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Start French GP
Days
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Spanish Grand Prix 2021

Killer Mercedes strategy sees Hamilton take F1 Spanish GP

After taking his 100th pole position on Saturday, Lewis Hamilton got the better of Max Verstappen in Sunday's Spanish GP after Mercedes made a two-stop strategy work with a late pass. It means the Brit extends his lead atop the standings, with Valtteri Bottas rounding out the podium.

Article
To news overview © Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton got the better of Max Verstappen and Red Bull thanks to a two-stop strategy, helping the Brit claim his third victory of the season in fine fashion.

The Dutchman took the lead after a great start, and although he stayed out front for much of the race, it wasn't enough to keep the Brit at bay. Sensing their charge for first was stalling, Mercedes opted to bring Hamilton in for a second pit stop, which proved the difference as he cruised past Verstappen in the closing stages to take his 98th career victory.

Despite starting on the dirty side of the grid Verstappen made a great start off the line and forced himself past Hamilton heading into Turn 1 while Charles Leclerc squeezed past Valtteri Bottas for third around the outside of Turn 3. Max ended the first lap having pulled out a 1.5s advantage on his championship rival.

The leading duo began to pull away from the rest of the pack, pulling out a 10 second gap by the time Lap 8 came around. Elsewhere Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez climbed up to fifth and sixth respectively.

Yuki Tsunoda's AlphaTauri came to a stop outside Turn 10, forcing the Safety Car out. Antonio Giovinazzi pitted for a new set of tyres, however his pit stop took longer than expected as the new set of mediums he was trying to change to were actually punctured.

On track AlphaTauri's day went from bad to worse as Pierre Gasly was handed a five-second penalty for being out of position at the start. Meanwhile Verstappen and Hamilton continued their battle at the front, with Leclerc lapping half a second slower with Bottas unable to find a way past the Ferrari.

Things began to settle from there with all eyes focused on which of the front runners would pit first and try for the undercut as the likes of Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Sainz all came in for new medium tyres.

As Hamilton began to close in Red Bull blinked first, bringing Verstappen in at the end of Lap 24. However an issue with the left rear tyre kept the Dutchman stationary for 4.2s, though Mercedes decided against bringing Hamilton in right away.

The Brit came in on Lap 28, with Verstappen easily taking the lead as Mercedes hoped their fresher tyres would help them in the latter stages of the race. Behind them, Bottas cleared Leclerc for third after the pitstops while Ricciardo remained fifth ahead of Sergio Perez and Sainz.

Hamilton managed to close the gap to just 0.9s by Lap 34, putting the pressure all on Verstappen to stay ahead of his championship rival. Kimi Raikkonen, who was running ninth on medium tyres, finally pitted on Lap 39, though the small gaps meant he rejoined the race in 17th position.

With Hamilton's challenge stalling, Mercedes ensured an interesting finish by bringing the Brit in for another set of medium tyres at the end of Lap 42. By Lap 45 the gap stood at 21 seconds, with Bottas sitting in between the championship rivals.

Behind them Leclerc continued to maintain a firm grip on fourth, while Perez made a firm lunge past Ricciardo on the outside of Turn 1 to take fifth. The Australian pitted for used softs soon after and rejoined in eight, with Sainz doing the same and slotting into ninth.

Hamilton finally made his way past Bottas on Lap 53, but the Finn certainly made him work for it which seemingly didn't sit well with Toto Wolff watching on.

The deciding moment came on Lap 60 with Hamilton picking up a slipstream down the main straight and then making his way past Verstappen around the outside of Turn 1. By Turn 4 the Mercedes driver had already pulled out a half second lead, and Red Bull decided to bring the Dutchman in soon after to kill off the fight for first.

In the end Hamilton closed out the final laps with relative calm, claiming his 98th career victory, though Red Bull will take some solace in the fact Verstappen managed to take the fastest lap of the race and an extra point.

Behind them, Bottas rounded out the podium ahead of Leclerc and Perez.

RN365 News dossier F1 2021 Spanish Grand Prix

The latest news about the Spanish Grand Prix straight from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

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