REIGNING World champion Lewis Hamilton stole an emphatic win over Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after a late overtake at the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya.
Verstappen controlled the pace after a fantastic start which saw the Dutch driver vault into the lead after starting in second on the grid.
Mercedes were on the backfoot until Hamilton’s race engineer made the call to pit for fresher tyres with 23 laps to go, in an attempt to catch the leading Red Bull, on the 44th lap.
The championship leader exited the pit lane 22 seconds behind Verstappen, yet soon had the upper hand with pace and hammered his way through the track.
Hamilton would eventually pass his reluctant teammate Valterri Bottas on lap 52 and be within Drag Reduction System (DRS) of Verstappen – who was a sitting duck.
Mercedes’ brave strategy would pay dividends on the 60th lap when Hamilton blazed into first without much resistance from Verstappen.
Hamilton thanked his team for the impressive decision after the race.
“Great, great teamwork we’re [Mercedes engineers] up till late discussing strategy. You still have to do work on track and coming back from 23 seconds was not easy but it was the right call in the end.”
Bottas completed the podium settling for third ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. He edged Bottas on the first lap yet had to settle for fourth, falling behind Mercedes’s pace throughout the race.
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez recovered from his sub-par qualifying performance to take fifth – courageously overtaking McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo into turn 1 on the 46th lap. Ricciardo recorded his best finish in Spain (7) since leaving Red Bull in 2017.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, in his first home Grand Prix driving for Ferrari, finished in 7th place, falling one place behind his grid start. Ricciardo’s teammate Norris finished in eighth ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.
Ocon had shown great pace throughout the weekend but couldn’t get his race pace up to that standard.
AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly recovered to finish tenth and salvage a point after an undesirable Spanish GP.
The Frenchmen was dealt a 5 second time-penalty after starting outside his grid box and subsequently left in last place in the early stages of the race.
Aston Martin pair Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel claimed the chequered flag in the same positions they began – finishing 11th and 13th respectively.
Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikonnen was of two drivers (Ocon) who made the one-stop pit strategy work, splitting the Aston Martin for a 12th place finish.
Alpine’s Fernando Alonso attempted a one-stop race yet found himself slipping behind a queue of cars – eventually pitting for fresher tyres.
William’s driver George Russell finished in 14th ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Giovinazzi. Giovinazzi was the victim of a 35-second pitstop,due to a tyre puncture, in the early stages of the race.
Russell’s teammate Nicholas Latifi finished in 16th. The Haas’ of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin completed the field a few laps behind.
Did Not Finish (DNF):