Vettel defends Ferrari's Spanish strategy

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The defending, four-time World champion dominated from start to finish, save for a spell during the mid-race pit-stops, and clocked a series of record laps as he registered his second successive win. "This weekend, we got ourselves on the right path".

Sebastian Vettel won two of those three opening races as Ferrari threatened to mount a serious challenge to Mercedes' dominance of the sport over recent seasons.

Mercedes regained the lead in the constructors' standings and are now 27 points clear of Ferrari who had 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen retire from the race.

Lewis Hamilton said he would sleep "like a baby" on Sunday after claiming another of Michael Schumacher's Formula One records with a 64th win that felt as special as any. "We have the Mercedes board with us, it's great to have them here, for them to see that force in the team - the strength and depth".

It was largely anticipated that most teams would attempt a one-stopper strategy (soft - medium) unless rain or a late-race Safety Car period was added to the mix - and that's how it turned out to be. 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.

"We couldn't make the tyres last so for us", said Vettel. But inside the vehicle, we were going through the tyres too quick and therefore we were not able to stay out for another 23 laps. We were just not quick enough and even at the end I was not in a healthy shape with the tires even though mine were the freshest. "I think we struggled a little bit over the course of the weekend with the tyres". They changed but they changed for everyone.

Most improved: Mercedes may have broken Ferrari's run of consecutive pole positions, but Alonso qualifying eighth is arguably the most obvious change from previous rounds. "It's a good feeling".

Verstappen went from zero to hero, taking his first podium of the season after a frustrating weekend in Baku, while a spin under the virtual safety auto meant Daniel Ricciardo couldn't take advantage of Vettel's second stop. "Hopefully, we can just work from here and score a lot of good results".

But it was the virtual safety vehicle that arguably had the biggest say in Sunday's race.

The leading cars navigated the opening metres without drama, but the same could not be said further behind after a three-way crash was sparked by the error-prone Romain Grosjean.

Spanish driver and local hero Fernando Alonso finished seventh after a spirited drive, also pulling off the best overtaking manoeuvre of the race, when he raced past Esteban Ocon on the outside of the fast and sweeping Turn 3.

Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes will be able to apply pressure to Ferrari on a more consistent basis, such was the level of his performance in the Spanish Grand Prix. Force India's Sergio Perez's scored two points for his team in 9th, while Charles Leclerc continued his momentum from Baku to finish 10th, adding one more point to Sauber's tally.