Hamilton dominates in Spain to take victory

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton drove a perfect lights to flag victory in the Spanish Grand Prix, finishing ahead of Max Verstappen and lapping every drive up to third from Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Despite hopes that Red Bull would be able to threaten Mercedes after showing strong pace on the medium Pirelli long runs in practice at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Hamilton was able to run faster at critical moments of the race to stay well clear of Verstappen.

At the start, Hamilton leapt off the line to easily hold the lead into Turn 1, while Bottas looked to have made an poor getaway before he was quickly swamped by Verstappen and Stroll on the long run to the first corner.

Verstappen was able to sweep around the outside at the first corner and head off after Hamilton, while Stroll – having made a great start from fifth on the grid and enjoyed the slipstream from the leaders on the run to the right-hander – barged his way down the inside to claim third place.

Bottas had to give the place and was nearly hit by Alex Albon’s Red Bull before he was able to charge after Stroll, eventually retaking third with the help of DRS on the main straight at the start of lap five.

Hamilton had immediately moved out of DRS range of Verstappen and the gap remained stable in the early stages as the drivers quickly entered a tyre management phase, with Verstappen telling Red Bull Hamilton was driving “super slow” as a result.

But the world champion began to increase the pressure on Verstappen with a series of fastest laps after the tenth lap of 66 had been completed that opened his lead beyond four seconds.

This increased steadily towards the end of the first stint as only Hamilton was able to lap consistently in the one minute, 23 seconds, with Verstappen growing frustrated on team radio by the state of his tyres before Red Bull brought him at the end of lap 21 to put on the medium tyres.

Mercedes left Hamilton and Bottas out for an extra two laps before bringing them in for a double-stack stop, with Hamilton’s taking 4.3 seconds with a slow left-rear change.

That meant the leader’s advantage was cut from just over seven seconds to 4.3 seconds by the time he rejoined, with Verstappen then able to match him in the one minute, 23 seconds during the early phase of the second stint and lower the gap to just below four seconds as they took turns exchanging slightly faster times.

But in a repeat of the opening stint, Hamilton was able to pick up his pace as he dipped into the one minute, 22 seconds from lap 34, with Verstappen unable to go with him.

This meant that Hamilton was able to steadily extend his advantage back to what it was before his first stop and then gradually up to the 10-second mark before Red Bull called Verstappen in again on 41.

This was to protect again the threat of an undercut from Bottas, who had closed in on second place as the leaders made their way through lapping battling midfielders.

Bottas stayed for another seven laps after initially flying with a fastest lap of the race at that stage on lap 42, and came in to go onto soft tyres at the end of lap 48.

Verstappen had used his time on fresh mediums to open up a 5.8 seconds gap over Bottas when the Finn rejoined, which got larger and the stabilised as they ran through more traffic, with move to the red-walled rubber not paying off for the Mercedes driver.

Hamilton came in on lap 50, one lap later than Mercedes had initially planned as the Briton refused to move onto the softs, preferring to stay on the mediums, and he was able to simply run clear in the lead to finish.

Hamilton came home 24.1 seconds clear, a running over a piece of Romain Grosjean’s Haas at Turn 2 late on, but this did not disturb his run to victory.

Verstappen finished 20.5 seconds ahead of Bottas in second as Mercedes brought him for a third stop with two to run, which meant he flew to the fastest lap – a one minute, 18.183 seconds – on the final tour, as the threat of rain clouds that appeared in the distance at the Barcelona track leaving it untouched.

Every other driver was lapped, with Sergio Perez finishing fourth on track but ending up fifth behind his teammate Lance Stroll – who completed a two-stopper to the Mexican’s one-stop strategy – as Perez picked up a five-second penalty for ignoring blue flags as Hamilton lapped him.

Carlos Sainz gained a place on his grid spot to come home sixth for McLaren, as taking softs at his first stop gave him extra grip compared to his rivals that he used to good effect.

He had to pass Sebastian Vettel’s one-stopping Ferrari late on, as did Stroll, with the German driver nevertheless finishing a solid seventh in front of a gaggle of cars after starting in P11 on the mediums and the keeping softs alive in his second stint.

Alex Albon had to run the hards after his first stop and came home eighth after starting sixth, with Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris chasing him home to round out the top ten.

Daniel Ricciardo’s one-stopper gained him a few spots but he finished just outside the points.

