Without respite. This is the fight they have for the title of the F1 English Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and the Dutch Max Verstappen (Red Bull). What happened in the Spanish Grand Prix, fourth date of the season, is a clear example of this. The two met again in an intense battle for victory, which was ultimately left to Hamilton.
The champion, and leader of the tournament, did not take advantage of starting from the top of the grid after getting his hundredth pole in F.1. Verstappen made a better start and built a slim lead into the first corner. Thus he went on to command the actions against a Hamilton who in the laps that followed had no chance to use the DRS to overcome it. It was only when his rival entered the pits to change tires that the Sevenfold went to the front of the pack.
With no possibility of a melee, Mercedes opted for a two-stop strategy with Hamilton. He got him into lap 43 when he was running second, after that first pit stop of the 29th round. With fresh rubber and the leader running into the laggards, Hamilton smoothed out the 23 seconds ahead of his opponent.
On the 53rd lap, Hamilton just outdid Bottas and was again second 10 seconds behind the lead with 13 laps to complete. The multiple champion lowered the lap record several times and with seven rounds to go to the checkered flag he became a serious threat to the leader. With the help of the DRS, he overcame it in the same place where his opponent had done it at the beginning of the test.
With no chance to recover, Verstappen went back to the pits to go in search of fresh rubber that would allow him to win the extra point for the one who is the fastest in the race.
Far from fighting for the win, Bottas had to settle for third place, a position he agreed to after beating the Monegasque Charles Leclerc (Ferrari). To be sure, with each race that passes the Nordic becomes more of a bodyguard for Hamilton than a rival for the crown.
After achieving your 98th success in F.1, witnessed by the thousand spectators who could be on the track on Sunday, Hamilton remains in front of the championship with 94 points, 14 more than Verstappen. The next date will be Monaco Grand Prix May 23th.
THE WORD OF THE MEMBERS OF THE PODIUM
LEWIS HAMILTON: “I want to thank all the fans that are here. It's great to see them. I felt very well. The team's effort is paying off. We use a great strategy. What a day!".
MAX STEPS: “There wasn't much we could do… I tried everything I could. We are not where we want to be… but compared to last year it is a big leap for us ”.
VALTTERI BOTTAS: “I lost a place on the first lap to Charles (Leclerc) and that made the first part of the race difficult. The pace was not so bad. It's good to have been on the podium ”.
GRAND PRIZE RESULTS OF SPAIN 2021
|pos.||PILOT||CAR||VTAS.||TIME / DIF.||PTS.|
|2||33||RED BULL RACING HONDA||66||+15.841s||19|
|5||11||RED BULL RACING HONDA||66||+63.671s||10|
|8||4||MCLAREN MERCEDES||65||+1 round||4|
|9||31||ALPINE RENAULT||65||+1 round||2|
|10||10||ALPHATAURI HONDA||65||+1 round||1|
|11||18||ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES||65||+1 round||0|
|12||7||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||65||+1 round||0|
|13||5||ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES||65||+1 round||0|
|14||63||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||65||+1 round||0|
|15||99||ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI||65||+1 round||0|
|16||6||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||65||+1 round||0|
|17||14||ALPINE RENAULT||65||+1 round||0|
|18||47||HAAS FERRARI||64||+2 laps.||0|
|19||9||HAAS FERRARI||64||+2 laps.||0|
AVERAGE: 198,709 km / h LAP RECORD: Max Verstappen, in 62, in 1: 18.149 at 215,357 km / h.
PILOTS: 1) Hamilton, 94 points; 2) Verstappen, 80; 3) Bottas, 47; 4) Norris, 41; 5) Leclerc, 40; 6) Perez, 32; 7) Ricciardo, 24; 8) Sainz, 20; 9) Ocon, 10; 10) Gasly, 8; 11) Stroll and Alonso, 5; 13) Tsunoda, 2.
BUILDERS CUP: 1) Mercedes, 141 points; 2) Red Bull-Honda, 112; 3) McLaren-Mercedes, 65; 4) Ferrari, 60; 5) Alpine-Renault, 15; 6) AlphaTauri-Honda, 10; 7) Aston Martin-Mercedes, 5.