re seeing race leader into the pits, along with a few others. All onto softs. Slightly slow stop for #Seb5? Hamilton in next?

  • 13:27 Lap 17

    Vettel sets the fastest lap of the race, he's currently in third but the first of the runners to have stopped.

  • 13:29 Lap 18

    Kvyat muscles his way past Alonso, who really just had to keep out of the bright blue Toro Rosso's way.

  • 13:30 Lap 19

    QuoteKimi Räikkönen: "It all started when I got hit on the right rear corner, my car jumped a little bit and you can’t control it after that. Then we got together with Max. What can you do? When you are out of the race in the first corner, there are not many positives."

  • 13:31 Lap 19

    Race controlPit exit incident involving Kevin Magnussen and Carlos Sainz under investigation... and then no further action warranted.

  • 13:33 Lap 21

    Hamilton has an 11 second lead at the moment, but he sounds really ragged in the car as he asks what the plan is of his engineer.

  • 13:33 Lap 21

    Vandoorne dips to the outside of Jolyon Palmer in the Renault, to overtake for 16th place. Good move even for such a disappointing position.

  • 13:34 Lap 21

    Replays of a Force India pit stop show they had a real struggle to get the front right tyre off, which delayed Sergio Pérez considerably.

  • 13:34 Lap 22

    Lewis Hamilton pits from the lead of the race, leaving Valtteri Bottas to move into P1.

  • 13:35 Lap 22

    Super quick stop from Mercedes and they've put Hamilton on the medium compound, which is a different strategy from those around him.

  • 13:35 Lap 22

    Having said that, Ricciardo in fourth (just behind Hamilton) is also on the white stripes.

  • 13:35 Lap 22

    Bottas in the lead, and Wehrlein running in sixth, are the only drivers not to have stopped yet.

  • 13:36 Lap 22

    TweetTweet from @pirellisport: Well, this is a bit different. @LewisHamilton onto the medium. Might be a short stint, then onto soft until the end.

  • 13:36 Lap 23

    Vettel is now chasing Bottas, hoping to regain his lead. There's just half a second between them.

  • 13:37 Lap 23

    Of course, if Bottas can hold up the Ferrari, that works in Hamilton's favour.

  • 13:38 Lap 24

    Vettel jinks to the side and pulls alongside Bottas down the home straight but he has to back off into the first corner.

  • 13:39 Lap 24

    Bottas locks up which allows Vettel to close up even further but there's still no opportunity yet.

  • 13:40 Lap 25

    Vettel weaves this way and that down the home straight, wobbles onto the grass to kick up a puff of dust, but finally gets the inside line and makes the move. First place for Sebastian once more, but Hamilton has closed up significantly.

  • 13:41 Lap 26

    Hamilton sweeps past Bottas on the next lap, it's about 4 seconds between the first two cars now.

  • 13:41 Lap 26

    Bottas, having done his bit for the team in every way, comes in for his own pit stop.

  • 13:43 Lap 28

    TweetTweet from @ForceIndiaF1: 26 laps in, it's still P5 and P6 for Checo and Esteban. Comfortable gaps on their rivals, with WEH 5s behind.

  • 13:44 Lap 29
    Driver Positions
    11S Vettel1
    2-1L Hamilton1
    30V Bottas1
    42D Ricciardo1
    53S Pérez1
    64E Ocon1
    78P Wehrlein0
    85N Hülkenberg1
    92K Magnussen1
    102C Sainz1
  • 13:45 Lap 29

    Still unclear whether the race leaders will opt for two or three stop strategies here, but Vettel is on a strategy all of his own at the moment - the only one of the top four to be currently on softs.

  • 13:46 Lap 29

    Marcus Ericsson dives to the inside of Fernando Alonso's McLaren into turn one, to take 13th place off the Spaniard.

  • 13:47 Lap 30

    Calm moment of racing now, as we wait to see who will do what next.

  • 13:48 Lap 31
    Inter-Team Battle
    N Hülkenberg8th
    J Palmer18th
  • 13:48 Lap 31

    Team radioTeam radio to Lewis Hamilton: "We need to be matching Vettel's time, and then closing the gap."

    "I don't think I can close the gap on these tyres, guys."

  • 13:51 Lap 33

    Fernando Alonso pits for the second time of the afternoon. That has dropped him down to 17th place.

  • 13:51 Lap 33

    Halfway through the race.

  • 13:53 Lap 34

    Collision between Felipe Massa and Stoffel Vandoorne and the McLaren is off into the gravel, out of the race.

