By Robert Haile
Mercedes have won back to back Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton reeled in Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to take the checkered flag in the Spanish Grand Prix today, May 9.
Race winner Hamilton said: “What a day. It was a remarkable job by the whole team again this weekend and it’s so good to see
fans back here. I even saw a few British flags in the crowd and I’ve really missed that. I feel great, like I could do that all over again, all the training is clearly paying off.
“It was really close off the start, there was a lot of rubber down on the righthand side of the grid and Max got a really good start. I then went hunting and was so close to Max for so long during the opening stages of the race, and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to make the tyres last in the dirty air.
“It looked like a long way back after the second stop – it was something like 20 seconds off Max – but it was a really bold call by the team. I was really conflicted, it felt like I might have the shot to make the move before Max stopped, but we just have that trust between us in the team and it was a great call.”
Having taken pole position for the hundredth time in his career Hamilton is now only two short for a century of career wins.
Second placed Verstappen said: “I tried everything I could today and took the lead at Turn 1 but from there we were just lacking a bit of pace to Mercedes. Of course we wanted to win but I cannot feel too disappointed as I did everything I could out there and maximised the opportunities. Even if we had looked at another strategy and done a two stop and pitted before them, we wouldn’t have made the time up as they were just faster than us.
“I know how fast I can go and where the limit of the car is and when they can do a free stop behind it is easy for them to do a different strategy. I pretty much knew that when he pitted for the second time that he would come back at me on the new tyres a bit like Hungary 2019 and although I did everything I could I was a bit of a sitting duck.
“The pace difference on the tyres made it an easy pass for Lewis and then I was able to at least keep second place and take Fastest Lap. It was just a day where we lacked a bit of pace and second was the best result possible so now we need to look at why they seem to have jumped ahead a bit in terms of race pace.”
Third placed Valtteri Bottas said “Losing that position to Charles at Turn 3 on the first lap compromised the first stint of my race. I was hoping for more today but that made it difficult. My overall pace wasn’t too bad – bit of a shame that we couldn’t finish higher, but at least I managed to get on the podium.
“I’m never happy to settle for third, I’m here to win but it was a good day for the team, scoring more solid points. Monaco is going to be a unique challenge in two weeks’ time and I’m looking forward to it.”
It all didn’t go the race winners way as Verstappen took the lead going into the first corner as he and Hamilton almost collided, while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc jumped Valtteri Bottas into third.
As Verstappen was looking comfortable in the lead Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphsTauri brought out the safety car, with teammate Pierre Gasly receiving a 5 second penalty for being out of position at the restart.
After the pit stops Hamilton was back in third place over 20 seconds behind Verstappen with Bottas in between them.
As Hamilton closed in Bottas was asked not to slow him down however it looked like a genuine overtake on his Finnish teammate.
It was a matter of when and Verstappen lead until the beginning of the 60 lap when Hamilton swooped around the outside on turn one.
With a familiar feel to the top three Ferrari’s Leclerc finished fourth ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez in fifth with former Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo sixth for McLaren.
Spaniard Carlos Sainz came home in seventh with Lando Norris for McLaren, Esteban Ocon for Alpine and Gasly for AlphaTauri completed the top ten.
Aston Martin drivers Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel were separated by Kimi Räikkönen’s Alfa Romeo with Williams George Russell in fourteenth.
Antonio Giovinazzi for Alfa Romeo finished fifteenth ahead of Williams Nicholas Latifi, Fernando Alonso for Alpine and Mick Schumacher beat Haas teammate Nikita Mazepin in nineteenth.
In two weeks time Formula 1 will be in Monaco over 20 to 23 May.
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 94
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 80
- Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 47
- Lando Norris (McLaren) – 41
- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 40
- Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 32
- Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) – 24
- Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) – 20
- Esteban Ocon (Alpine) – 10
- Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) – 8
- Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) – 5
- Fernando Alonso (Alpine) – 5
- Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) – 2
- Kimi Räikkönen (Alfa Romeo) – 0
- Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) – 0
- Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) – 0
- George Russel (Williams) – 0
- Mick Schumacher (Haas) – 0
- Nicholas Latifi (Williams) – 0
- Nikita Mazepin (Haas) – 0
- Mercedes – 141
- Red Bull – 112
- McLaren – 65
- Ferrari – 60
- Alpine – 15
- AlphaTauri – 10
- Aston Martin – 5
- Alfa Romeo – 0
- Williams – 0
- Haas – 0