Mercedes set the pace in practice for Spanish GP

Mercedes set the pace in practice for Spanish GP

Finland's Valtteri Bottas was second, a hefty 20.5 seconds behind, with Dutch 20-year-old Max Verstappen completing the podium for Red Bull - his first of an incident-filled season.

The Briton had felt that one was neither earned nor deserved, although he was probably being overly harsh on himself, but Sunday's race saw him lead cleanly from the start and pull away.

Vettel picked off Valtteri Bottas off the line and preserved second place through the first round of stops, as the leader exchanged Softs for Mediums.

Hamilton, however, remained untroubled in the clean air out front and had 16 seconds on Bottas and 26 on Verstappen in third by lap 50.

That will certainly be nice for Ferrari to hear, considering the criticism that followed the decision.

"We're sorry to say that we have experienced a few technical difficulties with F1 TV's live broadcast", F1 said. "It looks different and it looks wrong, but from the inside I think it was the right thing to do".

"Overall it has been a decent weekend, we just need to understand for tyres what to do". But I think it's our understanding and improvements we have been making to the vehicle.

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Lewis Hamilton took six of the nine victories in Europe previous year 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.

"If you look from outside it's easier, but inside the auto, we were going through the tyres too quick".

After dominating in the season opener at Melbourne but failing to win after Vettel took advantage of a late virtual safety vehicle, Mercedes admitted a software error had caused the miscalculation that had cost Hamilton.

Kevin Magnussen converted the encouraging pace Haas has displayed all weekend to qualify best of the rest in seventh, edging out local hero Fernando Alonso, who put McLaren through to Q3 for the first time of the season.

The last two points were taken by Sergio Perez of Force India and Charles Leclerc of Sauber, after Perez passed the latter on Lap 60 and held on to the spot.

The race got off to a chaotic start due to Romain Grosjean losing control. And if he can capture a fourth straight pole, it should serve as a big advantage with overtaking being hard at this track. But racing was immediately interrupted by the safety vehicle when Nico H├╝lkenberg and Pierre Gasly were collected by Romain Grosjean in the Haas who went off and spun back across the track through the third corner. The Frenchman spun across the track, kept his foot down on the throttle and was collected by Hulkenberg and Gasly.