  • 13:53 Lap 34

    Yellow flagYellow flags and virtual safety car deployed.

  • 13:53 Lap 35

    Bizarre incident there, Massa was easily alongside the McLaren and they just bumped wheels in the corner.

  • 13:54 Lap 35

    Plenty of drivers taking the opportunity to pit under this virtual safety car.

  • 13:55 Lap 35

    With so many cars pitting, we're now left with the top four and, of course, Pascal Wehrlein who took the opportunity to make his first stop, with just one stop under their belts.

  • 13:55 Lap 35

    Race controlTurn 1 incident involving S Vandoorne and F Massa under investigation.

  • 13:55 Lap 36

    Race controlPit entry incident involving Pascal Wehrlein under investigation.

  • 13:56 Lap 36

    The McLaren is being recovered, marshals leading the car away on the tractor.

  • 13:57 Lap 36

    Replays show Vandoorne apologising to the team over the radio as he ditched into the gravel.

  • 13:57 Lap 36

    Mercedes mechanics dash out into the pit lane.

  • 13:57 Lap 37

    It's Lewis Hamilton that comes into the pit lane and a fresh set of soft tyres go on the Mercedes.

  • 13:58 Lap 37

    Green flagTrack is clear.

  • 13:59 Lap 38

    Sebastian Vettel heads into the pit lane, that's a dodgy strategy call for Ferrari as Mercedes lost far less time under the VSC.

  • 13:59 Lap 38

    Vettel rejoins directly alongside Hamilton, they are side by side into the first corner, Hamilton is pushed a little wide, and Vettel keeps the position... just!

  • 14:01 Lap 38
    Battle for 7th
    7N Hülkenberg-
    8P Wehrlein+3.485
    9C Sainz+0.551
    10K Magnussen+1.520
    11R Grosjean+0.921
  • 14:01 Lap 39

    Hamilton is having another go on the Ferrari, he's so close behind it can only be a matter of time before another opportunity presents itself.

  • 14:02 Lap 39

    Yellow flagYellow flags for Valtteri Bottas, he's parked up off track, smoking pouring from the engine.

  • 14:03 Lap 40

    The pair are on different tyres now, Vettel on the harder compound, Hamilton on the softer.

  • 14:04 Lap 40

    StopwatchDaniel Ricciardo sets the fastest lap of the race so far - 1:23.686.

  • 14:04 Lap 40

    Meanwhile, the front two are navigating their way through back marker traffic which is keeping Hamilton behind, but he's looking feisty.

  • 14:05 Lap 42

    Ricciardo in a lonely third right now, the gap to the front pair is over 50 seconds, but he's got tow Force Indias about 10 seconds behind him.

  • 14:06 Lap 42

    Hamilton asks his engineer to leave him to it again, but he does say please, so that's something.

  • 14:07 Lap 43

    Carlos, however, has no pleases and thank yous. "Okay, leave me alone, now."

  • 14:08 Lap 44

    Hamilton finally has the advantage into the first corner, he drags his way past the Ferrari and regains his P1 position.

  • 14:08 Lap 44

    Race controlTurn 1 incident between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel noted - no investigation necessary.

  • 14:09 Lap 44

    Team radioTeam radio from Sebastian Vettel: "No chance, no chance. Like a train, like a train."

    "Don't give up, he will struggle with the tyres."

  • 14:10 Lap 45

    Daniil Kvyat overtakes Romain Grosjean for P10, the last of the points positions. Not bad considering he started in 19th.

  • 14:11 Lap 46

    Hamilton asks the pit wall what the plan is now, whether to pull the gap or cool the tyres, as his rears are already showing signs of wear.

  • 14:12 Lap 46

    Race control5 second time penalty for Pascal Wehrlein - failure to stay to the right of the pit entry bollard.

  • 14:15 Lap 49

    "It's not easy to pull away from him," Hamilton says, and he's right. The gap is still just 1.7 seconds between him and Vettel.

  • 14:17 Lap 50
    Gap Analysis
  • 14:18 Lap 51

    All but the top four drivers have been lapped now. The blue flags are working overtime today.

  • 14:23 Lap 54

    Another quiet moment of the race. Ferrari pondering whether to go to Plan C, which is rumoured to be a three stop. He has plenty of gap to Ricciardo in third, but not a lot of time left to make the gap.

  • 14:23 Lap 55

    Just three cars on the lead lap now.

