F1 Raceweek: Hamilton primed to extend championship lead?

F1 Raceweek: Hamilton primed to extend championship lead?

The defending four-time world champion and current series leader started from pole position after a record-breaking qualifying lap on Saturday and finished ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas, with Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen rounding out the podium.

"I was told by the team to stop the auto", Raikkonen said".

"They appear to be a lot harder than past year", he said.

There were big cheers from the crowd for Hartley, in his first full season in F1, as he climbed from the wreckage of his auto. "So I hope we can continue".

So, while Sunday's result will be hugely encouraging to Hamilton and Mercedes, it should not be taken as an indication that the team will dominate from here on in. That's largely down to the tyres being two steps softer than in 2017, but also a reflection of the relentless development race in F1 - Hamilton's time was also a second quicker than the best lap in winter testing. This was the second time in the last five races that only one Ferrari auto reached the finish line.

Behind the top four it was Daniel Ricciardo in a fairly distant fifth spot - although on the same lap as the top four at the finish - with the Haas of Magnussen in sixth, although his team mate, Romain Grosjean, managed to spin out on the opening lap.

Pakistan's National Security Council calls for meet after Nawaz Sharif's 26/11 addmission
Sharif, also questioned why the trial into the Mumbai attacks was stalled at a Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court. Criticising the country's foreign policy, Sharif had added: "We have isolated ourselves".

Vettel said he remained upbeat heading into the Monaco Grand Prix in two weeks.

The red lights' exodus saw the red auto of Sebastian Vettel push past Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas into the first corner, staggering the Mercedes-Ferrari running order.

Home ground favourite McLaren's Fernando Alonso started the race in a good P8 but after the Lap 1 shuffle he was pushed back to P11 then worked himself back to his original position by the end of the race. The Red Bull Racing prodigy was able to keep ahead of Vettel to climb onto the last step of the podium. His team-mate Sergey Sirotkin was in 18th but has a three-place grid penalty from the last race. But racing was immediately interrupted by the safety vehicle when Nico Hülkenberg and Pierre Gasly were collected by Romain Grosjean in the Haas who went off and spun back across the track through the third corner.

Williams' Lance Stroll, who had more than a fair share of off-track excursions in the Free Practice sessions, finished approximately five seconds behind Leclerc in 11th place. The Haas driver collected Pierre Gasly and Nico Hulkenberg in the process.

Raikkonen conceded the supersoft tyres, which have given teams a headache this weekend, continued to pose a challenge for Ferrari, and he highlighted the thinner tread being used this weekend as a possible factor.

Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix was destined to be full of turmoil from before it began, courtesy of rain overnight that cut grip levels at Circuit de Catalunya.

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