Hamilton wins Spanish Grand Prix

Montmelo, Spain, Aug 16 (efe-epa).- Great Britain’s Lewis Hamilton, driving for Team Mercedes on Sunday in a completely dominant performance, won the Spanish Grand Prix, the season’s sixth Formula One event, handily beating Dutch driver Max Verstappen, with Red Bull, and Finland’s Valtteri Bottas, also with Mercedes.

After completing the 66 laps in 30 C heat (86 F) – although it was 50 C (122 F) on the asphalt – at the Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya, Hamilton crossed the finish line with a time of 1 hour 31 minutes 45.279 seconds, repeating his wins of 2014, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

With the triumph, the 88th of his racing career and his fourth victory this season, Hamilton became the driver with the most Formula One podium appearances in history: 156 in all.

The Briton – who had started the 307.104 km (about 190 mi.) race in the coveted pole position, which he had secured on Saturday in the qualifying round – led during every lap at the Barcelona-Catalonia raceway, crossing the finish line 24.1 seconds in front of Verstappen and almost 45 seconds ahead of Bottas.

“I was just in a daze out there. I felt really good. I didn’t even know it was the last lap I was so zoned in,” Hamilton said after the race, clearly ecstatic over the win. “It was a surprise because we had that problem with the tires last weekend, but we seem to have understood it.”

With the win, Hamilton is just three victories shy of Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of 91, and he could pull even with the German at Ferrari’s 1,000th Grand Prix in Mugello, Italy, in September.

The Briton, who appeared with his first-place trophy in his black racing outfit and wearing a black facemask, will now move to the world F1 circuit’s next round at the Belgian Grand Prix on Aug. 30 with a total of 132 ranking points.

Verstappen at present has 95 points in the standings and Bottas 89.

Mexico’s Sergio “Checo” Perez, with Racing Point and who had missed two races due to a positive Covid-19 test, came in fourth on Sunday but was dropped to fifth place after serving a five-second penalty for ignoring blue flags, thus allowing Lance Stroll of Canada, also with Racing Point, to move up into that spot and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz of Spain to take sixth.

Last week, Verstappen had notched his ninth career win at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone, England, thus ending Hamilton’s winning streak after he experienced assorted tire difficulties.

Hamilton led in splendid fashion throughout the contest, and with Verstappen keeping pace with the Briton despite tire trouble it was Bottas and Stroll who provided some drama during the afternoon as they exchanged positions and vied for third. In fact, the Dutchman had to make two pit stops during the first two laps to take on new tires.

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