16 August 2020 16:36
Lewis Hamilton dominated the Spanish Grand Prix to win ahead of Max Verstappen and extend his Formula 1 world championship lead, as Valtteri Bottas's slow start cost him second. Despite hopes that Red Bull would be able to threaten Mercedes after showing strong pace on the medium tyre long runs in practice at Barcelona, Hamilton was able to run faster at critical phases of the race to stay well clear of Verstappen. At the start, Hamilton leapt off the line to easily hold the lead into Turn 1, while Bottas looked to have made an adequate getaway before he was quickly swamped by Verstappen and Lance Stroll on the long run to the first corner. Hamilton came in on lap 50, one tour later than Mercedes had initially planned as the Briton refused to move onto the softs, preferring to stay on the mediums, and he was able to simply run clear in the lead to finish. Verstappen finished 20.5s ahead of Bottas in second as Mercedes brought him in for a third stop with two to run, which meant he flew to the fastest lap - a 1m18.183s - on the final tour, as looming rain clouds that had appeared in the distance at the Barcelona track leaving it untouched.
Every other driver was lapped, with Sergio Perez finishing fourth on track but ending up fifth behind his team-mate Stroll - who completed a two-stopper to the Mexican's one-stop strategy - as Perez picked up a five-second penalty for ignoring blue flags as Hamilton lapped him. He had to pass Sebastian Vettel's one-stopping Ferrari late on, as did Stroll, with the German driver nevertheless finishing a solid seventh in front of a gaggle of cars after starting in P11 on the mediums and then keeping the softs alive in his second stint. Pos Driver Car Gap 1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1h31m45.279s 2 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 24.177s 3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 44.752s 4 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 1 Lap 5 Sergio Perez Racing Point/Mercedes 1 Lap 6 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren/Renault 1 Lap 7 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1 Lap 8 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda 1 Lap 9 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri/Honda 1 Lap 10 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 1 Lap 11 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1 Lap 12 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri/Honda 1 Lap 13 Esteban Ocon Renault 1 Lap 14 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1 Lap 15 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1 Lap 16 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 1 Lap 17 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 1 Lap 18 Nicholas Latifi Williams/Mercedes 2 Laps 19 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 2 Laps - Charles Leclerc Ferrari Electrical With Hamilton in control, Red Bull's focus now became ensuring Verstappen held on to second place from Bottas, who made a poor start and dropped to fourth on the first lap, behind Verstappen and Racing Point's Lance Stroll. But although stopping seven laps later than Verstappen and switching on to the soft tyre compared to the Red Bull's mediums, Bottas was unable to gain any ground. The Racing Points of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll crossed the line fourth and fifth, but the Mexican was handed a five-second penalty for ignoring blue flags when Hamilton was lapping him and dropped behind the Canadian in the results.
The hottest fight by the midway point of the race on Lap 33 was thanks to a huge train of jostling cars led by the fourth-placed Daniel Ricciardo – the Australian yet to stop – ahead of Stroll, Perez, Sainz, Albon, Ocon (also yet to stop), Gasly, Norris, Leclerc and Kvyat, with Vettel falling off the back of the group. Albon signalled the beginning of the second round of stops on Lap 40, shedding his hard tyres and taking on mediums, while Verstappen came in two laps later for mediums, having appeared to have been struggling on his previous set, emerging in third, 30s off Hamilton. Otherwise, though, the Spanish Grand Prix had been all Hamilton, as he swept across the line 24s up the road from Verstappen for victory #88, having lapped everyone up to P4, with Verstappen maintaining his 100% podium record in the races he's finished this year. In the opening exchanges, Hamilton made a perfect start but his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas struggled and dropped back to fourth off the line. Racing Point retained its fourth and fifth place starting positions, but a five second penalty for Sergio Perez for ignoring blue flags switched the order, with Stroll coming home fifth ahead of Perez.