Hamilton eases to Spanish Grand Prix victory

By on
F1 Grand Prix, GP Spain, Circuit de Catalunyaes

Lewis Hamilton controlled the Spanish Grand Prix and led from start to finish. Valtteri Bottas got third place behind Verstappen after he lost out in the start.

Lewis Hamilton once again enjoyed a strong start and maintained the lead from pole. Behind him, Bottas had a more difficult getaway and lost out to Verstappen and Stroll in Turn 1 while Perez slotted into 5th, followed by Albon, Sainz, Gasly, Leclerc and Norris.

Vettel and Ricciardo were the first drivers on the medium tyres and followed just out of the top 10.

While Verstappen remained fairly close to the leading Mercedes, Bottas fought hard to make his way past Stroll. The Finn made a move stick thanks to DRS on the main straight, making it back up into P3 on the start of lap 5. He followed it up with a fastest lap, taking a second out of Verstappen's three-second advantage.

The next laps showed the top three slowly pulling away from the rest of the field. With most drivers careful with their tyres, this early phase of the race provided little action.

As of lap 10, Hamilton started to increase the pace a little bit, setting a few fastest laps, increasing the advantage to Verstappen. It was stable at around 1.5s in the first 10 laps, but at the end of lap 12, it was up to three seconds. A bit later, Verstappen started complaining about his rear tyres.

On lap 20, Hamilton bettered his best lap, increasing his advantage to Verstappen to 8.5 seconds as Bottas was just 1.5s behind the Red Bull driver. Stroll and Perez were closely matched, but already 20s down.

Verstappen was pitted the next lap and switched to medium compound tyres, contrary to Albon who pitted 5 laps earlier to take on hard compound tyres. The advantage of the top 3 allowed Verstappen to come out ahead of Stroll.

Two laps later, Mercedes pitted both cars in the same lap. Verstappen thereby regained second, gaining about 3s on both Mercedes.

In the midfield, Kevin Magnussen was creating a serious train of cars behind him, as he kept on going on his softs from the start. Ocon, the first driver behind, seemed unable to make it past, backing out of passing moves repeatedly. When he finally did it, and took 9th on lap 28, Sainz, Albon and Gasly quickly surpassed the Haas driver as well, leaving him no choice but to pit at the end of that lap.

When the slow Racing Points also finally pitted and changed their old softs to mediums, Ricciardo turned up into 4th place, making good use of his mediums from the start. Everything was close behind the Australian though, with Kvyat in 13th just 10s down the road.

Getting Magnussen out of the way didn't help much for several cars, as it appeared that Ocon was also considerly slower than what some cars behind him could manage. Albon was the first to get past on lap 33, soon followed by Gasly.

When the Renault driver then pitted, it was Norris who had his hands full with Leclerc and Kvyat. The Ferrari driver, on fresh mediums, appeared threatening, and about to overtake at the first decent opportunity.

Just like Ocon, Ricciardo started to suffer with his tyres as well. After getting passed by Stroll, his team decided to pit him and take on softs, with 30 of 66 laps left.

Moments later, Charles Leclerc spun off at the chicane. He first reported the engine shut off, but got going again. After a slow first sector, he picked up the pace again before returning to the pits where mechanics started working on his car before pulling him into the garage to retire from the race.

20 laps from the end, both Red Bulls were pitted. Albon dropped down to 11th, Verstappen down into third. Both took on a new set of mediums.

Many pitstops followed in the subsequent laps, but Mercedes were one of the last. Bottas changed to used softs on lap 49, Hamilton to a new set of mediums one lap later.

After that point, everybody in the top ten had made two stops, except for Perez and Vettel. They were both juggling with the idea of going to the end with their current tyres.

The pitstop gamble worked out for both, but as Perez got penalized for a blue flag issue, he lost his 4th position to Stroll. Vettel got company by 6 cars in the final few laps, but he held onto it, and finished 7th.

At the front, nothing much changed anymore. Bottas set the fastest lap in the final lap thanks to a pitstop for new medium tyres close to the end, but Verstappen and Hamilton were too far ahead to be bothered by anything happing behind.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarLapsTimePts
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG661:31:45.27925
233Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda66+24.177s18
377Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG66+44.752s16
418Lance StrollRacing Point BWT Mercedes65+1 lap12
511Sergio PerezRacing Point BWT Mercedes65+1 lap10
655Carlos SainzMcLaren Renault65+1 lap8
75Sebastian VettelFerrari65+1 lap6
823Alexander AlbonRed Bull Racing Honda65+1 lap4
910Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri Honda65+1 lap2
104Lando NorrisMcLaren Renault65+1 lap1
113Daniel RicciardoRenault65+1 lap0
1226Daniil KvyatAlphaTauri Honda65+1 lap0
1331Esteban OconRenault65+1 lap0
147Kimi RäikkönenAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari65+1 lap0
1520Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari65+1 lap0
1699Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari65+1 lap0
1763George RussellWilliams Mercedes65+1 lap0
186Nicholas LatifiWilliams Mercedes64+2 laps0
198Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari64+2 laps0
NC16Charles LeclercFerrari38DNF0

Perez finished 4th, but a 5-second penalty dropped him to 5th
Bottas was awarded an additional championship point for fastest race lap