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It also set a record, one that Hamilton had previously shared with seven times champion Michael Schumacher, of 41 wins from pole position.

Victory never looked in doubt for Hamilton after he successfully led away from pole into Turn 1, beating Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas by 20 seconds.

When racing resumed Vettel was first of the leading group to pit but the Mercedes pair stayed out on what turned out to be a one-stop strategy, with Hamilton immediately smashing the lap record. "When Lewis was coming behind Max (Verstappen) he had a brand-new tire, Max had a tire that had done 27 laps, and it's just so hard to overtake here".

"We got a fair beating this weekend", he said. The team did an exceptional job. I don't know what happened.

He continued, "I was much happier with the vehicle". I wouldn't say I had flawless synergy but close.

"Third, I think it was a poor weekend in terms of reliability". "I said that I wanted to come here and win the way that I won, and when I came across the line I was just happy that I did as I planned to". I thought it would be a lot closer but I was much happier with the vehicle.

Lewis Hamilton took six of the nine victories in Europe a year ago to take a stranglehold on the championship, but although he is pleased with the result in Spain, Wolff said he is not getting overexcited just yet. The degree of surprise increased further when they made a decision to send him out on the medium tyres instead of the softs.

"We couldn't make the tyres last so for us it was clear we come in again", Vettel clarified. Obviously, if you look from the outside it's easy. 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.

Fernando Alonso dominated the radiowaves, asking his team several times if rain was on the way. On the mediums, his Ferrari could manage only half of the number of laps (24) as Bottas (47). One revolved around a change in the tyres for this race, Pirelli choosing to bring tyres with a thinner tread depth to avoid the blistering some teams suffered from in pre-season testing.

"I think you can only really take it one race at a time", he explained. They changed but they changed for everyone. "We tried our best, but something was missing and we need to improve on this".

Now there is a possibility Mercedes might have got on top of the tyre problems that afflicted them in Bahrain, China and Azerbaijan.

The other issue for Ferrari was their unreliability. It seems that Raikkonen is yet again on the receiving end of Ferrari's bad luck.

In total, six cars failed to finish.

As a potential explanation for the lack of pace, Vettel added that perhaps Ferrari's upgrades for Spain had not been as significant as those of other teams.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen celebrates on the podium with his trophy after finishing in third place. Luckily for Verstappen, the damage was only to his front wing endplate and didn't limit his performance too much.

Daniel Ricciardo has missed the podium in Barcelona, failing to fire as Lewis Hamilton extended his lead atop the F1 standings. With 16th, 13th, 17th and 15th place finishes in his first four races, it has not been a bright start to the season for the Haas driver. He said, "It feels nice to be on the podium and nice to have a good clean race". If it's cold, like it has been in the coolest days here, it could be hard, 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. The 37-year-old was sitting behind Hamilton in second on lap 26 when he experienced trouble with the vehicle and was subsequently overtaken by both Red Bull drivers and fell into 17th. It was only revealed post-race that one of the reasons for this huge gap was a spin after the Virtual Safety Car restart on cold tyres.

Mexican Sergio Perez was ninth for Force India and Monegasque rookie Charles Leclerc took the final point for Sauber.

The race got off to a chaotic start due to Romain Grosjean losing control.