Lewis Hamilton clinched a dominant win in the sixth race of the 2020 FIA Formula 1 world championship at the Spanish Grand Prix. The Briton scored his fourth win of the season and the 88th win of his career. Max Verstappen claimed second position to split the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team drivers. Valtteri Bottas completed the podium places in Barcelona.
Lance Stroll finished in fourth position even as his team-mate Sergio Pérez finished behind him after a five-second penalty was added for ignoring blue flags. Carlos Sainz, Sebastian Vettel, Alexander Albon, Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris rounded off the top 10 positions.
The race started under clear skies and extremely hot conditions at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The air temperature was 30 degrees C and track temperature was 48 degrees C. Hamilton was on pole and teammate Bottas joined him on the first row. Verstappen and Pérez lined up on the second row. Stroll and Albon started on the third row. Sainz, Norris, Charles Leclerc and Gasly lined up at the front of the grid.
The Pirelli tyre choice at this race was the white-striped hard compound tyres (C1), yellow-striped medium compound tyres (C2), and red-striped soft compound tyres (C3). The top ten drivers started on the red-striped soft compound tyres.
Hamilton made a good start to lead into Turn 1. Verstappen was right behind him with Stroll ahead of Pérez. Bottas was the loser at the start as he dropped to fourth position behind Verstappen and Stroll. Norris was the other driver who dropped two positions behind Gasly and Leclerc.
Race leader Hamilton was in control in front as he managed the pace and his tyres. When the DRS was enabled, Hamilton was more than a second ahead of Verstappen.
On lap 5, Bottas got past Stroll to take third position, over three seconds behind Verstappen. After lap 10, Hamilton stepped up the pace and unleashed a series of fastest laps to increase the gap to Verstappen to over four seconds.
By the end of lap 20, Hamilton’s gap was over seven seconds and Verstappen did not have the race pace on this day. The battle was going to be for second position between Verstappen and Bottas.
Albon triggered the first round of pit stops on lap 18 as he pitted for the hard compound tyres and rejoined in sixteenth position. Verstappen pitted on lap 22 for the medium compound tyres to rejoin in third position behind Bottas.
All the top 10 drivers started pitting one after the other. Hamilton and Bottas pitted on lap 24 for the medium compound tyres. Bottas was in third position now, over four seconds behind Verstappen.
Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon were running in the top 10 positions as the Renault DP World F1 Team drivers extended their first stint. After both drivers pitted the order was Hamilton, Verstappen, Bottas, Stroll, Pérez, Sainz, Albon, Gasly, Norris, and Leclerc.
As Norris and Leclerc battled for positions, Leclerc had a spin on lap 37 and rejoined in last position. Leclerc retired from the race after the mishap caused by an electrical problem. Hamilton was over eight seconds ahead of Verstappen even as Bottas was struggling to close the gap to the Dutchman.
There was a brief threat of rain as the clouds darkened overhead. On lap 42, Verstappen triggered a second set of pit stops as he pitted for the medium compound tyres. Bottas pitted seven laps later and took on the soft compound tyres in a bid to catch Verstappen.
The Finn was seven seconds behind on the faster tyre. Hamilton pitted for the medium tyres and rejoined in first position. As all the others drivers pitted a second time, Pérez and Vettel stayed out and were in fourth and fifth position.
By lap 60, Stroll and Sainz had passed Vettel. Pérez was driving a sterling race on his comeback after the two-race break. Unfortunately the Mexican was tagged with a 5-second penalty along with Kvyat for ignoring blue flags.
Hamilton meanwhile serenely led the race and finished 24.177 seconds ahead of Verstappen. On this day, Verstappen had to be content with a solid second position. Bottas did not have the pace to reel in Verstappen on the soft tyres and pitted on the penultimate lap for fresh tyres and clinched the point for the fastest lap.
At the end of the race, the 5-second penalty dropped Pérez behind Stroll. Stroll and Pérez finished in fourth and fifth positions for a rich haul of points for the BWT Racing Point Formula One Team.
Sainz finished in sixth position after a well-crafted race. Vettel executed a solid one-stop strategy to clinch seventh position. The German was voted as “Driver Of The Day” for his gritty drive.
Albon had to be content with eighth position. Gasly continued his rich vein of form to take ninth position for the Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda team. Norris completed the top 10 positions as he clinched the final point in the race.
Hamilton set a new record for the most podiums in Formula 1 with the 156th podium of his career as he moved past the great Michael Schumacher. The Briton now leads the drivers’ championship from Verstappen by 37 points.
The frenetic 2020 Formula 1 season resumes in two weeks time with the Belgian Grand Prix (28 t0 30 August 2020).
2020 SPANISH GRAND PRIX RESULTS:
|2||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||66||+24.177s||18|
|4||18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||65||+1 lap||12|
|5||11||Sergio Perez||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||65||+1 lap||10|
|6||55||Carlos Sainz||McLaren Renault||65||+1 lap||8|
|7||5||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||65||+1 lap||6|
|8||23||Alexander Albon||Red Bull Racing Honda||65||+1 lap||4|
|9||10||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri Honda||65||+1 lap||2|
|10||4||Lando Norris||McLaren Renault||65||+1 lap||1|
|11||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||65||+1 lap||0|
|12||26||Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri Honda||65||+1 lap||0|
|13||31||Esteban Ocon||Renault||65||+1 lap||0|
|14||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||65||+1 lap||0|
|15||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||65||+1 lap||0|
|16||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||65||+1 lap||0|
|17||63||George Russell||Williams Mercedes||65||+1 lap||0|
|18||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||64||+2 laps||0|
|19||8||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||64||+2 laps||0|