  • 14:24 Lap 56

    Fernando Alonso has pitted again for his third stop of the day, but he's running 15th now, so disappointment all round for McLaren.

  • 14:28 Lap 58

    Eight laps to go and the gap at the front is a relatively comfortable 4 seconds.

  • 14:29 Lap 59

    The two Williams drivers are running next to each other, unfortunately for Paddy Lowe who was hoping for points, they are down in 13th and 14th position. Massa is about a second behind Stroll, so may look for a way past for pride.

  • 14:29 Lap 59

    Wehrlein is busy defending his seventh place from Carlos Sainz, but has a five second penalty hanging over his head. At the moment, he would still remain inside the top ten.

  • 14:32 Lap 61

    Vettel makes a meal of overtaking backmarker Massa, who left him space for an overtake but Vettel overcooked the corner and had to have another go at it.

  • 14:33 Lap 62

    Two very different radio messages there:

    Massa: "I think he's afraid of me."

    Vettel: "Why is it always Massa?"

  • 14:34 Lap 62

    Fernando Alonso has picked up the pace again and dispatched both Williams drivers to move into 13th.

  • 14:36 Lap 64

    StopwatchFastest lap of the race so far, Lewis Hamilton - 1:23.593.

  • 14:38 Lap 65

    Felipe Massa does make it past his teammate Lance Stroll, and leaves the Williams far behind.

  • 14:38 Lap 65

    Puncture for Kevin Magnussen as the Haas drops out of the points and heads into the pit lane. Disappointment!

  • 14:39 Lap 66

    Replays show a bit of a bump with Kvyat as Magnussen tried to get past, so the puncture was slightly his own doing. Kvyat and Grosjean up into the top ten.

  • 14:39 Lap 66

    Magnussen back out and running 14th.

  • 14:40

    Chequered flagLewis Hamilton wins the Spanish Grand Prix!

  • 14:40

    Vettel crosses the line 3.4 seconds behind for second place. Ricciardo a very distant third.

  • 14:41
    Race Winner
    DriverL Hamilton
    Race time1:35:56.497
    Race distance307.104km
    Average speed192.056km/h
  • 14:41
    Gap Analysis
  • 14:42

    Fantastic job by Force India for 4th and 5th, incredible points haul for them to consolidate fourth in the championship.

  • 14:42

    Esteban Ocon's best finish in F1 as well, solid but quiet job this weekend.

  • 14:42

    Pascal Wehrlein crossed the line seventh but will be eighth when classified, so that's Sauber's first points of the season.

  • 14:43
    Driver Positions
    10L Hamilton2
    20S Vettel2
    33D Ricciardo2
    44S Pérez2
    55E Ocon2
    67N Hülkenberg2
    78P Wehrlein1
    84C Sainz2
    910D Kvyat2
    104R Grosjean2
  • 14:44

    Race controlTurn 4 incident involving K Magnussen and D Kvyat under investigation.

  • 14:44

    TweetTweet from @McLarenF1: Fernando finishes P12 with his fastest lap of the race: 1:23.894. Great effort from @alo_oficial after an unlucky start.

  • 14:45
    Championship Standings
    1S Vettel104
    2L Hamilton98
    3V Bottas63
    4K Räikkönen49
    5D Ricciardo37
  • 14:45
    Championship Standings
    3Red Bull72
    4Force India53
    5Toro Rosso19
  • 14:49

    Good chat between the three drivers in the green room and they take to the podium for national anthems and champagne.

  • 14:49

    Vettel admits to Hamilton that he was surprised by the out and out pace of the Mercedes, and to Ricciardo says he's confused why they emerged side by side with Hamilton after his pit stop. All of that can be attributed to the Ferrari - not quite quick enough today, and a bad strategy call from the pit wall.

  • 14:50

    However, Vettel still leads the championship and we go into Monaco still satisfied with having two different teams in this 2017 season long battle.

  • 14:50

    Great job for Sauber to pick up their first points of the season, and disappointment (although perhaps not surprise) for Alonso to miss out on points for McLaren after such a good qualifying. He's probably already on a plane to the US, though.

  • 14:51

    Toro Rosso have moved ahead of Williams in the constructor's fight, one point between the two. Williams will struggle to do battle with Toro Rosso who have two stronger drivers, whilst they are pinning most hopes on Massa.

  • 14:52

    So, two weeks until the Monaco Grand Prix, and we know it won't be an overtaking frenzy, but it can still provide plenty of intrigue and excitement to add to this brilliant 2017 story.

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