Start, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021

Hamilton hunts down Verstappen to win Spanish Grand Prix

2021 Spanish Grand Prix summary

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Lewis Hamilton took victory in the Spanish Grand Prix after chasing down and passing Max Verstappen in the closing laps.

Hamilton lost the lead of the race from pole position, but Mercedes took a strategic call to bring him in for an extra pit stop, allowing him to push to make up the gap to Verstappen before passing him with the advantage of fresher tyres.

Valtteri Bottas finished third ahead of Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull

At the start, Hamilton and Verstappen ran side-by-side on the almost 600 metre run to the first corner, with Verstappen to the inside. Both braked as late as they dared, with Verstappen boldly throwing his Red Bull to the inside, forcing Hamilton to yield the lead. Behind, Charles Leclerc swept clean around the outside of Bottas in turn three to take third place from the Mercedes.

Verstappen and Hamilton quickly pulled away from the field until the Safety Car was deployed on lap eight when Yuki Tsunoda’s Honda power unit switched off on the approach to turn 10, forcing the AlphaTauri to park on the exit of the corner.

Verstappen kept the lead when the race restarted on lap 11. As the field started to take their first stops of the afternoon, Hamilton began to put the race leader under intense pressure.

Verstappen was the first to pit for fresh mediums, but a slow stop appeared to put his race lead in jeopardy. However, Mercedes opted not to bring Hamilton in immediately to claim track position, preferring to keep their driver out for a longer first stint.

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With the pace advantage from new tyres, Verstappen was able to reclaim the time lost in his slow stop and retake the lead when Hamilton eventually pitted at the end of lap 28.

Hamilton was able to rapidly catch the leading Red Bull with his fresh medium tyres, but struggled to get close enough to Verstappen to make any genuine attempt to pass. After a number of laps behind the leader, Hamilton and Mercedes opted to pit for a second time for a news set of mediums.

Red Bull chose not to respond and leave Verstappen out, meaning the fight for the win would come down to whether Hamilton could catch and pass the race leader over the remaining 24 laps.

Hamilton began his pursuit of the leader, taking seconds out of Verstappen’s lead with every lap. Hamilton’s progress was temporarily frustrated by Bottas, who was less than accommodating in allowing his team mate to pass.

Eventually, Hamilton cruised up to the rear wing of the leader and as the pair began lap 60, Hamilton used DRS to breeze around the outside of Verstappen and into the lead. Verstappen immediately pitted for fresh soft tyres, retaining second place and easily posting a new fastest lap.

With Verstappen now far behind, Hamilton easily checked off the final few laps to take the chequered flag and take his third win in the opening four races. Verstappen finished second, 15 seconds behind, while Bottas rounded out the podium once again.

Leclerc finished fourth for Ferrari, with Sergio Perez in sixth after starting in eighth. Daniel Ricciardo was the highest-finishing McLaren in sixth, with Carlos Sainz Jnr in seventh ahead of Lando Norris.

Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly rounded out the points after a drag race to the chequered flag.

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2021 Spanish Grand Prix reaction

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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185 comments on “Hamilton hunts down Verstappen to win Spanish Grand Prix”

  1. Feel sad for Bottas, but at the same time, what else can he do….

    1. Drive a couple of tenths faster. He is driving as good as any world champion, the only issue is Hamilton is his teammate.. the best driver in F1.

      1. He is driving as good as any world champion

        This is ridiculous. He is driving the most dominant car since the Fezza Sharknose, that’s all. Otherwise he is the worst and slowest driver in the grid bar Nikita Mazepin.

    2. Yield quicker. There was nobody behind him and he was getting passed regardless.
      At first, I thought he was slowing down a bit to make sure Lewis would get DRS to pass him quicker.

    3. Drive faster…if he can

    4. Well he doesn’t need to be faster. His job this season is to beat Checo and win an another WCC. I would be more worried about Checo.

