Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes led the Spanish Grand Prix from start to finish to stretch his lead in the Formula One drivers’ championship

So, another consummate and incredibly impressive performance by Britain’s Lewis Hamilton for Mercedes. He secured pole position, led the race from start to finish, took an 88th career Grand Prix win and extended his lead in the drivers’ standings. A very good day’s work to say the least.

Here is Giles Richards’ race report:

Constructors’ standings:

1 Mercedes 221
2 Red Bull/Honda 135
3 Racing Point/Mercedes 63
4 McLaren/Renault 62
5 Ferrari 61
6 Renault 36
7 AlphaTauri/Honda 16
8 Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 2
9 Haas/Ferrari 1
10 Williams/Mercedes 0

1 Lewis Hamilton 132
2 Max Verstappen 95
3 Valtteri Bottas 89
4 Charles Leclerc 45
5 Lance Stroll 40
6 Alexander Albon 40
7 Lando Norris 39
8 Sergio Perez 32
9 Carlos Sainz Jr. 23
10 Daniel Ricciardo 20
11 Sebastian Vettel 16
12 Esteban Ocon 16
13 Pierre Gasly 14
14 Nico Hulkenberg 6
15 Antonio Giovinazzi 2
16 Daniil Kvyat 2
17 Kevin Magnussen 1
18 Kimi Raikkonen 0
19 Nicholas Latifi 0
20 George Russell 0
21 Romain Grosjean 0

Red Bull’s Toto Wolff on Lewis Hamilton: “At the moment he drives in a league of his own, totally under control, switching back the engine to save it for races that are more difficult … [he has an] absolutely instinctive understanding.”

Alex Albon of Red Bull: “I don’t know what it is, I was just really struggling to keep the tyres alive. It hasn’t been an issue this year … it’s tricky to get a hold of. We need to have a look at the data and see what we can improve for the next race.”

Racing Point’s Sergio Perez comments on his five-second penalty for ignoring a blue flag: “I don’t understand where I should have moved … it would have been very unsafe for me to do something there. I feel it’s very unfair but there is nothing I can do.”

Charles Leclerc on his retirement from the race: “There were two issues, the first is that the engine switched off.”

Enough said.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel talks after sealing seventh with a one-stop strategy, and says the communication from the team wasn’t ideal from his point of view: “It’s quite simple, we didn’t have anything to lose. We were catching the cars in front – I was not in a rush to push but I was told to go flat out. Then I was asked to make it to the end, but I said you should have told me that three laps before. It helped that we got lapped, to be honest … we took that risk (with the one-stop) and it paid off.” As for the weekend overall and whether it was more positive, he says: “Mixed, to be honest, it’s still up and down. Some sessions feel better than others. Still there is some work to do on my side.”

Nico Rosberg on pundit duty with Sky: “That was a Hamilton masterclass today, from the start, to the tyre management, it was perfection.”

As for Bottas and that disappointing start: “He left the door open for Stroll on the inside, and Stroll went right through. That was not a great job.”

Here’s the final classification after Lewis Hamilton’s 88th Grand Prix win:

CLASSIFICATION: END OF RACE

Another win for the imperious @LewisHamilton

Stroll leapfrogs Perez to take P4 after a penalty for Perez#SpanishGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/sKiNuDdovV

Hamilton also had a few words for people dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic and urged people everywhere to ‘keep wearing those masks’:

HAMILTON: “I’m in a daze. That was amazing out there and we got our strategy spot on.

“I want to thank everyone back at the factory and say hello to everyone watching at home in these difficult times. Stay safe – and keep wearing those masks”#SpanishGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/9xj0Fh5sX3

A disappointed Bottas rounds off the top-three interviews: “The start was the key point, it was not good enough … everyone knows how difficult it is to overtake on this track … I’m not sure what happened with the start, I think the guys behind me got a tow and I had no tow. It didn’t really work for me, I was kind of sandwiched.”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen speaks to Martin Brundle: “To split them [the two Mercedes] today was very good for us, we clearly didn’t have the pace like Lewis. The start was crucial, once I got past Valtteri, I just concentrated on my own pace … we keep trying to improve.”

