Lewis Hamilton came up with another stunning performance as he beat Max Verstappen in a thrilling race in Barcelona to win Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday.
Hamilton, who had sealed his 100th pole on Saturday, has won the race in Barcelona 5 times to equal Michael Schumacher’s record at Spanish GP.
He has now won 3 out of the last 4 races in the ongoing Formula One season.
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) May 9, 2021
Hamilton’s hopes of claiming his third win from four races appeared slim when he was left out on old tyres for four laps longer than his rival during the opening round of pit stops at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya.
However, the world champion’s Mercedes team rolled the strategy dice by calling in their star driver for a second time with 24 of the 66 laps remaining.
Hamilton was faced with a daunting 22-second deficit to overturn, but by the start of lap 60, Verstappen was within striking range.
The seven-time world champion followed the Dutchman at more than 200mph along the pit straight before darting to the left and placing his Mercedes around the outside of Verstappen to secure his 98th win and fifth in as many visits to Spain.
“That is what we are talking about, Lewis,” said Hamilton’s race engineer Pete Bonnington over the radio.
Also, Team principal Toto Wolff, who watched the action unfold with Sir Jim Ratcliffe, one-third owner of Mercedes and Britain’s richest man, threw his arms up in celebration as Hamilton executed the comeback.
Ratcliffe then joined Hamilton on the podium to toast a win which moves the 36-year-old 14 points clear of Verstappen in the title race.
Hamilton’s latest triumph arrived 24 hours after landing his 100th pole – a landmark which led Damon Hill to describe his compatriot as one of the most talented people to have walked the Earth.
Speaking of his win, Hamilton said;
Red Bull got a great start. I was hunting …. It was a long way to come back from, 20-odd seconds back. But it was a good gamble.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc finished fourth, followed by Sergio Pérez in the other Red Bull. Daniel Ricciardo was sixth for McLaren. Carlos Sainz in the other Ferrari was seventh, followed by McLaren’s Lando Norris, Esteban Ocon in an Alpine and Pierre Gasly for Alpha Tauri rounding out the top ten.
“There is still some life in this old dog,” said Hamilton, who is 13 years older than Verstappen.
I saw Damon’s tweet yesterday, and I feel so much gratitude towards him. I remember growing up watching Damon and having, as I do now, so much respect for him. I was rooting for him as a Brit to succeed even when he didn’t have a great car or good team.
It is definitely humbling when you see people you have admired and watched or taken inspiration from and hearing them say positive and respectful things.
This is a period of time where I have to be at my best because Max is driving exceptionally well. It is so close between all of us that it is going to take perfect delivery every weekend. I don’t think anyone can do that but it is about getting as close as possible.
This might be Hamilton’s 15th campaign, but he is showing few signs of slowing down. Indeed, with three victories and a second place under his belt, he is enjoying his finest start to a season.
He opened his bid for victory in Spain on the backfoot after losing the lead during the 600 metre stampede to Turn 1.
Hamilton was hardly sluggish, but the world champion afforded Verstappen an opening at the first corner and the ruthless Dutchman did not need a second invitation, but the British racer came out victorious.
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