Hamilton wins Spanish GP after late overtake on Verstappen - The Race
Formula 1

Hamilton wins Spanish GP after late overtake on Verstappen

May 9 2021
By Matt Beer

Lewis Hamilton overcame Max Verstappen to take his third win of the 2021 Formula 1 season in a race-long duel at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Mercedes’ world champion had to come from behind after losing the lead on the first lap, but an early move to a two-stop strategy allowed Hamilton to bear down on Verstappen at the end and snatch first place back.

Verstappen had made a slightly better start than Hamilton and then steamed down the inside into Turn 1 to take the lead from second on the grid.

Spanish GP start Hamilton Verstappen F1

Hamilton lurked within 1.5s of the Red Bull through the first stint, which included a safety car interruption after Yuki Tsunoda’s 16th-placed AlphaTauri parked at Turn 10, but lost ground by staying out four laps longer than Verstappen before making a first pitstop to change from softs to mediums. That appeared to be a let-off for Red Bull, given Verstappen’s stop had been a slow 4.2s.

Though the Mercedes was six seconds behind Verstappen when it rejoined following that stop, Hamilton rapidly demolished that gap.

When he got onto Verstappen’s tail, Hamilton couldn’t get close enough to try a pass despite the speed with which he’d caught the Red Bull.

With 23 laps to go, Hamilton dived in for a second pitstop, with Red Bull deciding to stay out in the lead rather than immediately responding and risking being jumped by a fast out-lap on new tyres from Hamilton.

That left Hamilton with a 23s gap to close down to take the lead, but Verstappen with the task of a 42-lap stint on the set of medium tyres with which he’d be defending the lead.

Hamilton was immediately over a second per lap quicker than Verstappen on his new tyres, and sometimes close to double that.

The only impediment in his charge to the front was his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who had lost touch with the lead battle on the first lap when Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari passed him around the outside of Turn 3 after Bottas lost momentum in the wake of Verstappen and Hamilton’s wheel to wheel battle.

Bottas, who eventually got ahead of Leclerc in the first pitstops and then gained second when Hamilton made his second stop, was in no hurry to let Hamilton past but was overtaken into Turn 10.

Hamilton lost a little ground to Verstappen on that lap, before regaining momentum and appearing on the Red Bull’s tail with seven laps left. Next time around, Hamilton got his first proper DRS run at Verstappen and smoothly passed him around the outside into Turn 1 to clinch victory.

Verstappen then pitted and grabbed the fastest lap bonus on his fresh tyres.

Bottas completed the podium ahead of Leclerc, with Sergio Perez recovering from his poor qualifying to take fifth – via a bold round-the-outside pass on Daniel Ricciardo at Turn 1.

Ricciardo had his best race for McLaren so far, keeping Perez’s faster Red Bull at bay for a long time and then resisting Carlos Sainz Jr’s Ferrari for sixth. The second McLaren of Lando Norris was two places further back.

Esteban Ocon was one of just two drivers who actually made a one-stop strategy work as he held off Pierre Gasly to take ninth for Alpine. Gasly had to recover from a five-second penalty for starting outside his grid slot.

Fernando Alonso had been in line for a point on the same tactic as Ocon, as he fended off a massive queue of cars until late on. Once he started being shoved down the order, Alonso gave in and made a pitstop, leaving him 17th.

Race Results

Pos Name Car Laps Laps Led Total Time Fastest Lap Pitstops Pts
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 66 12 1h33m07.68s 1m20.665s 2 25
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 66 54 +15.841s 1m18.149s 2 19
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 66 0 +26.61s 1m19.43s 2 15
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 66 0 +54.616s 1m20.459s 2 12
5 Sergio Pérez Red Bull-Honda 66 0 +1m03.671s 1m19.483s 2 10
6 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 66 0 +1m13.768s 1m21.853s 2 8
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 66 0 +1m14.67s 1m21.568s 2 6
8 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 65 0 +1 lap 1m21.279s 2 4
9 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 65 0 +1 lap 1m23.311s 1 2
10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 65 0 +1 lap 1m21.375s 2 1
11 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 65 0 +1 lap 1m22.607s 2 0
12 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 65 0 +1 lap 1m22.868s 1 0
13 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 65 0 +1 lap 1m22.82s 2 0
14 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 65 0 +1 lap 1m23.208s 2 0
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 65 0 +1 lap 1m22.802s 2 0
16 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 65 0 +1 lap 1m22.905s 3 0
17 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 65 0 +1 lap 1m21.182s 2 0
18 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 64 0 +2 laps 1m22.637s 2 0
19 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari 64 0 +2 laps 1m24.04s 2 0
Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda 0 0 DNF 0s 0 0

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