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Spanish GP 2021

MAY 9, 2021

Race Notes - Hamilton wins battle with Verstappen

Lewis Hamiltonlton, Spanish GP 2021
© Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

By Mark Karp

Lewis Hamilton won the Spanish GP in his Mercedes GP, 15.841 seconds ahead of Max Verstappen in his Red Bull-Honda, after Verstappen took the lead on the first lap and held the top position for 60 laps.

Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes finished third, 26.610 seconds behind the winner.

The win is Hamilton’s third out of four races of the season, his sixth career Spanish Grand Prix victory, and 98th career win. Hamilton now leads Verstappen by 14 points in the Drivers championship.

Charles Leclerc (54.616s) in the Ferrari finished fourth, followed by Sergio Perez (1m03.671s) in the second Red Bull was fifth, Daniel Ricciardo (1m13.768s) in the McLaren-Mercedes was sixth, Carlos Sainz (1m14.670s) in the second Ferrai was seventh, Lando Norris (1 lap) in the second McLaren was eighth, Esteban Ocon in the Alpine-Renault was ninth and Pierre Gasly in the AlphaTauri-Honda took the final point in tenth.

Before the start the weather was cloudy with spots of rain, but rain isn’t expected during the race, with only a 20% chance.

Hamilton starts from his 100th pole, with Verstappen alongside on the front row. Bottas and Leclerc on row two, Ocon and Sainz start on row three, Ricciardo and Perez start on row four and Norris and Alonso round out the top ten.

The quickest tyre strategy is projected to be to start on soft tyres, and switch to medium tyres in the middle of the race and finish again on soft tyres.

90% of the races at Barcelona have been won from the front row.

At the appointed time the drivers came around on the formation lap, the lights went out and the race began with Hamilton gets a slightly slow start and coming into turn one, Verstappen takes the lead over Hamilton, Leclerc, Bottas, Ricciardo, Perez Ocon, Sainz, Norris and Alonso in tenth.

At the end of lap one Verstappen has a 1.5 second lead.

On lap 4 Hamilton sets fast lap at 1m22.938s, and trails Verstappen by 1.4 seconds.

Gasly is under investigation for being out of place on the start.

Latifi tells the team, “I’m just sliding around everywhere.”

Bottas is trying to challenge Leclerc in third.

On lap 8 at the outside of turn 10 Tsunoda stops on-track, saying the engine just stopped.

Russell passes Schumacher for 15th.

The Safety car is deployed.

Giovinazzi pits for tyres.

Behind the safety car Verstappen leads Hamilton, Leclerc, Bottas, Ricciardo, Perez, Ocon, Sainz, Norris, Alonso, Stroll, Vettel, Gasly, Raikkonen, Schumacher, Mazepin, Russell, Latifi and Giovinazzi.

On lap 11 the race resumes and Verstappen still leading Hamilton and Leclerc.

Stroll passes Alonso for tenth.

Gasly is handed a five-second penalty from the start.

Latifi passes Schumacher for 16th.

Ferrari tells Leclerc, “plan B”.

Hamilton is trailing Verstappen by about 1 second, and his right rear tyre seems to be blistering slightly.

On lap 19 Gasly pits for medium tyres and takes his 5-second penalty and rejoins 19th.

At lap 20 Verstappen leads Hamilton by 1.3 seconds, followed by Leclerc (7.6s), Bottas (8.7s), Ricciardo (16.9s), Perez (18.3s), Ocon (22.2s), Sainz (23.5s), Norris (25.5s) and Stroll (28.6s) in tenth.

On lap 22 Alonso pits from 11th along with Vettel.

Alonso passes Mazepin for 16th.

The next lap Sainz and Stroll both pit.

On lap 24 Bottas pits from fourth for medium tyres. Ocon and Norris also pit.

On ap 25 Verstappen pits from the lead for medium tyres, and rejoins in fifth with a slightly slow stop.

On lap 26 Ricciardo pits.