Hamilton speaks: “I was just in a daze out there … I felt really good, it was a fantastic effort from the team. And it was a real surprise, because we had this problem with the tyres. I didn’t even know it was the last lap at the end, I was ready to keep going. It’s something I study a lot before the race, what tyres we are going to use, and the strategy we are going to do. I even had it in my mind to do a one-stop [strategy], but the strategy we had was right.”

Today’s winner Hamilton speaks to his team over the radio: “Wow. I was in a different zone then … I didn’t even know it was the last lap. Thank you so much, guys, the set-up was great today.”

The team, in turn, congratulate Hamilton for another remarkably complete drive, singling out how well he protected his tyres.

A stunning win for the world champion, who extends his lead in the drivers’ championship. He got a good start – unlike his teammate Bottas – and never looked back. It was another wonderful drive from Hamilton, and there was some really competitive racing back down the field.

Lap 65/66: Bottas pits for some new medium tyres. He is going to go for the fastest lap …

Lap 64/66 – live standings:

1 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes 2
2 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing +19.714 2
3 Valtteri BOTTAS Mercedes +24.693 2
4 Sergio PEREZ Racing Point1 L 1
5 Lance STROLL Racing Point1 L 2
6 Carlos SAINZ McLaren1 L 2
7 Sebastian VETTEL Ferrari1 L 1
8 Alexander ALBON Red Bull Racing1 L 2
9 Pierre GASLY AlphaTauri1 L 2
10 Lando NORRIS McLaren1 L 2
11 Daniel RICCIARDO Renault1 L 1
12 Daniil KVYAT AlphaTauri1 L 2
13 Esteban OCON Renault1 L 1
14 Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN Alfa Romeo Racing1 L 2
15 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team1 L 1
16 Antonio GIOVINAZZI Alfa Romeo Racing1 L 2
17 George RUSSELL Williams1 L 2
18 Romain GROSJEAN Haas F1 Team1 L 1
19 Nicholas LATIFI Williams1 L 2
20 Charles LECLERC Ferrari— 2

Lap 62/66: It seems as if the rain will hold off, after all. Hamilton is going to win the race for Mercedes, unless something extraordinary happens. Racing Point will be satisfied if they hold fourth and fifth. Vettel has done well to make it up to seventh for Ferrari. “The problem for Ferrari isn’t the drivers, it’s the car,” observed Martin Brundle a few moments ago.

Lap 61/66: Hamilton leads by over 16 seconds. Bottas is still hovering around six seconds behind Verstappen in second.

Lap 59/66: Raikkonen swears in the general direction of Romain Grosjean over the radio for a dangerous move. It’s good to see Raikkonen mark his overall racing distance record in F1 with a flash of his famous temper.

Lap 57/66: It looks like Bottas isn’t going to be able to catch Verstappen and make it a one-two for Mercedes. Verstappen is going to be unhappy with his team’s strategy, Bottas is going to be unhappy with the poor start that has cost him. Hamilton will be fully satisfied at this rate, though. He just keeps getting better.

Lap 57/66 – live standings:

1 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes (2 pitstops)
2 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing +13.919 2
3 Valtteri BOTTAS Mercedes +20.825 2
4 Sergio PEREZ Racing Point +79.556 1
5 Sebastian VETTEL Ferrari1 L 2
6 Lance STROLL Racing Point1 L 1
7 Carlos SAINZ McLaren1 L 2
8 Alexander ALBON Red Bull Racing1 L 2
9 Pierre GASLY AlphaTauri1 L 2
10 Lando NORRIS McLaren1 L 2
11 Daniel RICCIARDO Renault1 L 1
12 Daniil KVYAT AlphaTauri1 L 2
13 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team1 L 1
14 Esteban OCON Renault1 L 1
15 George RUSSELL Williams1 L 2
16 Romain GROSJEAN Haas F1 Team1 L 2
17 Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN Alfa Romeo Racing1 L 1
18 Antonio GIOVINAZZI Alfa Romeo Racing1 L 2
19 Nicholas LATIFI Williams1 L 2
20 Charles LECLERC Ferrari— 2

