Lewis Hamilton wins the Spanish Grand Prix after tough battle with Max Verstappen

09-05-2021 15:38
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Lewis Hamilton wins the Spanish Grand Prix after tough battle with Max Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton has won the Spanish Grand Prix, on the weekend in which he claimed his 100th pole position in Formula 1. He also joins Ayrton Senna in the history books, becoming the second driver ever to win five consecutive races at the same Grand Prix. The Brit secured his third win of the season ahead of Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas, who joined him on the podium. The Mercedes driver extends his and the team’s lead in the 2021 F1 World Championship titles over Red Bull.

The Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Bottas were, once again, a dominant force in Spain this whole weekend. Winners of FP1 and FP2, along with the pole position and third place in qualifying, shows the strength Mercedes still have at the front of the grid.

The win in Catalonia was Hamilton’s 98th career Grand Prix victory, as he continues to edge closer to a century of Formula 1 wins. The 36-year-old has repeated his success from last season when he claimed victory in August.

The battle between Verstappen and Hamilton was in full force throughout the whole race and after both drivers pitted, Hamilton was within a second of Verstappen for a large period of laps. Hamilton's two-stop strategy caught Red Bull out and the Mercedes driver caught and overtook the Dutchman on Lap 60.

A tight midfield battle between a number of drivers ended with Charles Leclerc besting the rest. Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo were duelling throughout the race until the Mexican got the better of the Australian on Lap 47 and moved into fifth, with both drivers finishing in fifth and sixth come the chequered flag. Carlos Sainz split the McLaren drivers with Lando Norris finishing eighth. Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly rounded off the points-places.

Drama at the start of the race

Verstappen took the lead from Hamilton on Turn 1, a superb start from lights out gave the Dutchman enough room to dart up the inside past the Mercedes driver. Leclerc was also able to utilise his start as he overtook Valtteri Bottas up into third place. Ricciardo and Perez were both able to move up two places, forcing Esteban Ocon and Carlos Sainz down the grid. Mick Schumacher was able to get ahead of both Yuki Tsunoda and George Russell up to 16th place.

Pierre Gasly was investigated by race control four laps into the race, as the Frenchman was found to start out of place at the start and was given a five-second penalty.

Yellow flags were shown on Lap 8 turn due to an engine stop for Yuki Tsunoda on Turn 10. The AlphaTauri car was sat on Turn 10, resulting in the Safety Car being deployed and it came in two laps later at the end of Lap 10.

In the pits

Antonio Giovinazzi chose to pit under the safety car on Lap 9. The Alfa Romeo driver was sat in the pits for over 30 seconds as the front left tyre had a puncture and the mechanics needed to find a new tyre for the Italian driver. Williams double-stacked as both Russell and Nicholas Latifi pitted for new sets under the Safety Car. Gasly switched to medium tyres on Lap 18 but had to have the five-second penalty enforced from the start incident. Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel both pitted for medium tyres on Lap 21, Alpine's stop was 1.5 seconds faster compared to Aston Martin's. Sainz and Lance Stroll pitted next lap, but Stroll's stop was 1.7 seconds faster than Vettel's the lap before.

Valtteri Bottas was the first driver at the front to pit, a 2.7 second stop for Mercedes meant that the Finnish driver came out only two positions behind. Verstappen pitted on Lap 24 and a slow 4.2-second pit-stop forced the then-race leader to come out in fifth. Hamilton pitted on Lap 29 and a 2.7 stop put Hamilton only 5.3 seconds behind Verstappen but the Mercedes driver was on fresher tyres. Leclerc pitted at the same time as Hamilton. Kimi Raikkonen was the only driver to start on medium tyres and pitted for the first time on Lap 38.

Hamilton and Mercedes' two-stop strategy caught Red Bull and Verstappen out on Lap 42 with a 2.3 second stop. The Brit dropped down to third. Perez pitted on Lap 57 for soft tyres and lost no positions to those behind him. Verstappen pitted on Lap 60 for soft tyres and came out ahead of Bottas.

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