Hamilton Leads Home Fifth Consecutive One-Two Finish For Merecedes

by Aaron Gillard
Hamilton - Bottas - Mercedes - Spain Race

Lewis Hamilton claims Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport‘s fifth consecutive one-two finish with victory at the Spanish Grand Prix, leading ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

After starting from second place, the reigning champion managed to get the jump on his team-mate at the start of the race on the run towards Turn 1. He held on to the lead throughout the race to win his third race of the season. The result means that he also takes back the lead of the championship, along with and additional point for his first fastest lap of the season.

Hamilton was able to pull away from his team-mate after the safety car restart, caused by Lando Norris and Lance Stroll, when the two drivers made contact with each other at Turn 2, sending both of them out of the race.

Aston Martin Red Bull Racing‘s Max Verstappen was the best of the rest with third place, beating both Scuderia Ferrari cars who once again engaged in another episode of team orders between Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc.

Vettel finished in fourth ahead of Leclerc in what was another challenging race for Ferrari. The German provided an early shot at Mercedes in the race towards Turn 1, but couldn’t get ahead of both cars. Both Vettel and Leclerc found themselves in another round of team orders, twice deploying the switch on both drivers before the safety car came out.

Pierre Gasly ended the race in sixth place ahead of Rich Energy Haas F1 Team‘s Kevin Magnussen. Spanish driver Carlos Sainz Jr. brought home the only points for his McLaren F1 Team in front of his home crowd. Daniil Kvyat in the Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda claimed ninth place ahead of Romain Grosjean, who round off the top ten.

At the start of the race, Hamilton got the better start compared to his Mercedes team-mate in the run towards Turn 1, with Vettel attempting to pass the slow Finn around the outside of Turn 1. But the German flat-spotted his tyres, compromising him at the corner and allowing Bottas to reclaim second place. Vettel had held on to third place and prevented team-mate Leclerc from taking the position at the exit of Turn 2, but lost the position to Verstappen who had more speed and momentum than the Ferrari driver.

The Ferrari drivers found themselves in a position where Leclerc was producing stronger lap times to Vettel, but couldn’t execute the move pass the German – even with the help of DRS. Between Lap 7 and 11, Leclerc followed closely to the rear of Vettel who was struggling with his tyres after the opening lap lock-up. The team gave the call to swap positions, and Vettel obeyed and allowed his younger team-mate through for fourth place.

After the swap Leclerc produced the pace and started to eat away the gap to Verstappen in third place, with the gap to five seconds by the end of Lap 14. Vettel continually reported in over the radio about his flat-spotted tyres, begging to the team to get off these set of tyres.

Finally, at the end of Lap 19, Vettel dived into the pits for a new set of medium tyres. The Ferrari mechanics suffered a delay with the rear left tyre but managed to get ahead of Sainz in tenth place. A lap later, Verstappen followed with a new set of soft tyres, indicating that the Red Bull driver is on a two-stop strategy.

Leclerc made his stop for the hard tyres on Lap 25, but the Ferrari mechanics once again were slow on the left rear tyre. The Monegasque driver was able to get out ahead of his team-mate in fourth place. The two Mercedes drivers made their pit stops with Bottas stopping first on Lap 27, with Hamilton following a lap later. Both drivers remained in their positions with Hamilton leading ahead of his team-mate, with Verstappen in third ahead of the two Ferrari’s.

Vettel began to chase down Leclerc with the two cars on different strategies. Vettel on medium tyres produced stronger lap times, but couldn’t find his way past his team-mate on the more durable tyre. The drama continued when the Ferrari engineers told Vettel and Leclerc different strategies, causing confusion. Eventually, Ferrari gave the order to Leclerc to allow Vettel past.

The German did so around the outside of Turn 3, allowing Vettel to claim fourth and push on his two-stop strategy. On Lap 41, Vettel made his second stop for a new set of mediums and came out behind the Red Bull of Gasly. But the German managed to find his way past at Turn 10, taking back fifth place and started to put the hammer down on the 15-second gap to his team-mate.

Verstappen made his second pit stop for a new set of medium tyres. The Dutch driver came out behind Leclerc in fourth, but only five seconds short and on the quicker tyre. Bottas made a second pit stop but just as the Mercedes driver stopped, Norris and Stroll collided at Turn 2, sending the Racing Point car in the gravel trap and caused the safety car to come out.

Hamilton made his second stop for the soft tyres as the safety car came out. The Brit remained in the lead of the race ahead of Bottas, Verstappen and the two Ferrari’s of Vettel and Leclerc, who made his second stop for new medium tyres.

At the end of Lap 52, the safety car came in and Hamilton pulling away from Bottas, Verstappen and Vettel. Leclerc was caught napping in the restart, allowing Gasly to attack the restart. But the Ferrari driver managed to hold on, whilst the two Haas cars fought closely with one another, causing with Grosjean to go off at Turn 1. Magnussen had the momentum to challenge the Red Bull of Gasly, going side-by-side with the Frenchman for sixth, but the Red Bull held his ground.

The two Haas drivers once again duelled for seventh place, but Magnussen held his position and sent Grosjean to the escape road once again. The French driver lost time and allowed the McLaren of Sainz to close up, attempting a move on Grosjean at Turn 1, with the Haas once again taking the escape road for the third consecutive time. Eventually, the Spaniard past him for eighth place down the main straight before Turn 1 on Lap 59.

Hamilton was able to pull away from Bottas towards victory and to Mercedes’ fifth one-two result of the season. Verstappen was able to hold off both Ferrari cars to claim third place, jumping to third overall in the championship as the season heads to Monaco in two weeks time.

144Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport1:35:50.433
277Valtteri BottasFINMercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport+4.074
333Max VerstappenNEDAston Martin Red Bull Racing+7.679
45Sebastian VettelGERScuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow+9.167
516Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow+13.361
610Pierre GaslyFRAAston Martin Red Bull Racing+19.576
720Kevin MagnussenDENRich Energy Haas F1 Team+28.159
855Carlos Sainz Jr.ESPMcLaren F1 Team+32.342
926Daniil KvyatRUSRed Bull Toro Rosso Honda+33.056
108Romain GrosjeanFRARich Energy Haas F1 Team+34.641
1123Alexander AlbonTHARed Bull Toro Rosso Honda+35.455
123Daniel RicciardoAUSRenault F1 Team+36.758
1327Nico HülkenbergGERRenault F1 Team+39.241
147Kimi RäikkönenFINAlfa Romeo Racing+41.803
1511Sergio PérezMEXSportPesa Racing Point F1 Team+46.877
1699Antonio GiovinazziITAAlfa Romeo Racing+47.691
1763George RussellGBRROKiT Williams Racing+1 Lap
1888Robert KubicaPOLROKiT Williams Racing+1 Lap
1918Lance StrollCANSportPesa Racing Point F1 Team
204Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team

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