The Racing Point driver is docked five seconds for ignoring blue flags. He is five seconds ahead of Vettel, who is fifth. Kyvat (AlphaTauri) is now under investigation for the same thing … a blue flag is used to indicate that a slower car should allow a faster car to lap/overtake them, and it was a moment when Hamilton passed him that Perez was penalised for. Kyvat now gets the same punishment.

Lap 53/66: “It’s not a happy camp. It’s very tetchy,” Brundle says after listening to Vettel’s exchanges with the Ferrari team over the radio.

After his pitstop, Hamilton’s lead over Verstappen is down to 12.3secs. Only 13 laps to go and it’s all looking great for the British world champion.

Before coming in to the pits, Hamilton tells his team he wants to stay on medium tyres and not switch to the soft compound version. He is more than 30secs ahead so it is probably academic as we enter the final stages of this race. Can Bottas overhaul Verstappen and make it a one-two for Mercedes?

Verstappen back in second. Bottas is nearly 7sec behind having come out of the pits on medium-compound tyres.

Lap 49/66: Vettel, in fifth place for Ferrari, has a question for his team over the radio. “You need to let me know what to do, in terms of pace?” “That was kind of a – ‘remember me?’ call, wasn’t it?” observes Brundle on commentary. It’s another terrible weekend for Ferrari, anyway.

Lap 46/66: NowHamilton sets the fastest lap. Meanwhile, Bottas is going to need to pit, and will come back out behind Verstappen who is in third place. Rain is flirting with the idea of arriving at the circuit in Barcelona, while all that is going on on track.

Standings on Lap 45/66:

1 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes 1
2 Valtteri BOTTAS Mercedes +13.428 1
3 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing +31.120 2
4 Sergio PEREZ Racing Point +73.998 1
5 Lando NORRIS McLaren +76.594 1
6 Daniil KVYAT AlphaTauri1 L 1
7 Sebastian VETTEL Ferrari1 L 1
8 Lance STROLL Racing Point1 L 2
9 Carlos SAINZ McLaren1 L 2
10 Alexander ALBON Red Bull Racing1 L 2
11 Pierre GASLY AlphaTauri1 L 2
12 Daniel RICCIARDO Renault1 L 1
13 Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN Alfa Romeo Racing1 L 1
14 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team1 L 1
15 Antonio GIOVINAZZI Alfa Romeo Racing1 L 1
16 Esteban OCON Renault1 L 1
17 George RUSSELL Williams1 L 2
18 Romain GROSJEAN Haas F1 Team1 L 1
19 Nicholas LATIFI Williams1 L 1
20 Charles LECLERC Ferrari— 2

Lap 43/66: Now, what’s going on up at the front? The answer is, Hamilton leads by over 12 seconds, and his lead is growing. Albon tries to take Sainz in 10th, but Sainz slams the door. Meanwhile, Bottas sets the fastest lap of the race.

Yes, they have called it a day for the Frenchman. “Heartbreaking for Leclerc,” says Nico Rosberg on the telly. “Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, his engine cuts out mid-corner.” Leclerc looks gutted. And rather hot.

Lap 40/66: Has Leclerc retired after that spin? Some people seem to think so. But I don’t think he has officially … he is in the pits now.

Leclerc has stopped! “The engine stopped, broken, I don’t know what happened?” the Frenchman says over the radio. It looks like he is going to retire, but then he gets the car going again, and comes back in last place. “Not his fault … that was the engine dying on him,” says Brundle on comms.