  2. LB (@burden93)
    9th May 2021, 15:55

    That was Mercedes and Hamilton at their best. Mercedes picking a great strategy and Hamilton’s ability to pull it off. Usually Spain is a Mercedes track so hoping for the championship Red Bull can respond in Monaco.

    Pleased for Danny Ric, much much better weekend. Hopefully the start of some great things

    1. I agree on 90%. Though I think Mercedes made a mistake with pitting Bottas second time.
      This allowed Verstappen to freely pit after Lewis overtook him and grab fastest lap without even doubting such a decision a little

      1. On the second thought – I also don’t agree with RBR response in Monaco.
        Nothing distinctly pointing to them having any meaningful advantage there.
        Truly it was close all those races, but not that close to

        1. Nothing distinctly pointing to them having any meaningful advantage there.

          Pirelli will bring its softest tyres C3, C4 and C5 in Monaco which doesn’t look to suit Mercedes for whatever reason. Normally Mercedes tend to work very well with the harder compounds.

    2. Yeh Monaco is a shoe in for Redbull. Unless Verstappen crashes like he before at Monaco

      1. Max has made several little mistakes that cost him points this year already, like in Portugal and Bahrain. It pretty much explains his 14 point deficit to Lewis.

        Max now simply has to win Monaco. If he makes another mistake next race it could effectively end his title bid for the foreseeable future. That would be very early in the season, despite being in an equal car to Hamilton.

        1. This is getting really old, especially after Spain. There is no equality in machinery. And why is it so important to launch that strange story all the time? I can only conclude that some Hamilton fans are not very happy with the car getting some credits of the 7 titles of Lewis. So they need to eliminate the car to prove Lewis is great. To me Lewis has always been great. One of the best and he just happens to have a dominant car. Lucky for him and us otherwise no-one could ever come near all those Schumacher records. And records are there to be broken. Just leave Verstappen out of this frustration please. He is enjoyable to watch and is a breath of fresh air between those two Mercedes cars. Its quite simple: as long as Bottas can put the Mercedes on pole, it is clearly still dominant. We do no have to argue on Bottas qualities, we all know he is mediocre at best. As long as Perez is not near Bottas, the Mercedes is still dominant. But don’t worry, Lewis is still very good, probably one of the best

          1. Agreed. And strange to see these fans missed the extreme mistakes Lewis made, only luck (and some Toto managed drivers) kept the damage controlled.

          2. Equal machinery? Looks from my perspective that the Red Bull is the faster car. Max kind of reaching a mid-career doldrums. 7 seasons and nothing to show for it.

          3. Very good comment Mayrton.

            This is what I tell people all the time, however, not many people like to hear it.

        2. Instead Sir Whatever made a huge mistake in Imola but it cost him nothing. 18 gifted points.

      2. Not this year. It’s consistently been Mercedes who’ve been better out of the slower corners- it’d be a pretty big surprise if they’re not on top

    3. We were told that RB has the advantage here

      And I’m sure we were told that last week as well

      And the race before…… you get the picture, I think!!

  3. I expected more from Ocon. Gasly would’ve probably passed him had he been 0.1 behind a lap earlier.

    1. @jerejj Alpine has very poor race pace. Alonso dropped off the cliff as well. Seems like the double Q3 yesterday wasn’t a real reflection of the pecking order.

      1. Alonso was trying a 1 stop like Max. For 60 laps it seemed to work. And then it didn’t

    2. Alpines pace is all over the place. i think they will get slower as the year goes along and finish 6 or 7th in post. Alonso is having a Robert Kubica comeback so far. Boty driv

    3. @jerejj Alpine nearly the only ones on the grid who tried to make it on a one-stopper in the end. That seemed like the wrong strategy and might be why Ocon lost places and Alonso dropped off at the end.

  4. Great fight again but really no chance for Max without Perez close to Bottas. Lewis was so much quicker all race except at the start.

    Well deserved win for Lewis!!