Grosjean came home last after picking up damage in a late clash with Antonio Giovinazzi (who finished P16, with his Alfa Romeo teammate Kimi Raikkonen P14 after his own moment with Grosjean on the pit straight enraged the 2007 world champion).

The Haas driver then half spun at the Turns 7-8 chicane in the final laps and took an extra stop that dropped him to P19.

Charles Leclerc was the only non-finisher after his Ferrari power unit cut out due to a sudden electrical problem at the final chicane around half distance, which spun Leclerc, who had been battling hard with Norris.

Leclerc was able to get the power on again but he toured slowly back to the pits with loose seat belts and retired when he reached his garage.

So not the most thrilling Spanish Grand Prix but a fantastic result for Lewis Hamilton in winning the race and extend his points lead in the championship. Hamilton has now scored 156 podiums in the sport, setting a new record for the most finishes in the top 3. Achievement unlocked!

Spanish Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1h31m45.279s
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 24.177s
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 44.752s
4 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1 Lap
5 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1 Lap
6 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren_Renault 1 Lap
7 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1 Lap
8 Alexander Albon Red Bull-Honda 1 Lap
9 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1 Lap
10 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1 Lap
11 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1 Lap
12 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1 Lap
13 Esteban Ocon Renault 1 Lap
14 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1 Lap
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1 Lap
16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1 Lap
17 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1 Lap
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 2 Laps
19 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 2 Laps
– Charles Leclerc Ferrari Electrical

4 thoughts to “Hamilton dominates in Spain to take victory”

  1. Spanish Grand Prix race review as reported by Formula1.com.

    Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton executed a near-perfect race at the Spanish Grand Prix, leading every lap from pole to record his fifth Spanish Grand Prix win, and his fourth victory of the season, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen coming home ahead of the sister Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.

    The seeds of Hamilton’s victory were sown by a strong start for him, as Bottas dropped from P2 to P4 off the line, before eventually recovering to third, while Verstappen jumped to second at the getaway, but ultimately wasn’t able to make any in-roads into Hamilton’s lead, as he finished 24s adrift.

    Racing Point’s Sergio Perez crossed the line in fourth but dropped to fifth thanks to a five-second penalty for ignoring blue flags, allowing Lance Stroll to claim P4. Perez eventually slotted into fifth, ahead of the McLaren of Carlos Sainz – who maintained his 100% record of finishing in the points at his home race – and the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel, who benefitted from a late decision to switch him onto a one-stop strategy to come home in seventh.

    He finished ahead of the second Red Bull of Alex Albon, the Thai driver hurt by having had to switch early to a set of hards, while the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly and the second McLaren of Lando Norris rounded out the top 10 – the expected strong race pace from Renault having failed to materialise on race day, as Daniel Ricciardo wound up 11th, with Esteban Ocon 13th.

    Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, meanwhile, was the only driver to retire from the race, the Monegasque suffering an electrical issue at the halfway point that pitched him into a spin at Turn 15, before eventually boxing his SF1000.

    Hamilton was faultless off the start, powering untroubled down the 612-metre run to Turn 1. Alongside, there was little wrong with Valtteri Bottas’ getaway.

    But the fast start of Max Verstappen from third, and directly behind Hamilton, prevented Bottas moving over into his team mate’s slipstream, allowing Verstappen through into second, while an incisive Lance Stroll darted first to the left then all the way over to the right of the track before diving down the inside of Bottas to pinch third with a brilliant move.

    Bottas was down in fourth, then, and was nearly had by the sister Racing Point of Sergio Perez too, who was momentarily ahead of the Finn at Turn 3 before Bottas moved back in front.

    Alex Albon had enjoyed a fine start from P6, but was baulked by Bottas in Turn 2, having to get off the throttle and losing his advantage to remain sixth. Pierre Gasly had a good start in the AlphaTauri, jumping up two places to eighth as Lando Norris fell down to two to P10.

    After starting P13, Daniel Ricciardo had made up a place at the start by passing the AlphaTauri of Daniil Kvyat, but lost it again after a fantastic move on Lap 2 from the Russian, who re-passed him around the outside of Turn 4, just as he had done on Kimi Raikkonen in the 2019 race.

    Haas’ Kevin Magnussen had a fantastic start from 16th on the grid, passing the Alfa Romeo of Raikkonen and the Renault of Esteban Ocon.

