Lewis Hamilton outstripped rival Max Verstappen and teammate Mercedes Valtteri Bottas for the fourth consecutive time in the Spanish Grand Prix.
Verstappen’s hopes of recurring toppling a week ago were soon gone, simply because the W11 was too powerful and didn’t have the same tire problems at two races in Silverstone. The distance between Hamilton and the following group was continuously widened during the match, then the British driver finished before Verstappen to 24,177 seconds. Except for Red Bull’s racer and Bottas teammate, the rest of the race was captured by Hamilton.
At first place at the Spanish Grand Prix on August 16, Hamilton got the 88th victory and was only behind the legendary Michael Schumacher record of exactly three victories. This is also the 156th time British riders have finished in the top 3, just enough to surpass Schumacher’s own record.
As expected, the air temperature in Catalunya is up to 30 degrees Celsius, causing the surface temperature of the track to be pushed up to 48 degrees Celsius. The race is, therefore, truly a physical torture of all. the racer. But there was no sign of such an objective condition that would make it difficult for Hamilton. Mercedes President Toto Wolff commented before the race that Verstappen was the heavyweight candidate for the first place thanks to its impressive speed at long distances. However, the reality is not happening as predicted above.
Starting from the beginning and successfully holding the position, Hamilton always held the leading position for the rest of the match, although in the second half of the race there was constant information about the possible thunderstorms on Catalunya. Hamilton still easily ensures a safe distance with the rear group at a range of nearly 2 seconds to be able to execute the expected pit entry time. But after 10 laps the British race started speeding up, and Verstappen couldn’t keep up.
Red Bull now only knows how to focus on holding second place under pressure from Bottas – the driver who started second but fell to fourth in the first round. The Finnish racer soon climbed to third place in round 5 after beating Lance Stroll (Racing Point). By the 21st round, when the distance to the first place was close to 10 seconds, Verstappen, after being repeatedly left by Hamilton, had to enter the pit first to change the tire. Four laps later, it was Hamilton’s turn to change the tire, and even though it took 4.3 seconds in the technical zone, when he returned to the track, the British driver was still 4 seconds ahead of Verstappen. Now both use medium tires.
In the back, Bottas fidgeted and could not press close, attacking Verstappen even though it was only about 2 seconds away from the opponent. He was still helpless after the first pit entry. Mercedes allowed the Finnish driver to replace the tire for the second time 7 rounds later than the opponent and switched to using soft tires to attack in the final stage. Now, despite the advantage of new tires and better grip, Bottas still could not close the gap, even at the end of the race he changed the tires one more time to secure the fastest-lap. The Finnish racer can only console 3rd place with the same point gained through fastest-lap. Through six stages, with 43 points behind Hamilton and a lackluster performance, Bottas’s chances of winning the championship were almost over.