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Sebastian Vettel's struggles continue with 4th place at Spanish GP

17 May 2018

With three second places from five races, Valtteri Bottas believes he is hitting his targets for the Formula One season even if victory has so far escaped him.

Mercedes opted not to bring Bottas in for new tyres when Vettel pitted under the late Virtual Safety Car, preferring to jump the Ferrari and gain track position, which ultimately paid off in securing second place.

Most teams took the opportunity to give their reserve driver sthe chance to shine, with the likes of Lando Norris (McLaren) and Jake Dennis (Red Bull) racking up 80 and 75 laps each.

Hamilton put in a dominant performance at the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday, winning easily and showing Ferrari that Mercedes remains the team to beat in Formula One.

"If we're one-two and I'm second, and Lewis wins, there's a big part of me that is really happy for us as a team".

Those components should have lasted until the end of the Monaco race and then been replaced for the seventh round in Canada, where Ferrari plans to introduce its upgraded engine.

Already concerned that the thinner treaded tyres Pirelli introduced in Spain were a bid by Pirelli to aid Mercedes, in particular, and also Red Bull, as the two continued to struggle with over-heating, both having suffered in pre-season testing, the poor pace of the Ferrari compared to its rivals did little to dispel the suspicion. "Positive I think in quite a few ways but there's still some things with the old one which are always positive, so it's trying to combine them and get both on one auto which would make it even faster basically. I think overall it's definitely been a slight step forward".

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Hamilton pulled away early and was able to comfortably control the pace of the race through to the end, finishing more than 20 seconds ahead of his teammate.

GP3 race victor Nikita Mazepin was fifth fastest in the Force India and completed 108 laps despite a auto issue in the morning.

Sauber's Charles Leclerc was sixth fastest using hypersofts, lapping just half a tenth slower than Aitken. "We wanted to take care of the racing car.The ink is nearly dry, and when it is, we'll let you know", Wolff said.

Temperatures look set to cool on Sunday but the threat of rain will add another challenge for the teams and drivers to ponder.

There was also more track time for Robert Kubica, who followed his FP1 run for Williams with a full day of testing and completed almost two race distances.

Nicholas Latifi, driving for Force India, was the fastest of the inexperienced drivers with the fifth-best time behind Haas' Romain Grosjean in fourth. Will it be Mercedes or Ferrari or Red Bull?

Sebastian Vettel's struggles continue with 4th place at Spanish GP