The 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo Racing) has now, officially, raced further than any other driver in the history of Formula 1.

Lap 35/66: Rain is officially expected after Lap 50! Ricciardo finally pits and goes on to medium tyres.

Lap 35/66: Norris (McLaren) and Leclerc (Ferrari) are having a fine old battle for 11th place. Leclerc looks left and right and Norris does well to hold him off. It’s great racing, but again, not the kind of thing the people at Ferrari like to see, battling as they are for the minor placings.

Lap 33/66: Albon gets past Ocon, and is now in eighth. There is plenty of excitement a bit further down the field, while leader Lewis Hamilton continues to produce a world-class drive up front.

Meanwhile, there is a suggestion that we might see some rain before the end of the race, which would certainly spice things up a bit. A 20 per cent chance of rain at the track today, so they say.

Lap 31/66: Perez in the Racing Point takes Sainz of McLaren for sixth place soon after pitting. Lando Norris, in the other McLaren, is down in 11th. Gasly is 10th, and Albon up to ninth for Red Bull.

Daniel Ricciardo is up to fourth place for Renault.

Lap 28/66: Stroll pits for Racing Point. Speculation in commentary now on what Red Bull’s approach for Albon is. He is on the hard compound tyres, and stuck in traffic down in 10th, so is he going to try and make them last until the end of the race?

Meanwhile up front, the medium compound tyres seem to be agreeing with Verstappen of Red Bull. The gap to Hamilton is holding steady at about 3.5secs.

Lap 27/66 – live standings:

1 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes (1 pitstop)
2 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing +4.020 1
3 Valtteri BOTTAS Mercedes +5.796 1
4 Lance STROLL Racing Point +17.688
5 Sergio PEREZ Racing Point +18.828
6 Charles LECLERC Ferrari +23.570
7 Sebastian VETTEL Ferrari +30.702
8 Daniel RICCIARDO Renault +32.355
9 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team +40.790
10 Esteban OCON Renault +41.590
11 Alexander ALBON Red Bull Racing +42.131 1
12 Carlos SAINZ McLaren +42.759 1
13 Pierre GASLY AlphaTauri +43.458 1
14 Lando NORRIS McLaren +44.826 1
15 Romain GROSJEAN Haas F1 Team +50.714 1
16 Daniil KVYAT AlphaTauri +52.372
17 George RUSSELL Williams +59.423 1
18 Nicholas LATIFI Williams +61.592 1
19 Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN Alfa Romeo Racing +63.034
20 Antonio GIOVINAZZI Alfa Romeo Racing +67.040 1

Lap 24/66: Albon is trying to fight his way through some traffic on his hard tyres. Further ahead, Verstappen has a go at his team over the radio over this tyre strategy. I thought he’d be a bit happier after the pitstop but I was wrong. “How about we just focus on our job and do our race instead of focusing on Lewis?” asks Verstappen. “Get your head down Max, please,” comes the reply.

A 4.3sec pitstop for our race leader Hamilton puts him back on track 5secs ahead of Verstappen! Bottas also pits and the team send him back out in under three seconds …

A 1.9sec pitstop for Red Bull. Impressive stuff. And Verstappen will be happier now that he’s been able to change his tyres. Verstappen comes back out in third place, behind Bottas and of course Hamilton.

Lap 21/66: Soon after his pitstop, Albon of Red Bull gets past Raikkonen to go 15th. Verstappen is complaining about his tyres. “There is nothing left,” Verstappen says. “I’m losing so much time.” But the team won’t let him pit, not just yet … Hamilton’s lead is over 10 seconds.

Lap 20/66: On Lap 37 today, Kimi Raikkonen will have raced further than any driver in the history of Formula 1: 53,099 miles. A very good fact from commentary on Sky Sports.

