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Hamilton Pulls The Wool Over Verstappen For 98th F1 Win

Lewis Hamilton after the win


A perfectly calculated strategy from Mercedes helped the seven-time world champion pull off a late move on Red Bull’s Max Verstappen for a record 6th win at the Spanish Grand Prix

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Formula One is all about speed, but as Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes displayed on Sunday, it’s also about smarts to edge out a rival that’s ahead in a dog fight. Mercedes and Lewis gave everyone a fine understanding of why F1 is a team sport, as raw speed and relentless consistency lap after lap from the Briton was matched by the rapid thinking of the Mercedes F1 team pit wall, in a move that gave Red Bull and Max Verstappen nightmares of Hungary 2019 all over again.

After reaching a milestone 100th Pole Position on Saturday, Lewis Hamilton wanted nothing more than to make it a perfect weekend with his 98th Formula One race win, but it didn’t get off to a great start as the fast-starting Max Verstappen got ahead off the line and squeezed Lewis wide as they entered the first corner and then ran off into the distance to keep Lewis and Mercedes at bay early on. With overtaking so hard to come by in Spain, that could have been curtains on the win but an orchestrated two-stop gamble saw Hamilton chomp away at a 21 second deficit over 24 laps on newer tyres, to make a late move on his title rival on lap 59 and eventually finished over 15 seconds ahead at the chequered flag. Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top 3 with his 50th podium for Mercedes.

“Great, great teamwork, from all of us,” the 7 time Champion driver said, after his scorching drive.

“We were still here late most evenings discussing strategy and we had all the bases covered in that respect. Of course, it just meant I had to do the job on track and coming back from 21 seconds was not easy, but it was the right call in the end.”

In a season that’s proving to be a tight one between the Red Bull Racing star and Mercedes’ Champ, this was a decisive win for the management and team of the Silver Arrows heading into the Monaco Grand Prix and that was evident from the radio messages as Lewis crossed the finish line, “You made that strategy work beautifully”, said Lewis’ engineer Pete Bonnington. Team principal, Toto Wolff, also added, “Lewis perfect combination. Great strategy, bold and great driving.”

Ferrari continued their improved run in 2021 with Charles Leclerc taking fourth, Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez claimed fifth, Daniel Ricciardo sixth in his McLaren, the second Ferrari of Sainz in seventh, Lando Norris eighth, with Alpine’s Esteban Ocon ninth and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly rounding out the top 10.

Lewis goes 14 points clear of Max in the drivers’ championship with this win as the battle between the two now heads to Monaco, with F1 returning to the glamour and glitz of Monte Carlo for the first time in two years from May 20-23.


[Image Credit: Petronas Motorsports]