    A presumably frustrated Bottas then DRS-ed his way past Stroll for third on Lap 5 of 66, allowing vaguely normal service to resume for Mercedes, albeit with Verstappen now between their two cars.

    The Dutchman had done well to hold onto the coattails of a “super slow” (in Verstappen’s words) Hamilton for the first 10 laps of the race, staying within around two seconds of the Mercedes. But when Hamilton began to open the taps from Lap 10 onwards, Verstappen struggled to live with it, complaining about his soft rear tyres as he dropped to around six seconds back by Lap 20.

    His team mate Albon, having been trapped behind the Racing Points of Stroll and Perez in sixth, was pitted on Lap 18, Red Bull sticking him on the hard tyres (with only one set of new mediums available) and putting him out all the way down in 16th. It was mediums for Verstappen four laps later, however (with a 1.9s stop for good measure) the Dutchman having been getting increasingly frustrated on team radio about the state of his soft tyres.

    He managed to emerge just ahead of the Racing Point of Stroll in third. With Hamilton having eked out an 11 second gap over Bottas, Mercedes were then able to double stack Hamilton and Bottas on Lap 24, Hamilton retaining his lead despite a slow 4.3s stop, with Bottas slipping into third behind Verstappen.

    The hottest fight by the midway point of the race on Lap 33 was thanks to a huge train of jostling cars led by the fourth-placed Daniel Ricciardo – the Australian yet to stop – ahead of Stroll, Perez, Sainz, Albon, Ocon (also yet to stop), Gasly, Norris, Leclerc and Kvyat, with Vettel falling off the back of the group.

    Eyes were starting to be drawn, meanwhile, to an intimidating bank of clouds looming up to the north of the circuit, with Hamilton – around 8s clear of Verstappen, with Bottas in close quarters – inquiring about the risk of rain, although they would ultimately fail to arrive in time to spoil Hamilton’s party.

    There were clouds on Charles Leclerc’s horizon, too, with his Ferrari SF1000’s engine cutting on Lap 37, locking the rear axle and making him spin at Turn 15. He managed to get going again, but reported the car as feeling “strange”, Ferrari attempting a fix on both it before wheeling the Monegasque into the garage and out of the race, with an electrical problem later diagnosed.

    Albon signalled the beginning of the second round of stops on Lap 40, shedding his hard tyres and taking on mediums, while Verstappen came in two laps later for mediums, having appeared to have been struggling on his previous set, emerging in third, 30s off Hamilton.

    Sainz had his own second stop on Lap 43, the Spaniard coming out in 10th just in front of Albon, before cleverly resisting the Thai driver trying to immediately pass him – Albon calling Sainz’s stout defence “dangerous”, but the stewards not seeing any need to investigate.

    Bottas was pitted onto new softs on Lap 49, allowing Verstappen through for second. Hamilton would have come in a lap later but resisted. “Don’t put me on the soft, man,” he pleaded with his engineer. He stopped on Lap 51 of 66, picking up mediums instead and retaining his lead.

    Vettel was up in fifth by Lap 52, having not made his second step yet. “What do you think about going to the end?” came the hopeful call from his engineer, and evoking an angry response from Vettel. “I asked you about this before!” he yelled, before acquiescing. “We’ve got nothing to lose,” he said, calling Ferrari out on a strategy call for the second time in seven days…

    As he said, he didn’t have anything to lose, though. He was unable to resist Lance Stroll and Carlos Sainz nipping past him, but he then settled comfortably into seventh place on softs that, by the chequered flag were nearly 40 laps old.

    Up at the front, Bottas’ move to the softs had failed to pay dividends, as he was unable to get stuck into Verstappen, with the Finn calling off the fight a lap from the end and pitting for new mediums. He duly took the fastest lap, the only thing left in his arsenal to spoil the day of his team mate, as he prevented Hamilton taking a grand slam of pole, fastest lap, win and leading every lap.

    Otherwise, though, the Spanish Grand Prix had been all Hamilton, as he swept across the line 24s up the road from Verstappen for victory #88, having lapped everyone up to P4, with Verstappen maintaining his 100% podium record in the races he’s finished this year. Hamilton also took his 156th podium finish, establishing a new record in the sport, one ahead of Michael Schumacher.

