Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes defeated Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to win the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona on Sunday. Verstappen has been a very close competitor for the Mercedes so far this season and it was the same in Barcelona. Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas finished third. This was Hamilton’s 98th race win and it was a tough one. Hamilton was also aided by a brilliant tactical two-stop strategy from Mercedes. Even as Hamilton won the race, Verstappen recorded the fastest lap. The Red Bull driver gave his all - was bold and aggressive - but Hamilton was just too good.
Verstappen made a brilliant move at the first corner to take the lead in the race despite Hamilton starting on pole position. However, the world champion showed his class as he overtook the Red Bull driver with six laps to go. With the win, Hamilton moved 14 points clear of his prime rival in the drivers’ standings.
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Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) finished fourth, Sergio Perez (Red Bull) fifth and sixth place for McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo. Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was seventh, Lando Norris (McLaren) eighth, Esteban Ocon (Alpine) ninth and Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly completed the top 10.
Mercedes’ race engineer Pete Bonnington congratulated Hamilton on the team radio after the race and said, “Get in there Lewis. What a drive. You made that strategy work beautifully.
Hamilton thanked the chief strategist James Vowels and said, “Thanks James. Great job with the strategy. Definitely had to work for it."
Team boss Toto Wolff said on the team radio, “Lewis perfect combination. Great strategy, bold and great driving."
Hamilton thanked the fans that came out to watch the race and applauded his team for the strategy that worked brilliantly.
“First, I want to acknowledge all the fans that are here. It’s great to see. I saw a British flag out there which I haven’t seen for a long, long time. I feel great after this. I feel like I could go again.
“I was so close (behind Verstappen) for so long but just managed to keep the tyres in somehow. 22 seconds was a long way to come back but it was a good gamble - a really great strategy from the team.
“I was about to get a shot past him as I pitted. I was really conflicted - ‘do I come in or ignore the call’. I did what the team asked because there is a great trust between us. Remarkable job by everyone in the team. What a day!"
Verstappen was disappointed to have lost the race despite being on top for the large part of that race and said, “There was not much we could do… I was a bit of a sitting duck. I tried everything I could. We are not where we want to be… but compared to last year it’s a big jump for us."
Bottas was happy to finish on the podium. “I lost a place on Lap 1 to Charles and that made it tricky for me in the early part of the race. Otherwise, the pace wasn’t too bad and it’s good that I made it to the podium."