    1. I wonder if people are going to keep up this hilarious line of the RBR being the fastest car. I mean it’s truly a joke. This is to take nothing from Lewis. He can’t be beat if his car has the edge.

  5. RBR had the gap to pit immediately after Hamilton did and stay ahead. They didn’t and Hamilton did a fantástic job hunting them down without trashing his tires. Zero mistakes again, as well, whereas I saw VER lock up and have a slow-ish pitstop.

    Story of the day: Lewis, just too good.

    1. That gap never existed and Max didn’t have the mediums

      1. Yeah it did. Max had 23.5 seconds left when he decided to stay out rather than stop. That’s 2.5 seconds safe to Hamilton.

        1. The way I saw it was that Lewis was 1,5 quicker on the medium and Max only could go to softs. It would be borderline at best but I don’t think it would’ve mattered.

          Lewis was so much quicker, he deserves this

          If Perez was close to Bottas Max would’ve won

        2. The gap was about 23 seconds when Max was at pit entry with a pit delta of 22 secs BUT that gap wasn’t really representative. Lewis still needed to negotiate S3 to get a proper gap to be calculated, and he could probably have pulled out 1 second if he needed to. Add to that the fact that Hamilton’s tires would have been warmer and Max didn’t have any fresh mediums, and you struggle to see what RB could have done differently

      2. That’s more or less it I think @anunaki, and as Verstappen explained (and the message between him and Horner just before he parked the car showed), HAM keeping it so close for so long indicated that had they lost position, they were quite unlikely to come back. Could they have won somehow? Maybe, but it seems by that point Red Bull nor Verstappen thought the win was on, it just hadn’t become apparent on track.

        1. @bosyber Looked more like Red Bull/Verstappen thought the win was in the bag. Verstappen’s early first stop and lack of forethought to keep an extra set of medium available for the race was what tripped them up.

          1. What would they do instead? Put him on hards that are a second a lap slower? Or softs with the intention of 2 stopping, in which case Merc would have probably just gone for the 1 stop

          2. @f1osaurus, their radio didn’t really give that impression though, just after they talked about how it was like Hungary 2019, and eh, Verstappen didn’t win that one, let alone easily.

          3. @bosyber I had the feeling they thought they had it in the bag until they realized that by failing to cover Hamilton’s stop they lost the race.

          4. @randommallard If anything they could have prepared for the race before the race like Hamilton did.

            There were plenty drivers that stopped for softs at the same time when Hamilton stopped.

            Anyway, doing nothing was just daft,

            Although yet again Bottas gave away the fastest lap to Verstappen, so I guess their inaction gave them that.

          5. @f1osaurus I think doing nothing was the best (and only) thing they could have done to fight for the win. What they needed was a second car, which thanks to a mixture of mistakes from the driver and poor driver management they do not have

          6. @randommallard There were at least 3 drivers that went for that second stop at the right moment and they all gained a position from it. Covering that stop was clearly the best. In hindsight for us perhaps, but that should be foreseen by the strategists.

            Doing nothing clearly was the wrong thing. At the very least Verstappen would still have taken P2 from Bottas as easy as Hamilton took the place from Verstappen and potentially he would have still been ahead of Hamilton on softs and kept P1 till the end of the race.

            There is no contest really.

          7. @f1oSaurus, do agree that Hamilton/Mercedes keeping that 2nd set of mediums and thus (as Bottas confirmed they did) prepare themselves for a 2 stop race if needed shows they are ahead of the game and perhaps also that Red Bull, in the years of being only hopeful of challenging has lost some of that championship edge.

            Not sure they miscalculated or missed a chance there, but it’s those sort of things, small things that wouldn’t have been more than ‘we tried our best, but could not in the end do it so pretty happy with how it went’ as in previous years, will cost Red Bull and Verstappen the chance to really be a contender (probably were ahead a bit in the 1st two races, and should have been at Portimao, but didn’t do the job).

