Brilliant Vettel nets fourth win of season

Red Bull ace wards off Hamilton challenge

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel powers to the finish at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona on Sunday. It was Vettel’s fourth win in five races this season. AFP

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton finished second, just 0.6 seconds behind, after harrying the 23-year-old German over the closing laps in a far closer finale to a race many had forecast would be a duel between the dominant Red Bulls.

"That was crazy, crazy man, you were coming, coming, coming," Vettel told Hamilton before the podium Champagne celebrations.

Hamilton's team-mate and fellow-Briton Jenson Button was third, beating Red Bull's Australian Mark Webber for the final place on the podium and helped by a three-stop strategy to the others' four.

However the stewards announced some nineteen minutes after the end of the race that Hamilton, Button and Webber were all under investigation for failing to slow for yellow flags.

The rest of the field, including Ferrari's fifth placed local hero Fernando Alonso and sixth placed Michael Schumacher, were lapped.

Vettel stretched his championship lead over Hamilton, the 2008 champion and only man to have beaten him so far this year, to 41 points.

Even if Vettel's 14th career victory came as no surprise it still marked the first time since 2000, when Finland's Mika Hakkinen beat Michael Schumacher to the chequered flag, that the race was won by someone other than the driver starting on pole.

At a circuit previously renowed for scant overtaking or excitement, with just 10 moves in last year's race, the new driver operated rear wings (DRS) and KERS systems transformed the landscape.

"It was pretty tough, obviously," said Vettel, whose KERS system giving a brief power boost at the push of a button was working only intermittently. 

"Going into the last 10 laps it felt a bit like China, with the tyres going away," he said of a race in which he finished second after Hamilton reeled him in with better strategy.
"McLaren and Lewis especially gave us a very, very hard time."

No points for Force India

Force India’s pointless streak continued as Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil finished 12th and 13th respectively. It’s now the third race in a row that Force India has returned empty handed.  Meanwhile, India’s Narain Karthikeyan finished 21st and last as three drivers retired.

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