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Spanish GP: Hamilton wins over Verstappen after deploying a sound strategy

Mercedes had a solid strategy to counter the Dutchman's charge in Spain.

5w ago
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Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton wins F1 Spanish GP after retaking the lead from Red Bull's Max Verstappen, with Valtteri Bottas ending up third.

It was a solid start from Red Bull's Max Verstappen in F1 Spanish GP to out-race pole-sitter Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton to lead at Turn 1 in much cooler conditions at Barcelona. The duo were side-by-side, going into Turn 1 as the Dutchman emerged ahead in the right-hander.

Behind, Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas lost to Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in the Turn 2-3 sequence, where the Monegasque went around the outside of the Finn. McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo made up places to fifth along with Red Bull's Sergio Perez.

Alpine's Esteban Ocon dropped places after getting stuck behind Leclerc into Turn 1, with Ferrari's Carlos Sainz in eighth from McLaren's Lando Norris and Alpine's Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard had to defend hard from the Aston Martin duo behind him.

Lance Stroll stood ground in 11th from Sebastian Vettel, as AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly in 13th was put under investigation for being out of position on the starting grid. At the bac k of the grid, Haas' Mick Schumacher did well in 16th from Williams' George Russell.

The Brit eventually got him when the safety car was deployed for a stranded AlphaTauri of Yuki Tsunoda, whose engine stopped. Alfa Romeo stopped Antonio Giovinazzi, but the pit stop went wrong after they found a puncture on the brand new set of the tyres.

The re-start worked well for Verstappen as he led from Hamilton, Leclerc, Bottas and Ricciardo in the Top 5. At the back, it was a solid run from Stroll to get ahead of Alonso in the battle for 10th, as Gasly was handed a 5s time penalty.

The pit stop gamble started to play around as Verstappen pitted for fresh new medium but Hamilton stayed out to extend his first stint. It was a slightly slower stop for the Dutchman, who lost about 2s as the mechanic for the rear left didn't arrive on time.

Hamilton eventually stopped five laps later, with Verstappen retaking the F1 Spanish GP lead. A late stop from Leclerc dropped him behind Bottas in fourth, with Ricciardo keeping fifth from Perez in terms of track position after their pit stop.

Sainz cleared Ocon to have track position over the Frenchman in the pit stop, while Norris and Stroll kept their places. They had Alonso and Vettel on their tail, where the Spaniard complained of engine misfiring but was able to continue on.

It was steady in the front with Verstappen leading from Hamilton, where the Brit stayed with him mostly, while Bottas tried to gain ground on them. Leclerc held fourth from Ricciardo, who had Perez on him mostly until he went wide, which allowed Sainz in.

Mercedes played the gamble by pitting Hamilton again for a used medium tyres, as Verstappen stayed out. Both the Aston Martin drivers also stopped, which dropped Stroll outside the points, while their immediate rivals stayed out.

Riciardo and Sainz, though, pitted after the Australian lost fifth to Perez. The Mexican went around the outside of the McLaren driver at Turn 1 to take away the place. There were stops for Norris and Bottas too, with the latter losing track position to Leclerc.

Just before the stop, Bottas was asked not to hold up Hamilton, but he did held him up for couple more corners than Mercedes would have wanted. The Brit didn't waste time post that, as he pressed hard to catch Verstappen for the F1 Spanish GP win.

Behind, Bottas cleared Leclerc for third, as Perez was fifth from Ricciardo, who had Sainz close on his tail. Ocon held on to eighth, as Norris fought back into the Top 10 in ninth from Alonso, who had to fend of Russell and Stroll on one-stop strategy.

At the front, Hamilton caught up and passed Verstappen to lead the F1 Spanish GP. Red Bull called in the Dutchman to change tyres, as he had enough gap to Bottas. Even Leclerc pitted late in fourth, with Perez holding fifth from Ricciardo and Sainz.

Norris fought back to eighth after passing Ocon, as Alonso had Stroll, Gasly, Raikkonen and Vettel on his tail, fighting for 10th. The Canadian passed the Spaniard at Turn 1 but did not adhere to the Turn 2-3 re-joining rule, for which, he was put under investigation.

Stroll passed Alonso for 10th, but Gasly came back on them to take 10th, while Raikkonen held 12th from Vettel, with the Spaniard pitting late. At the front, Hamilton held on to the lead comfortably to win F1 Spanish GP by 15.841s over Verstappen.

The Dutchman took an extra point for the fastest lap, as Leclerc did well in fourth from Perez, while Ricciardo held off Sainz for sixth. Norris was eighth with Ocon keeping off Gasly for ninth, with Stroll in 11th from Raikkonen and Vettel.

Behind them, Russell was 14th from Giovinazzi, with Williams' Nicholas Latifi in 16th from Alonso and Haas duo of Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin. Everyone from Norris until Alonso finished a lap down, while the Haas duo were two laps down.

DNF: Tsunoda.

UPDATE: There was no further action on the incident involving Stroll, as the stewards reckoned, the Canadian did enough to re-join the track safely and even yield the position to Alonso, having overtaken him going off the track.

"The Stewards heard from the driver of Car 14 (Fernando Alonso), the driver of car 18 (Lance Stroll) and team representatives and reviewed multiple angles of video evidence," noted the stewards' statement. "Stroll was forced off the track between turn 1 and turn 2 in a racing incident with Alonso and as a result of the incident was forced behind the apex kerb at turn 2.

"Stroll explained to the Stewards that he then steered to the left towards the bollards at the exit of turn 2. This was apparent from the in-car video. He then drove over one of the lateral kerbs behind turn 2 and the momentum and speed over the kerb forced him to the right. Even after this, Stroll continued to try to steer left. The Stewards were satisfied that Stroll made every attempt to steer around the bollards until it was not possible to pass behind them.

"Alonso, who was in the hearing agreed that this was the case. Having not passed behind the bollards, Stroll then rejoined the track safely and deliberately slowed and let Alonso and Bottas, who was lapping, to pass him, eliminating any possible lasting advantage. The Stewards were therefore satisfied with Stroll’s actions and take No Further Action."

[Image courtesy: Red Bull Content Pool] [Note: This story was written on FormulaRapida.net]

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Comments (5)

  • Nice summary!

      1 month ago
  • Life is easy when you’re car is in a class of it’s own.

      1 month ago
    • While Mercedes still have the advantage, Red Bull is good at the hands of Max.

        1 month ago
    • Mercedes has so much speed, bottas does care or try because he always has to get out of Hamilton’s way.F1 died in 2008

        1 month ago
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