BARCELONA (AFP) – A happy Lewis Hamilton said the warmer weather in Catalonia, rather than a quantum leap in performance, was the main reason he and Mercedes won Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.
The defending four-time champion, who increased his lead in this year’s title race to 17 points ahead of Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari, added that he and the Mercedes team were still uncertain about the races ahead.
“I think you can only really take it one race at a time,” he explained.
“This weekend, definitely we got ourselves onto the right path and I think the team just did an exceptional job, managing all aspects and improving in all areas.
“I said that I wanted to win in the way that I won and I guess, when I was coming across the line, I was just happy that I did it as I planned.”
Hamilton won in convincing fashion by 20 seconds ahead of his team-mate Valtteri Bottas in a crushing one-two triumph for Mercedes, their first this year.
It lifted the champions 17 points clear of Ferrari in the constructors’ championship and, after four mediocre outings this year, boosted confidence ahead of the glamorous Monaco Grand Prix in two weeks time.
Vettel finished fourth behind Max Verstappen of Red Bull.
“Monaco is a tough track so I just hope the weather’s good there,” added Hamilton. “If it is, then neither of us will probably struggle with the tyres.
“If it’s cold, like it has been in the coolest days here, it could be difficult, but we definitely go there on a high note.
“And we definitely don’t take for granted the fact that we still have a mountain to climb. We still have a lot of work to do.
“I think the fact that the sun was out mostly this weekend was most important this weekend compared to the other races, but the following tracks will give us a much better understanding of what’s going on.
“Our understanding of the car and the improvements that we’re making are important too. The team have worked so hard to understand how the car and the tyres work. Now, it’s important that we continue to push hard.”
“It felt special today, it felt strong,” he added. “We got qualifying right. Then, once I got going and got a good start — after that no-one had the pace to keep up with me and I was pulling away at a second a lap.
““It felt good. It was the closest I’ve been to feeling it is all going right, but there are still things that are not quite perfect. It is the closest to that feeling I had last year in terms of feeling comfortable with the car.
“Ferrari made a mistake with their strategy, but for us, to get a one-two… it is really hard to do that.”