Spanish GP: Hamilton passes Verstappen for victory after strategic duel

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Lewis Hamilton produced a remarkable charge to beat Max Verstappen and claim victory at the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday.

The Briton lost the lead at the start but made a two-stop strategy work versus the Dutchman's one to catch the pass the Red Bull for his third win of the season.

Valtteri Bottas dropped to fourth early on but recovered to claim third as the top three from the grid finished as they started.

Race Review

When the lights went out it was Verstappen who got the better launch from second and steamed up the inside into Turn 1 to take the lead from Hamilton.

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Charles Leclerc capitalised on a slow Bottas to sweep round the outside in Turn 3 for third as Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez both made two places into fourth and fifth.

The leading pair stretched away at the front but the race was neutralised by a Safety Car on Lap 8 after Yuki Tsunoda ground to a halt at Turn 10.

Positions remained unchanged at the restart but for a nice move by Lance Stroll on Fernando Alonso at Turn 4 after the Spaniard went wide at Turns 1 and 2.

In typical Barcelona fashion, the action was muted until the pit-stop phase as Bottas was the first of the leaders to change tyres in fourth.

Verstappen responded on the next lap but a slow stop threatened to give Mercedes a chance to pit Hamilton and get in front.

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Instead, they chose to wait for a few laps, allowing Max the chance to repair the lost time and resume in the lead after Lewis stopped.

On fresh rubber, the world champion put on a charge closing by over a second per lap on the Red Bull.

Back on Verstappen's tail, Hamilton was unable to attack so he pitted again for fresher tyres, repeating the same strategy which won him the 2019 Hungarian GP.

Fastest lap after fastest lap followed, as Bottas just about let his teammate through cleanly at Turn 10 to reclaim second.

Then it was battle resumed with Verstappen but the speed of the Mercedes just too much as Hamilton swooped around the outside into Turn 1 to take the lead and the win.

The Red Bull driver pitted again for new tyres to clinch the point for fastest lap to limit the damage in second, with Bottas following in third.

Leclerc was fourth for Ferrari, with Perez fifth in the second Red Bull after a lengthy duel with Ricciardo.

The Australian scored his best finish for McLaren in sixth, ahead of Carlos Sainz in seventh and teammate Lando Norris in eighth, his first finish outside the top five in 2021.

Esteban Ocon was ninth, as Pierre Gasly rued a five-second penalty for starting outside his grid box in 10th.

Back at the front though, the Hamilton/Mercedes steam train is picking up momentum as the Briton moves 14 points ahead of Verstappen in the championship.

Next up, F1 is heading back to Monaco baby!

Full results from the race can be seen below: