Hamilton leads from start to finish in Spain

on
F1 Grand Prix, GP Spain, Circuit de Catalunyaes

Lewis Hamilton made his strong start count, and controlled the Spanish Grand Prix from the moment he got in the lead in lap 1. Pole sitter Valtteri Bottas had to settle for second while Max Verstappen completed the podium for Red Bull Racing.

Bottas started from pole, but it was Hamilton who had the better start. The Brit immediately took the lead as Bottas managed to stay second ahead of the challenging Ferrari of Vettel. Leclerc similarly used the slip stream to gain some ground, but as they all went through Turn 1, it was Verstappen who sneaked into third place.

Even worse off were Norris, who dropped six places in the first lap, and Raikkonen who ran wide at Turn 4 and dropped all the way to the back of the pack.

After the first few stops, Ferrari decided to swap their drivers on lap 12, partly due to Vettel suffering a flat spot on his right front that he caused by locking up under braking on lap 1. Leclerc immediately proved his point and record the fastest lap. Vettel on the other hand struggled and asked for an appropriate time to pit, as 4 laps after the swap, he was 6 tenths slower than Leclerc, and nearly 2s a lap slower than Hamilton out in front.

Vettel eventually pitted on lap 20 but endured a slow stop. Rather than in front, the German Ferrari driver returned out on track behind the Toro Rosso duo. Fortunately for him, the pace on his new tyres proved solid, allowing his to quickly get by Albon. Kvyat's pitstop cleared another place.

Red Bull responded by pitting Verstappen to avoid the undercut.

Leclerc pitted for hard tyres on lap 26, and once again, it was a slow stop for the Ferrari pit crew. The same left rear failed to come off the car easily. What followed was a bit of a pickle for Ferrari, with another driver swap that took too long, enabling Verstappen to gain even more ground.

On lap 41, Vettel pitted again, changing to another set of fresh medium tyres. This time out, it was a smooth pitstop, but it wasn't enough to keep his ahead of Gasly.

Vertappen pitted after that, and when it became obvious that blistering would be too much of a problem, Bottas and Hamilton were pitted as well, covering the challenges from behind to keep both Mercedes firmly ahead.

Just when the race seemed to be set, Norris and Stroll crashed into one another. Both retired from the race, and the gravel left on the race track meant a safety car was needed to get the track race fit again.

The race restart on lap 53 provided some excitement, not at the very front, but certainly among Leclerc, Gasly and the Haas drivers. Gasly initially challenged Leclerc for 5th, but as Leclerc has the inside of Turn 1, he maintained his advantage. This nearly cost Gasly a position to Magnussen, but positions remained unchanged, even when Grosjean has to go wide out of Turn 2 after touching with his team mate.

Daniil Kvyat meanwhile ran wide and lost his position to Sainz.

The next laps saw Grosjean go wide twice again, again in a battle with Magnussen. The last time however proved costly with Grosjean starting to struggle with his Pirelli tyres. He lost ground to Magnussen, and eventually also couldn't hold on to his position, losing out to Sainz and Kvyat in the next laps.

For Mercedes on the other hand, this proved a perfect race, ending in the 5th consecutive 1-2 finish of the season. Max Verstappen completed the podium, once again pushing Ferrari out of the top 3.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarLapsTimePts
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG661:35:50.44326
277Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG66+4.074s18
333Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda66+7.679s15
45Sebastian VettelFerrari66+9.167s12
516Charles LeclercFerrari66+13.361s10
610Pierre GaslyRed Bull Racing Honda66+19.576s8
720Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari66+28.159s6
855Carlos SainzMcLaren Renault66+32.342s4
926Daniil KvyatScuderia Toro Rosso Honda66+33.056s2
108Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari66+34.641s1
1123Alexander AlbonScuderia Toro Rosso Honda66+35.445s0
123Daniel RicciardoRenault66+36.758s0
1327Nico HulkenbergRenault66+39.241s0
147Kimi RäikkönenAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari66+41.803s0
1511Sergio PerezRacing Point BWT Mercedes66+46.877s0
1699Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari66+47.691s0
1763George RussellWilliams Mercedes65+1 lap0
1888Robert KubicaWilliams Mercedes65+1 lap0
NC18Lance StrollRacing Point BWT Mercedes44DNF0
NC4Lando NorrisMcLaren Renault44DNF0

Note - Hamilton scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race. Hulkenberg started from the pit lane as penalty for a change of front wing specification following qualifying.