    Sergio Perez had made a one-stop strategy work beautifully to take fourth on the road, but that became fifth after a five-second penalty was applied for ignoring blue flags – Daniil Kvyat suffering the same fate.

    That put Lance Stroll up into P4 – the Racing Points still yet to take a podium in 2020, although this was their best finish of the year – Perez taking fifth ahead of Sainz, who drove one of his strongest races of 2020, his chassis and power unit change appearing to have restored the Spaniard’s confidence, and making him once more a thorn in the side of the second Red Bull car, as he was for much of 2019.

    Behind Vettel – who would have been a mix of happy with seventh but frustrated with having to once again coach his team from the car – Albon saved his blushes by narrowly holding off the AlphaTauri of Gasly, while Norris hadn’t quite managed to match the pace of his team mate on Sunday, coming home 10th.

    Meanwhile, with Renault’s new CEO Luca de Meo in town to see how the team were getting on, it wasn’t a great day for the Regie, Ricciardo only able to take 11th, while even Kvyat’s penalty wasn’t enough to lift Esteban Ocon past the Russian, as he finished 13th, with Kvyat in between in 12th.

    Romain Grosjean was classified 19th and last, and might have some explaining to do in the next Grand Prix Drivers’ Association meeting, after he once again executed a late defensive move, this time on Raikkonen – while a scrap with the sister Alfa of Giovinazzi saw Grosjean run off at Turn 1, damaging his car slightly.

    Raikkonen ended up 14th, ahead of the Haas of Magnussen, team mate Giovinazzi in 16th, with the two Williams of George Russell and Nicholas Latifi in front of Grosjean in P17 and P18.

    Hamilton’s win, meanwhile, moved him 37 points clear of Verstappen in the drivers’ standings, with Verstappen himself now six ahead of Bottas. Can the Hamilton juggernaut be stopped at the next race, the Belgian Grand Prix in two weeks’ time? We can’t wait to find out.

  2. After winning the race, Lewis Hamilton felt “in a daze” on his way to dominant victory. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Lewis Hamilton felt he was “in a daze” during his crushing Spanish Grand Prix victory on Sunday that extended his lead at the top of the Formula 1 drivers’ championship.

    Hamilton led every lap of the race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, crossing the line more than 20 seconds clear of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in second place.

    The result saw Hamilton extend his championship lead to 37 points over Verstappen, and become the all-time record holder for the most podium finishes in F1 with 156.

    Coming just one week after Mercedes lost to Red Bull following tyre management struggles at Silverstone, Hamilton felt the win was a surprise, and revealed he was not aware he was on the final lap of the race.

    “I was just in a daze out there. I was in a different [zone], I felt really good,” Hamilton said. “Fantastic effort from the team, but God, it felt good out there today.

    “It was a real surprise, because we had this problem with the tyres. Management was very, very good.

    “That’s ultimately our understanding of what happened last week, that we brought into this weekend, has inevitably enabled us to do what we did today.

    “I didn’t even know it was the last lap at the end. That’s how zoned in I was. I was ready to keep going.”

    Mercedes had feared a repeat of its Silverstone tyre struggles due to the high track temperatures in Spain that reached 50ºC during the race.

    But Hamilton found he was able to extend the stints longer than he expected, even making him consider a risky one-stop strategy at the end.

    He ultimately overruled the team’s wish to fit him with the soft compound tyre for the final stint, taking another set of mediums that saw him to the chequered flag.

    “It’s something I studied very hard before the race, understanding what tyres we were going to be using and what strategy we were going to do,” Hamilton said.

    “As I came to understand, I could make the tyres last longer than we had planned. I was even looking potentially going for a one-stop, but I think the strategy we have was just right.

    “At the end, there was no need to take a risk of going on the soft tyre. I had a fresh, brand new medium tyre that I think was best.

    “I just want to say a big, big thank you to all of the guys back at the factory, through this really difficult time, for everyone in the world just to continue on, and keep pushing.

  3. Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel was able to score a points finish in the Spanish Grand Prix with seventh and the four-time world champion commented that his risky strategy: “We had nothing to lose”. Motorsport.com has the full details.

    Sebastian Vettel says there was “nothing to lose” with the risky one-stop strategy in the Spanish Grand Prix that lifted him to seventh place at the chequered flag.