          8. Well First and foremost given Red Bull didn’t have the tyres to 2 stop they shouldn’t have tried to cover Mercedes with the undercut that early. They should have known they couldn’t one stop from there and either let Mercedes undercut and pass then take their Mediums later for a one stop or commit to the 2 stop and take all the life from the tyres. By stopping First they also made themselves vulnerable to a safety car or vsc to lose the lead with a cheap stop.

            Red Bull had pace today but deliberately hamstrung their ability to use it with a nonsense strategy. Besides a poor start, Hamilton was sensational today though.

          9. All teams only had two sets of medium.
            Even Lewis second set was an used one.
            Try to follow F1 in this dimension.

          10. erikje, Hamilton only scrubbed those mediums. He kept them in good state specifically for the race. Maybe you should indeed actually follow F1 instead of knee jerk your some silly posts.

    2. I don’t think RB did have the gap. While it may have said 23 secs when Max was near pit entry that only takes into account the half of the lap Lewis had completed. Say he took another 8 tenths through the tire-critical S3, and he already has warmer tires, then RB are just pitting their car into 2nd. The first pitstops showed the power of the undercut. And Max didn’t have a fresh set of mediums, so would have had to go onto the softs

    3. RBR had no gap. The graphics shown with predictions are usually not very reliable. They dont / cant take into consideration the monster lap time that the “undercutter” can do. There’s no way Max would have been able to prevent an undercut executed perfectly by Merc, with less than 1 second lead before the pitstop.

    4. The problem with that is that there was still Bottas ahead. And that time it was still a possibility that he could make it to the end. Mercedes was going win one way or the other. Had a faster car today as well. Lewis was good, but he was not the difference maker today. The only reason why the race was interesting was because Max jumped Lewis at the start.

      1. RP (@slotopen)
        9th May 2021, 23:42

        @j-l

        This is the correct take. Red Bull could not respond to the second stop because of Bottas.

        1. @slotopen I honestly don’t understand why so many people missed this. The one-stop was thought to be the better strategy going into the race. Mercedes played this to perfection. Plus, Max didn’t have any sets of fresh mediums.

    5. Dude, HAM was about to overtake VER right before VER dived into pits! Even if VER copied HAM’s strategy, what makes you think VER would/should have won? How do you know that HAM is not managing the pace behind and attack in the last laps, to make heroic too? I mean, we’ve seen it multiple times, RAI vs HAM at Monza springs to mind now. Plus, HAM is a “player” without doubt now, we’ve heard him numerous times saying his tyres are dead, then once he got in clean air he set new FL, lap after lap.

  6. lexusreliability?
    9th May 2021, 15:58

    Gripping race, gripping season so far.

    Red Bull should have covered Hamilton- Max was already quitting on the radio before Hamilton came in.
    Overall- the Mercedes drivers outperformed the Red Bull drivers. The Mercedes team outperformed the Red Bull team.

    Hamilton usually starts the season slow, so the fact that he’s won 3/4 of the races points to a familiar
    season.

    Oh and kudos to Bottas for ignoring team orders. Given the current circumstances he can’t afford to give Hamilton gifts even if it’s in the best interests of the team. He has to look after himself first if he is to have any voice in the championship battle.

    1. Finally Bottas showed some back-bone, but he chose a poor situation to do it in, imho.

      1. I sort of agree @jeffreyj, though clearly in the end it didn’t hurt Hamilton much (16s ahead of Verstappen), I do wonder whether Bottas himself didn’t lose too much time from it which might have kept him ahead of the Alonso train that seemed to cost him a lot of time before he was past it; w/o that he might have had a better run at the FLAP, and who knows, Verstappen, so it seems a little, well sad?

    2. … It was a foregone conclusion that he was getting passed.

    3. Bottas should show reasonable pace if he wants to have any “voice” in this championship…

    4. He knows that he is not going to be on the grid next year, otherwise he always obeys team orders. I think thats why we didnt hear anything from Hamilton ranting or James with his usual radio during the racing. He is done.

    5. lol he showed some backbone but got passed easily anyway.

