Race winner Lewis Hamilton celebrates after the Spanish Grand Prix, in Barcelona, Spain, August 16 2020. Picture: MARK THOMPSON/GETTY IMAGES
Race winner Lewis Hamilton celebrates after the Spanish Grand Prix, in Barcelona, Spain, August 16 2020. Picture: MARK THOMPSON/GETTY IMAGES

London — Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton cruised to victory in Spain for the fourth year in a row on Sunday to celebrate a record 156th podium finish and stretch his overall lead to 37 points.          ’

The victory from pole position at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya was the 88th of the Mercedes driver’s career, and one of the more straightforward, with all but the top three lapped on a sweltering afternoon of few thrills.

Hamilton is now just three wins short of Ferrari great Michael Schumacher’s record of 91.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, Hamilton’s closest challenger, finished second, with Valtteri Bottas third for Mercedes, having taken the fastest lap after a late stop for fresh tyres.

“I was in a different zone — I didn’t even realise it was the last lap,” said Hamilton after finishing 24.177sec clear of Verstappen, who started third but grabbed second from Bottas at the start.

“I was just in a daze out there … I was ready to keep going.”

Verstappen has now beaten Bottas in the last four races and been second to Hamilton, who has won four of six, in three of them.

Six-times champion Hamilton now has 132 points to Verstappen’s 95 and Bottas’s 89.

Canadian Lance Stroll took fourth place for Racing Point, with Mexican teammate Sergio Perez ahead of him at the finish but carrying a 5sec penalty for ignoring blue warning flags.

Stroll had seized third at the start with an impressive surge past his teammate and Bottas.

“I saw a gap on the inside, went for it, and it really set me up for a great race,” he said.

Spaniard Carlos Sainz was sixth for McLaren and Sebastian Vettel seventh for Ferrari, after doing close to 40 laps on one set of soft tyres, with Red Bull’s Alexander Albon eighth.

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly was ninth and Lando Norris took the final point for McLaren. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was the sole retirement of the afternoon. 

Reuters

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