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Hamilton extends championship lead with dominant display in Barcelona

Lewis Hamilton dominated the Spanish Grand Prix to extend his lead in the Formula One world championship.

The Mercedes driver led every lap at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya, taking the chequered flag a mammoth 24.1 seconds ahead of Max Verstappen, with Valtteri Bottas in third.

It marked Hamilton’s 88th career win, moving him to within only three of Michael Schumacher’s all-time record. Hamilton could match the German at Ferrari’s 1,000th Grand Prix in Mugello next month.

The Briton has now also secured more podium finishes than any other driver in the sport’s history, spraying champagne here for the 156th time, one more than Schumacher managed.

Bottas pitted for new tyres late on to claim the fastest lap, but Hamilton, who lapped the entire field up to the third, will head to the next round in Belgium with a commanding 37-point lead over Verstappen in the standings.

Sergio Perez finished fourth but was demoted to fifth after serving a five-second penalty for ignoring blue flags. Racing Point’s Lance Stroll took the position with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz in sixth.

Hamilton’s winning streak came to an end at last weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone after Verstappen won for Red Bull.

Hamilton’s afternoon was plagued by tyre woes on that occasion, but in the 30-degree heat on the outskirts of Barcelona, he had no such worries as he led from the front in impressive fashion.

The greatest threat to his victory would come at the long run down to the opening corner, but Hamilton blasted out of his blocks to leave Bottas trailing.

Bottas fell two places to fourth after he was found guilty of being too timid on the brakes at the first corner, allowing Verstappen to sail around the outside, and Stroll to sneak through on his right.

Bottas would make it back past Stroll on lap five, but he was unable to do anything about Verstappen, who is the only other driver able to keep pace with the all-black machines this season. Alexander Albon finished eighth in the other Red Bull, one lap behind his team-mate.

While Verstappen took advantage of Mercedes’ rubber troubles at Silverstone to claim his ninth career win, it was the Dutchman struggling with his tyres on Sunday.

After taking on fresh rubber at his first of two stops, Verstappen was informed of Bottas’ pace.

“How about we just focus on our race first instead of looking to Lewis?,” Verstappen yelled. “Clearly on the soft tyre we were not as fast as them. Just make sure we do our job and let them do their job.”

Hamilton’s first of two stops was slow as Mercedes struggled to fit his rear-left tyre, providing Verstappen with the opportunity to slash the deficit from nine to four seconds – but despite the threat of rain in the closing stages, the Briton’s fourth victory from six rounds this year never looked in doubt.

Over at Ferrari, their troubled campaign continued with Charles Leclerc forced to park his red machine after an electrical failure sent him into a spin. He attempted to solider on before conceding defeat on lap 38.

Sebastian Vettel spent much of the afternoon in the midfield before attempting a one-stop strategy. Despite being gobbled up by Stroll and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz in the closing stages, the four-time world champion finished seventh, his second best result of the current campaign.

Lando Norris, who did well to hold off Leclerc during a rare moment of action, finished 10th.

Source:

www.breakingnews.ie

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