    6. Overall- the Mercedes drivers outperformed the Red Bull drivers. The Mercedes team outperformed the Red Bull team.

      Wow, that Ferrari / VET syndrome is lethal.

  7. Davethechicken
    9th May 2021, 15:58

    Boring track made interesting by different strategies. This race and Monaco are two of the least interesting of the season.
    Max drove great race and had the pace to win. The RBR had serious pace as both Max and Sergio showed with their fastest lap nearly 2sec and 1sec respectively faster than Bottas with all on fresh soft and low fuel.
    RBR out thought by Merc on the pit wall and the usual flawless Hamilton.

    1. Barcelona and Monaco are marvelous tracks. Nothing even remotely boring.

      1. Davethechicken
        9th May 2021, 16:05

        We will have to differ there!

      2. Marvellous tracks. Boring races.

    2. For me Paul Ricard and Sochi are the awful ones.

      1. Spain, Monaco, Monza, Baku, Sochi, Paul Ricard, Singapore, Melbourne, Mexico, and Abu Dhabi are all terrible tracks imho. Sometimes there are good races despite that, but I wouldn’t miss any of them if they were axed.

        I don’t hold high hopes for Miami, Vietnam, or Saudi Arabia either, having driven them online, although that new Russian track that might alternate with Sochi looks and feels kinda cool to drive.

        1. @jeffreyj

          Can’t believe you put Monza and Baku in the same league as Spain, Monaco and Abu Dhabi.

          1. @todfod Monza is long straights with chicanes. The Lesmo’s and the entry to Parabolica are sort of nice but everything else is meh. Baku is even worse. Mostly stop-start with unnatural corners.

            Both tracks do sometimes have good races, I’ll give you that.

      2. Yes Sochi is by far the worst. I actually am a big fan of both Monaco and Catalunya.

        1. I’m also a big fan of those two. Catalunya just has a great flow (apart from the last chicane). The cars look fast on track and the corners are proper corners. Overtaking is a different story though…

          1. Davethechicken
            9th May 2021, 20:04

            My objection to the Spanish track is the difficulty in overtaking. There was barely a move prior to the pitstops by any driver, despite the likes of Bottas and Perez being much faster than the cars in front. Only big tyre degradation differentials lead to a n interesting race. The changes to turn 10 didn’t seem to improve the overtaking on the main straight.
            Not got much hope for Monaco as usual.

    3. LB (@burden93)
      9th May 2021, 16:16

      I actually prefer Monaco to Spain, the fact the barriers are always so close means you can’t stop watching (even if they do race at about 60% pace on the Sunday!)

  8. The Mercedes is so much faster on the mediums. The Red Bull is great on the softer tyres but they just don’t have the pace on the mediums. Definitely something to work on.

    1. I think the next few races are usually ones where the softer tires come out. Monaco and Baku usually have a soft range, I’m not so sure about Turkey, but then it’s France and Austria which favour the mid-range tires, compared to the very hard range we’ve had in the last 2 races

      1. Given Turkey is now on the UK’s “Red List”, I’m far from sure we’ll see a race there.

  9. the lack of performance in the 2nd RedBull is costing them again and again. If Perez was closer to Max or Bottas, the winning strategy would have been a lot harder for Lewis, probably not even worth trying.

    1. This is true. If HAM had to overtake both RBR’s they might not have tried this strategy. Also, after getting back 2 positions early, and being close to Leclerc and Bottas, he couldn’t do much. Dissapointing.

    2. Yes, the second car is needed for strategic purpose. At the moment it is not happening.

    3. It’s really unfortunate, but I’m still backing Checo to come good. It didn’t happen this weekend, but it will happen sooner or later. Checo is usually pretty good around Monaco and Azerbaijan, so hopefully he has a couple of really good races to boost the confidence and fight back against the Mercs.