Lap 18/66: Albon pits for Red Bull and comes back out on hard compound tyres. It seems both Albon and Verstappen are struggling with their tyres. And up front, Hamilton’s lead continues to grow, it’s nearly six seconds now …

Lap 17/66 – live standings

1 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes
2 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing +4.666
3 Valtteri BOTTAS Mercedes +7.171
4 Lance STROLL Racing Point +20.737
5 Sergio PEREZ Racing Point +22.541
6 Alexander ALBON Red Bull Racing +25.793
7 Carlos SAINZ McLaren +27.321 – –
8 Pierre GASLY AlphaTauri +29.036
9 Charles LECLERC Ferrari +30.247
10 Lando NORRIS McLaren +32.907
11 Sebastian VETTEL Ferrari +35.168
12 Daniil KVYAT AlphaTauri +36.562
13 Daniel RICCIARDO Renault +39.357
14 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team +42.953
15 Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN Alfa Romeo Racing +44.088
16 Esteban OCON Renault +44.992
17 George RUSSELL Williams +47.613
18 Romain GROSJEAN Haas F1 Team +49.410
19 Antonio GIOVINAZZI Alfa Romeo Racing +51.437
20 Nicholas LATIFI Williams +56.636

Lap 15/66: Down in 11th place, Ferrari’s Vettel is trying to hold off Daniil Kvyat in the AlphaTauri. Which it’s safe to say is not what Ferrari had in mind for this weekend. Hamilton’s lead is out to 4.5secs now and he is taking complete control.

Lap 14/66: Hamilton’s lead is growing all the time. It’s up to 3.3sec now. Will Red Bull and Verstappen be forced to change their pitstop strategy?

Lap 13/66: Sky’s commentators have a quick chat with Otmar Szafnauer of Racing Point, and everyone is full of praise for Stroll’s move to take Bottas at the start. Even if he’s given the place back now. Hamilton seems to have put the hammer down at the front and his lead has stretched to three seconds.

Lap 12/66: In view of the extreme heat, the teams are particularly conscious of tyre temperature:

LAP 8/66

Racing Point to Perez:

“Tyres are looking ok at the moment but they are at their hottest – slick management now is critical, Checo”#SpanishGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/EI1eQ7VRBi

Lap 10/66: It’s all looking very good for Hamilton after an accomplished start. What Brundle refers to on commentary as a ‘chess match’ has begun, with Hamilton driving a bit slower than flat-out, and letting Bottas in third catch up so – in theory – they can gang up on Verstappen. Verstappen is 1.5sec behind Hamilton right now.

Live standings on Lap 8/66:

1 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes
2 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing +1.521
3 Valtteri BOTTAS Mercedes +3.437
4 Lance STROLL Racing Point +6.602
5 Sergio PEREZ Racing Point +8.147
6 Alexander ALBON Red Bull Racing +8.946
7 Carlos SAINZ McLaren +11.306
8 Pierre GASLY AlphaTauri +12.726
9 Charles LECLERC Ferrari +13.417
10 Lando NORRIS McLaren +15.911
11 Sebastian VETTEL Ferrari +17.297
12 Daniil KVYAT AlphaTauri +18.149
13 Daniel RICCIARDO Renault +19.341
14 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team +20.703
15 Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN Alfa Romeo Racing +21.624
16 Esteban OCON Renault +22.722
17 George RUSSELL Williams +23.998
18 Romain GROSJEAN Haas F1 Team +25.490
19 Antonio GIOVINAZZI Alfa Romeo Racing +26.756
20 Nicholas LATIFI Williams +30.336

Lap 6/66: We are shown an interesting overhead angle of the start, in which Verstappen overtook Bottas on his left and Stroll stormed down the left.

Meanwhile, Verstappen and Red Bull are showing all the signs of pushing Hamilton all the way. Hamilton is 1.6secs ahead.

Lap 5/66: Up front, Hamilton is 1.3sec in front of Verstappen. At the start of Lap 5, Bottas gets past Stroll, and makes up one of the places he lost at the start.