Bottas sets fast lap at 1m21.993s.

On lap 26 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m21.411s.

On lap 28 Perez pits from fifth and rejoins in eighth.

On lap 29 Hamilton pits from the lead for medium tyres, and rejoins behind Verstappen.

Leclerc pits as well and rejoins fourth behind Bottas.

Alonso complains of maybe a spark plug issue.

Verstappen leads Hamilton by 4.8 seconds, Hamilton’s tyres are about 5 laps fresher.

On lap 30 1221276s.

At lap 30 Verstappen leads Hamilton by 3.5 seconds, followed by Bottas (7.2s), Leclerc (19.4s), Ricciardo (28.3s), Perez (28.9s), Sainz (32.5s), Raikkonen (35.4s), Ocon (38.4s) and Norris (42.2s) in tenth place.

On lap 32 Hamilton sets another fast lap, and closes the gap to 1.1 seconds.

On lap 34 Hamilton closes to within DRS range.

Russell complains that the wind is picking up.

The question for the leaders is whether they can

On lap 38 Norris passes Raikkonen for ninth.

Hamilton is at times within half a second of the race leader.

Raikkonen pits anmd rejoins in 17th.

Perez is closing on Ricciardo in fifth.

At lap 40 Verstappen leads Hamilton by 0.6 seconds, followed by Bottas (7.9s), Leclerc (26.5s), Ricciardo (39.6s), Perez (40.6s), Sainz (42.4s), Ocon (58.2s), Norris (1m00.9s) and Alonso (1m08.6s) in tenth place.

On lap 42 Hamilton pits from second place for another set of medium tyres and rejoins in third behind his team mate.

Hamilton trails Verstappen by 22.8 seconds.

On lap 44 Hamilton sets fast lap at 1m20.775s.

Hamilton, with 20 laps to go, is 19.6 seconds behind the leader.

On lap 45 Hamilton sets another fast lap at 1m20.728s.

On lap 46 Perez passes Ricciardo for fifth.

Ricciardo pits for soft tyres and rejoins eighth.

Sainz pirs as well for soft tyres and rejoins ninth.

Vertappen “I don’t see how we are going to make it.”

On lap 49 Gasly pits.

At lap 50 Verstappen leads Bottas by 0.6 seconds, followed by Hamilton (11.7s), Leclerc (31.4s), Perez (44.4s), Ocon (1m10.4s), Ricciardo (1m10.8s), Norris (1m14.7s), Sainz (1m14.9s) and Alonso (1 lap) in tenth.

Sainz passes Norris for eighth.

On lap 52 Hamilton passes Bottas for second place.

With 14 laps left, Hamilton trails Verstappen by 10.7 seconds.

On lap 54 Bottas pits for soft tyres, rejoining in fourth behind Leclerc.

Ricciardo passes Ocon for sixth. Sainz passes Ocon as well.

On lap 54 Hamilton sets fast lap at 1m20.665s, and closes to 6.6 seconds behind Verstappen. Bottas is 1.8 seconds behind Leclerc.

On lap 55 Bottas sets fast lap at 1m20.091s.

On lap 57 Bottas passess Leclerc for third place.

Hamilton is 3.0 seconds behind Verstappen.

On lap 58 Perez pits for a second time for soft tyres and rejoins in fifth.

On lap 59 Hamilton is only a second behind the leader.

Leclerc pits from fourth for soft tyres and rejoins stil in fourth.

On lap 60 Hamilton passes Verstappen for the lead into the first corner.

Verstappen pits the next lap for soft tyres and remains in second place.

On lap 61 Perez sets fast lap at 1m19.483s.

On lap 61 Alonso, Stroll, Gasly, Raikkonen and Vettel all fighting for tenth place.

On lap 62 Stroll and Gasly get past Alonso.

On lap 62 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m18.149s.

On lap 63 Gasly passes Stroll for tenth place.

At the finish Hamilton takes the chequered flag over Verstappen and Bottas.