    After qualifying 11th, Vettel spent the opening stint of the race sitting outside of the points before pitting on Lap 29 for a set of soft tyres, losing a position to Daniil Kvyat in the process.

    Vettel was Ferrari’s sole remaining driver in the race just after half distance after teammate Charles Leclerc was forced to retire due to an electrical issue.

    The four-time world champion was asked the Ferrari pit wall via team radio whether he should manage his tyres to attempt a one-stop strategy, having risen to fifth place after cars ahead had pitted for a second time.

    Despite being overtaken by Lance Stroll and Carlos Sainz in the closing stages, Vettel was able to hold on to seventh ahead of Red Bull’s Alexander Albon after making his soft tyres last 36 laps.

    “It’s quite simple, we didn’t have anything to lose,” Vettel said of the decision to switch to a one-stop strategy.

    “We were P11, and I think we were trying to offset until the end of the race, so obviously we were catching the cars in front.

    “They pitted for their second stop, but I was not in a rush to catch them and managing the tyres. Then I was told to push, which I did, and I was told to make it to the end, or asked if I could make it to the end.

    “I said: ‘Well, you could have asked that three laps before because I asked a couple of times, what’s the target, how long do we want to go, so I could look after my tyres’.

    “I said we’d try to make it. The last five laps were really, really difficult. Obviously it helped that we got lapped to be honest – not always the case, but today it was.

    “We obviously took that risk because we had nothing to lose, and it did pay off, but it wasn’t the plan before the race to do close to 40 laps on the softer tyre.”

    The result marked Vettel’s second-best finish of the 2020 season to date, following his run to sixth in Hungary last month, after a difficult start to the year.

    Vettel has spoken frequently about his struggles with the Ferrari SF1000 car, but refused to say there had been a dramatic change despite his points haul, explains that his confidence still varied between stints even through the race.

    “[It was] mixed, to be honest, still up and down,” Vettel said. “Some sessions feel better than others. The first stint was quite poor, the second stint, I felt much more in control of the car. Still I think [there is] some work to do on my side.”

  4. Sergio Perez has called his penalty for ignoring blue flags during the Spanish Grand Prix unfair as he felt he allowed Lewis Hamilton to lap him at an opportune moment.

    On his first Formula 1 race back since testing positive for COVID-19, the Racing Point driver was handed a five-second time penalty for ignoring blue flags shown to him, instructing him to allow race leader Hamilton to lap him, but the Mexican driver has argued his position which ultimately cost him fourth place to teammate Lance Stroll.

    Hamilton, who lapped every driver apart from Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas in the race, came up behind Perez around the twisty final sector of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with the Racing Point driver opting to allow Hamilton to lap him at the start of the next lap on the main straight.

    The FIA stewards handed Perez a five-second time penalty during the race which meant Stroll moved ahead of him in the final classification to claim fourth place, with Perez pushed back to fifth.

    “I don’t understand where I should have moved, Hamilton got to me very late in the lap and then in the final sector it is very tight, very narrow, so I don’t have anywhere [to go],” Perez told Sky Sports F1.

    “It would have been very unsafe for me to do something there but still I got the penalty. I feel it was very unfair but it is how it is.

    “I am happy that at least we didn’t lose out with the points because Lance got them but I think the penalty was harsh.

    “I got the call out of [Turn] nine, and into [Turn] 10 Lewis was very fast so the first opportunity I thought I had was Turn 1 because the track is very narrow and very tight so it can only go badly.

    “So I thought he was only going to lose more time if I give the position there rather than waiting and giving him the position into Turn 1.

    “I got the penalty so I don’t know if something changed while I was not here but I have seen a lot worse than that and people get away with it.”

    Despite his penalty, Perez was pleased to see Racing Point move up to third place in the F1 constructors’ standings even with its 15-point deduction following its FIA brake duct design case.

    The Silverstone-based squad is now one point in front of McLaren in fourth and two points ahead of Ferrari in fifth.

    “I think it was for the team and I am very happy with the result we got today as it was a lot of points for the team,” Perez said.

    “I think they have done a great job with the strategy as well making the one stop work wasn’t an issue so I am pleased with that.”

    Racing Point was once again given a reprimand after the race for its running its controversial brake ducts at the Spanish GP.

    AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat was also handed a five-second time penalty for ignoring blue flags during the Spanish GP.

    Source: Motorsport.com

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