Lap 3/66: Bottas is trying to get past Stroll but isn’t finding it easy.

“It’s difficult for Bottas to get past what is essentially a 2019 Merc in its design,” observes Brundle. Interesting!

Lap 1/66: Bottas loses two places at the startbut Hamilton, by contrast, gets it spot on for Mercedes. At the end of Lap 1, Verstappen is second and Stroll of Racing Point is third. Hamilton’s lead is 1.4sec.

They are off! Hamilton gets a great start and leads into the first corner. Lance Stroll fights down the inside and overtakes Bottas who had a poor start – he was also overtaken by Verstappen.

Here we go then. The warm-up lap has begun, those enormously powerful engines – and the drivers – are as ready as they are ever going to be for this. Who will be leading at the end of Lap 1? My money is on Hamilton.

By the way Ferrari – as I haven’t mentioned them yet – endured their worst-ever qualifying for a Spanish Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc starts ninth and Sebastian Vettel is 11th.

The air temperature is nudging over 30C, but on track it is very nearly 50C:

It’s HOT in Barcelona with less than half an hour to go until lights out #SpanishGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/biyoVTEBcj

Here is the full starting grid for today, courtesy of F1’s official Twitter feed:

Here’s how they line up for today’s race in Barcelona

At 612 metres, it’s one of the longest runs to Turn 1 on the calendar

And it promises to be a thrilling start at lights out! #SpanishGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/Sh30lPRkgm

We are 10 minutes from lights out now. “We’re going to see an exciting first 600 metres,” Rosberg says of the long drag down to Turn 1. Let’s hope for a bit more overall excitement than that, metres-wise, shall we?

There is quite a long discussion about drivers’ strategy for drinking in his heat.

On pundit duty by the track, Rosberg reckons Hamilton signalled to his pit team that they need to adjust the position of the front wing, due to a bit of oversteer. “That’s not the most confident thing to see,” Rosberg says.

Now it is time for the anthems and some camera shots of Barcelona from the TV helicopter, after Lewis Hamilton and roughly half the rest of the drivers on the grid took a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Pre-race reading here from Giles Richards, on Hamilton’s future:

Lance Stroll of Racing Point chips in speaking to Herbert: “It’s a long run down to Turn 1, and anything I can happen. I don’t think we can grab a podium on outright pace but you never know what could happen.”

Standing down on the grid, drivers’ championship leader and today’s pole-position driver Hamilton speaks to Sky: “It’s pretty hot just standing here. We do have more clouds than yesterday. But I don’t think it will make much difference [in lowering the temperatures].

“Today’s going to be so tough, the Red Bulls were quicker than us on the straights in practice, but I’m looking forward to that challenge. It’s a long way down to Turn 1 … so I hope this is a day we get a good start.”

What are your thoughts on the prospects for today’s race? You can send me an email or a message on Twitter.

Speaking to Martin Brundle on Sky, Nico Rosberg observes: “Valtteri Bottas needs to be a bit more aggressive. He’s like me in my younger days, he is too cautious.”

The impact of Covid-19 has created a unique situation and a unique season for all sports this year, but certain things remain the same: England’s cricketers are still prone to the odd batting collapse, Manchester City are under-achievers in the Champions League, and the supremely talented Lewis Hamilton remains untouchable in qualifying. The British driver sealed a fourth pole position in six races in Barcelona on Saturday, giving himself the best possible chance of extending his 30-point drivers’ championship lead over Max Verstappen of Red Bull.

Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas is third in the drivers’ standings, just four points behind Verstappen, and he will start second on the grid after Mercedes dominated proceedings on Saturday. Verstappen starts in third, with Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll of Racing Point in fourth and fifth respectively. The controversy over Racing Point’s punishment for allegedly copying Mercedes’ design rumbles on, with the team announcing their intention to appeal four days ago. So that will provide an interesting sub-plot for today’s race.

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