Spanish Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton turning Russia 'pain' into a 'positive'

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton is 13 points behind Sebastian Vettel in the standings
Spanish Grand Prix on the BBC
Dates: 12-14 May Venue: Circuit De Catalunya
Coverage: Practice, qualifying and race on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and online. Live text commentary, leaderboard and imagery on BBC Sport website and app.

Lewis Hamilton says he has learned from his difficult weekend at the Russian Grand Prix and hopes Sunday's race in Spain will be better.

The three-time world champion finished fourth in Sochi last month as Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas won.

"You digest the pain of a tough weekend, which you deal with internally, and then you try to put it into a positive," said the Briton.

"It's just making sure you take the right steps moving forwards."

Hamilton heads into the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya 13 points behind Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in the championship, with Bottas 10 further back.

"I hope this weekend is a lot better," said Hamilton.

"I'm always looking forwards. It is a continuation. Second in the championship, still fighting, have another 16 races to go.

"The last race, there were just a lot of small things that led to it, no one thing bigger than another, that just led us in the wrong direction."

So far in 2017 Hamilton has one race win, vettel has two and Bottas one, with Raikkonen on none
Who has finished where so far?

Hamilton said the main issue was the car was not working properly with the tyres.

"The whole weekend I generally wasn't in the right window," he added.

"We have a good understanding of where we went wrong on our side of the garage so we have grown from the experience.

"Having a win, a fast car and a car that struggled, I think we're better equipped but I can't really say whether it will be better.

"There are a lot of challenges this weekend, a lot of [car] upgrades for everyone and we will be doing everything we can [in Friday practice] to make sure the car is in the right place."

Spanish Grand Prix circuit
Lewis Hamilton started the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix on pole but failed to finish after a collision with Nico Rosberg on lap one

Hamilton said Bottas' maiden win changed nothing, as he had always considered the Finn a serious rival.

"Of course he's a credible competitor," he said. "He was when he joined. Lots of people had perceptions about how he would perform and he has proved everyone wrong. He will remain a competitor for the rest of the year, the fight will go on.

"It adds to the spectacle. I have to do a better job on more weekends than my team-mate and win the championship so it doesn't really change anything.

"It's great to have a strong team-mate because it helps the team move forward in a good direction."

Spain is traditionally a race at which teams bring their first major development parts of the season, and so far it has not disappointed.

The Mercedes has a raft of aerodynamic changes at the front of the car, including a much narrower nose, under which is a unique aerodynamic shaping device that has been likened by some to a snowplough.

Ferrari and Red Bull also have major upgrades to their cars, one to try to keep them up with Mercedes, the other to try to bridge the gap to the top two teams.

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Rain in Spain? Spanish GP forecast

Vettel is yet to admit Ferrari have become the team to beat, after their huge step forward over the winter.

"I don't feel it is like that," the four-time world champion said.

"Mercedes are still the ones to beat. Maybe not if you look race by race, but overall they have been the dominant team and it is difficult to break that.

"But we are trying our best. We are in a much better position than in previous years but it is still fairly early.

"It matters what you keep doing not what you have done. I know we still have the same people and believe they can bring the upgrades we need to keep fighting."

How to follow on BBC Sport

BBC Sport has live coverage of all the season's races on BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, plus live online commentary on the BBC Sport website and mobile app - including audience interaction, expert analysis, debate, voting, features, interviews and video content.

Spanish Grand Prix coverage details (all times BST)
DateSessionTimeRadio coverageOnline text commentary
Friday, 12 MayFirst practice08:55BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and onlinefrom 08:30
Second practice12:55Online onlyfrom 12:00
Saturday, 13 MayFinal practice09:55BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and onlinefrom 09:30
Saturday, 13 MayQualifying12:55BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and onlinefrom 12:00
Sunday, 14 MayRace12:30BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and onlineFrom 11:30
Monday, 15 MayReview04:30BBC Radio 5 live, online and podcast

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