Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 30 November 2020

Formula One: Lewis Hamilton dominates again to seal record-breaking Spanish Grand Prix win

Mercedes driver has now also secured more podium finishes than any other driver in F1 history after taking chequered flag ahead of Verstappen in second and teammate Bottas in Barcelona

Lewis Hamilton dominated the Spanish Grand Prix to extend his lead in the Formula One world championship.

The Mercedes driver led every lap at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya, taking the chequered flag a mammoth 24.1 seconds ahead of Max Verstappen, with Valtteri Bottas in third.

It marked Hamilton's 88th career win, moving him to within only three of Michael Schumacher's all-time record. Hamilton could match the German at Ferrari's 1,000th Grand Prix in Mugello next month.

The Briton has now also secured more podium finishes than any other driver in the sport's history, spraying champagne here for the 156th time, one more than Schumacher managed.

Bottas pitted for new tyres late on to claim the fastest lap, but Hamilton, who lapped the entire field up to the third, will head to the next round in Belgium with a commanding 37-point lead over Verstappen in the standings.

Sergio Perez finished fourth but was demoted to fifth after serving a five-second penalty for ignoring blue flags. Racing Point's Lance Stroll took the position with McLaren's Carlos Sainz in sixth.

But it was Hamilton who dominated once again and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said the Brit "at the moment ... drives in a league is his own".

"I was just in a daze out there, it felt really good. It was a fantastic effort from the team," Hamilton said.

"Oh God it felt good. I didn't know it was the last lap. That is how zoned-in I was. I was ready to keep going.

"It was hard work. The heat is crazy. I was focused on getting a perfect start and after that is was about managing the tyres.

"We didn't know how quick the Red Bulls were so I tried to get a measure of Max while the tyres evened out early on. I think tyre management was the difference in the end. The guys have done a fantastic job.

"It is a lot closer than people think in the driver standings. But I was just in such a different headspace in the car it was a beautiful feeling, better than I have had in a long time."

Verstappen was satisfied with his result. "It was good to split the two Mercedes," he said. "I didn’t have the pace like Lewis but I'm happy with second.

"The start was crucial to get ahead of Valtteri, then I was just trying to go at my own pace.

"I expect more. After the second stint, I was happy with my tyres and Valtteri wasn't catching, so I felt comfortable.

"We keep trying to improve but [Mercedes] keep pushing, so we’ll see."

Bottas admitted his bad start had cost him dearly. "The start was the key point, I lost a position and then had to push hard to make ground and suffered the tyre condition," he said.

"In stint two I was behind Max and everyone knows how hard that it. Off the start, Lewis got away and I did not have a tow like those behind."

Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, in his final season with Ferrari and linked with a move to Aston Martin next year, finished seventh ahead of Alex Albon in the second Red Bull, Pierr Gasly of Alpha Tauri and Lando Norris who was 10th in the second McLaren.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc was the sole retirement of the afternoon.

Vettel was awarded driver of the day after climbing from P11 to finish seventh.

The team took a risk by staying out on a one stop but it paid off and secured them some points.

"It is quite simple. We had nothing to lose," said Vettel. "We were 11th and when the cars in front pitted we pushed and the last five laps were really really difficult.

"We took that risk because we had nothing to lose. But it was not the plan before the race to do 40 laps on the soft tyres."

Updated: August 16, 2020 08:11 PM

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