Spanish GP turned to be an incredible race for F1 fans with various moments of overtaking especially the one when Lewis took Verstappen on the 60th Lap. Verstappen led the majority of the race after taking the lead on starting from Hamilton by outdriving him on turn 1 of the very 1st lap, the pure Verstappen style which he was showing in every race of this season.
It was Hamilton’s 100th pole start at Spanish GP with Verstappen 2nd on the grid followed by Bottas and Charles Leclerc on 4th. A special 5th on the grid was Esteban Ocon from Alpine followed by Carlo Sainz of Ferrari on 6th and Daniel Ricciardo of McLaren to start 7th. Sergio Perez starts on 8th ahead of Lando Norris 9th and Fernando Alonzo 10th followed by another half 10 drivers on the grid.
Before the race in an interview, Lewis mentioned it has been a pattern of RedBull’s to snatch the lead as soon as they got the chance and maintain the lead throughout ultimately winning the race. which turns out to be real for Hamilton as with the start of the race on turn one of the very 1st lap Verstappen made an awesome start overtaking Lewis to snatch his lead. Verstappen makes a very good launch – so good in fact that he didn’t even need a slipstream, hanging onto Hamilton’s flanks down to turn 1 before aggressively sticking the nose of his RB16B into the corner and forcing Hamilton to back out and concede the position.
Hamilton’s momentum was lost which in turn affects teammate Bottas who needs to slow down allowing Charles Leclerc to send a beautiful pass around the outside of the Finn at turn 3 to take 3rd place. By the end of 1st lap, Estaban Ocon’s fantastic P5 on the grid has become P7 after he slowed on turn one where Daniel Ricciardo jumping up from seventh to P5 and RedBull’s Sergio Perez to come p6 from P8.
It was a hell of a race between Verstappen and Hamilton, where Hamilton just couldn’t pass as he also has to hold Charles Leclerc behind, also the Finn was unable to find a pass ahead of Leclerc until Alpha Tauri’s Yuki Tsunoda ground to halt at turn 10 0n lap 8 – with the race quickly neutralized under a safety car as the AT02, whose engine had turned itself off, was craned away.
Also on another side of the track followed this incident Alfa Romeo took this opportunity to pit Antonio Giovinazzi for a set of medium tires but proven, a tire from a set that is punctured has him to wait at the pit for 35+ sec. an opportunity over Alfa Romeo’s Giovinazzi was well taken by Williams as they pitted Both their drivers for a change from soft to medium set of tires.
Racing resumed on Lap 11, Verstappen was still leading the race doing a brilliant job resisting being chased by 7 times champion Lewis Hamilton meanwhile Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll Pulled off a sweet move on Alpine’s Fernando Alonzo, holding on around the outside of the turn 4 to claim P10 – a pass of which Stroll could be rightly proud.
Hamilton then manages to make a sufficient time gap between him and Leclerc where there were worries heard on team radio for Hamilton having an issue on right rear tire especially showing signs of blistering. The indication was minor and pitting was not needed as the priority was to pass Verstappen. Despite that, it was Verstappen who pitted first on lap 24 followed by an uncharacteristically slow stop of 4.2 sec leaving him to p5 on the grid and Hamilton Leading the race.
Hamilton was bought into Pit on Lap 28, 4 Laps after Verstappen Pitted bit while Mercedes’s stop was quicker than RedBull’s Verstappen which then used this undercut to good effect. Hamilton was lapping incredibly rapidly around the Circuit of Barcelona Catalunya, cranking the pressure up on Verstappen as he quickly turns down the gap close around to 1 sec. but Briton was just not able to close the gap.
Meanwhile Hamilton then again Pitted on Lap 41 for a new set of medium tires and rejoin the race on third. Verstappen was leading the race and with around 20 laps old tires where it is heard on team radio Verstappen engineer GianPiero Lambiase warning Verstappen “it could be Hungary all over again” referring to the 2019 Hungaroring race. With 15 laps to go, Verstappen was 9sec clear to Bottas, and with Hamilton 2 sec back while Leclerc 4th and Perez manages to pass Ricciardo to take 5th position with a lovely move around the outside of turn 1.
Bottas on the other hand was instructed by Mercedes not to hold Hamilton up – but it was Bottas’ choice as he made the transition for Lewis difficult, eventually being forced to drive past the Finn into turn 10 of lap 52, Bottas then pitting for soft and drooping behind Leclerc to 4th, before passing Ferrari again on lap 57.
So it was now Verstappen vs Hamilton, one-stop plays two-stop – and with Verstappen understandably worried about the charging Hamilton, who was lapping at an average of 1.5s a lap quicker. On his fresher rubber, Hamilton was quickly on the Red Bull’s tail – Verstappen admitting after the race that he’d been a “sitting duck”, like Hamilton, having played the patience game throughout the Grand Prix, was finally able to unleash the pass on the Dutchman into Turn 1 on Lap 60. And just like that, it was game over, Hamilton able to pull away easily on his fresher rubber, crossing the line at the end of Lap 66 to extend his winning streak to five consecutive Spanish Grand Prix victories – and six at the venue in total – while Verstappen disconsolately ducked into the pits a few laps from the end, to take what was effectively a free pit stop, bolting on soft tires and claiming the fastest lap bonus point.
That will have been a scant consolation, however, on a day when Red Bull was outmaneuvered by Mercedes once again, Hamilton now with three wins to Verstappen’s one this season. Bottas had never really been in the fight at the front, coming home third – while there were likely to be strong words from Mercedes management about his less-than-helpful on-track interaction with his teammate…
Leclerc was finally able to match his race pace to his qualifying pace, finishing in the P4 he’d started in, and comfortably ahead of Sergio Perez, who may have recovered well from his eighth place in qualifying – but who was nonetheless over a minute behind Hamilton at the flag.
Ricciardo managed to be the quickest McLaren driver on a Sunday for the first time this season, taking sixth by just 0.9s from Sainz, Norris, and Ocon finishing P8 and P9 – while a fantastic scrap for the final point of the day went the way of Pierre Gasly, who won out after a brave late move on Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin.
Stroll thus took 11th from Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen – the only driver to start the race on the medium tires – with Vettel 13th, as both Aston Martins failed to score for the second race in succession, despite Stroll and Vettel being kitted out with the team’s latest upgrade. George Russell had been sharking around the near the points for much of the afternoon but endured a late tumble down the order to 14th.
Giovinazzi and Latifi were 15th and 16th, with Alonso also falling down the order in the latter stages to finish 17th – while the two Haas cars of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin finished two laps down in 18th and 19th, as Tsunoda registered as the race’s only retiree.
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