F1: Mercedes boss praises 2017 Spanish Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton's "supreme" performance
PUBLISHED: 10:59 15 May 2017 | UPDATED: 14:57 28 May 2017
Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.
Mercedes Formula One bosses celebrated Sunday's scorching victory in the 2017 Spanish Grand Prix with team supremo Toto Wolff praising race winner Lewis Hamilton's "supreme drive".
The 32-year-old Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 racer from Hertfordshire produced a stunning display in Spain to beat Sebastian Vettel to the chequered flag around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Pole-sitter Hamilton recovered from losing the lead off the start line to Ferrari rival Vettel to claim his second victory of the 2017 season.
Both multiple world champions, Hamilton and title rival Vettel produced a thrilling battle at the front of the field – something F1 fans have been waiting to see for years.
Hamilton’s victory slashes Vettel’s World Championship lead to just six points, with the F1 circus moving on to the playboys’ paradise of Monte Carlo next for the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday, May 28.
After Sunday’s tense Spanish GP, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport head Toto Wolff said: “That was an epic Grand Prix.
“Racing simply doesn’t go more wheel to wheel – and we were treated to some fantastic racing for the win.
“Today’s win was one for the whole team: an amazing drive from Lewis, great calls by our strategy team, good defensive driving by Valtteri [Bottas], the fastest pit stops of the race and a quick, consistent upgraded car.
“Everything clicked and came together for us.
“It wasn’t an easy race after we lost position at the start: we were on the back foot, so when Vettel covered the early undercut, we sent Lewis long and took the medium tyre to give us options at the end with another set of softs.
“Then we made perfect use of the VSC [Virtual Safety Car] and took a risk to run nearly half the race on a set of softs: we thought it would work out but it was always going to be tight.
“After that, it came down to some brilliant driving and then managing the tyres and engine just right to the final lap.”
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, with 161 points, now lead the Constructors’ Championship by eight points from Ferrari (153 points) in P2.
Despite Hamilton storming to victory, Silver Arrows colleague Valterri Bottas suffered his first retirement of the season on Sunday with a mechanical failure on lap 39.
Wolff added: “It was not a perfect day: we lost one car with a technical failure and Valtteri struggled with a damaged car after the contact at Turn One.
“In spite of that, he drove well and the one-stop approach could have worked out for him until the VSC happened.
“But it was a day when only one Ferrari finished, so in spite of the retirement, we built up our championship lead.
“But this was Lewis’ day with a supreme drive. People have been asking me if Lewis is now back. The truth is he has never been away – and today’s showed it.”
Mercedes tecnhical director James Allison said Hamilton was “at the peak of his craft” in Spain.
Allison said: “Grands Prix like that are why we go motor racing. Winning is always lovely.
“But when you win a proper 12 round heavyweight fight in this kind of style, and along the way answer all sorts of questions about tyre degradation, following other teams and the car’s handling – and then see a driver at the peak of his craft like Lewis was today – there’s nothing better than that.
“It was a body blow not to get our second car home and we will be looking carefully at what happened to Valtteri. But the sweetness of winning is some compensation for the bitterness of that retirement.”