Mercedes explains stall in Lewis Hamilton contract talks


Lewis Hamilton extended his lead at the top of the Drivers' Championship to 17 points with victory at the Spanish Grand Prix - his third at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya - whilst Valtteri Bottas eased to second place after Sebastian Vettel and Scuderia Ferrari's decision to pit under the Virtual Safety Car failed to have its desired effect.

Coming off four straight titles in both the constructors' and drivers' championships, Mercedes had started the season by showing good pace in Australia, although it let victory escape thanks in part to an ill-timed safety vehicle that helped Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel earn the win in Melbourne.

"Obviously we don't want to lose him and I don't think he wants to go anywhere else", Wolff said. "Honestly before the race we expected one stop was not going to be possible - at least to do the race quickly with one stop".

And with Mercedes money men in Barcelona to witness his dominant display, Hamilton dropped the biggest hint yet that he is ready to commit his future to the German team. But once the Safety Car pulled in at the end of lap six, Hamilton was in a race nearly on his own, a rapid first stint suggested that there was one man in contention for the win.

"We spoke about potential options for next year or even later on this year, spreading the compounds out a little bit, making it a bit more racy".

"We've definitely got ourselves on to the right path. We just need to continue like that, and for me also the wins will come". We weren't happy with our car's performance and we needed to sort things out. I felt that synergy which I hadn't been feeling for the whole year.

"Apparently, the changes that were made did us more harm than it did our opponents", Ferrari's Vettel said.

That pair will also be in action as part of Pirelli's 2018 tyre development programme, with 18-year-old prospect Norris sharing day-one duties with fellow Brit Oliver Turvey before Vandoorne takes charge of the second MCL33. But Mercedes officials and drivers are saying one race doesn't make a season.

"We were assessing our options against Vettel once we saw that we didn't have the pace to pass but when he stopped on the VSC, the best strategy was to run the to end and Valtteri did an fantastic job of managing the tyres over 47 laps, the longest stint anyone made during the race". "So we need to keep working hard and believe in our ability to improve things". Will it be Mercedes or Ferrari or Red Bull?

When Romain Grosjean moved from Renault to the then new American team Haas back in 2016 he hoped that the move would act as a stepping stone to joining Ferrari.

The Monaco Grand Prix takes place in two weeks' time. Valtteri Bottas delivered probably his best qualifying lap of the season there in 2017.