    4. The pace difference (Merc vs RB) was maybe too big anyway and Lewis would have easily passed Perez on the straight, but at least Perez should have been in the mix to attempt slowing Lewis down for say 10 laps. I don’t think it is that easy as keeping Bottas behind, but still.. Max was hung out to dry like this.

      1. The main reason for the pace difference was that Verstappen was told to nurse his tyres and Hamilton knew he could destroy his because he was doing an extra stop.

    5. If Perez is in the mix, then Mercedes keep Hamilton out on a 1 stop strategy and still easily retake the lead.

      Their second stop was a winning strategy, but Hamilton was a lap or two away from retaking before that stop. Perez needs to improve no doubt, but Mercedes was inarguably faster on mediums and the show was over either way.

      Going to be another long season of Mercedes taking the constructor’s early on.

      Reply moderated
  10. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    9th May 2021, 16:02

    Poor Bottas already being binned in the 4th GP (out of 23) because Mercedes puts all faith in Hamilton. Rightfully so, but at least Wolff cannot say Bottas has an equal chance (while keeping a straight face that is). Same can be said of Wolff trying to put themselves in the underdog position by claiming RBR is the favorite; they’re not. Close and definately a lot closer than last year, but those Mercs on the long runs are just amazing. They made the right switch some time ago losing some time on the saturday but gaining several tenths because of it on the sunday. That’s when the points get handed out and that’s when you have to be there. Hats off to Merc for that.

    Can’t wait for some more interesting tracks like Monaco (although that’s decided on the saturday as well) or Spa, Monza, Singapore etc. Gonna be bonkers!

    1. They were clearly on two different strategies. Bottas’ poor pace relative to Hamilton made it look a lot worse. I would have argued in favour of Bottas had he been further up the road when they came together; but, at that stage, all he became was a hindrance to the team. He excelled at slowing Hamilton, though.

    2. @barryfromdownunder How did Bottas not have an equal chance?

      1. He received two team orders, one fighting for position.
        In this dimension that’s a wingman approach.

        1. Lol it’s a team order to tell him to get on with it? What reality do you live in?

    3. Did you see the gap the front two pulled on Bottas before the safety car? If he doesn’t want to be “binned” as you put it, he just needs to be a lot faster.

      1. In a parallel universe, Russell got angry at Bottas over going alone on a specific location, but ultimately, Bottas said “My bad man, you go alone there with the AWP”.

    4. But that’s where you’re wrong…he DID have the same opportunity. All he had to do was run the pace Hamilton was running on his first set of tires and get on the gearbox of Verstappen, then he would have been fine…or even the pace he’d been doing earlier where he was catching Verstappen but by bit….Bottas being ~9-10 seconds back and not getting any closer, despite the team thinking he could/should be, is why the call to let Hamilton by came though.

    5. But Mercedes has clearly shown that they will not stop Bottas from winning races when he has the pace. The problem is, “race winning Bottas” shows up far too infrequently. Bottas gets a lot of stick, but he has shown he can win races, even ones where Hamilton is second. Sadly, he hasn’t shown much of that since early 2019.

  11. Bottas – as I predicted at the start of the season :OP – has decided to become rebellious. Great that he fought Lewis rather than give way. Not sure Mercedes will feel the same.
    I enjoyed this race, it was a connoisseur battle at the front, Max’s quick start, him and Hamilton way ahead of the rest, Mercedes with their ‘Hamilton-special’ strategy of putting on new tyres and reeling in a 20+ gap (not doable by VB as we know). It’s like GM chess.
    Also good: Stroll versus Alonso!

    1. It was a pointless battle.

      Hamilton was a pitstop up on Bottas who needed to stop again.

      All Bottas did was damage Mercedes chances, and if there’s one way for Bottas to trigger a driver change
      midseason it is by wilfully risking Mercedes points against team orders in a situation when he’s not fighting Hamilton on a like-for-like tactical basis.

      There’s a difference between being allowed to race your teammate and putting up a struggle for no go reason when already a stop down. If the only way you can meet the team mate on the road is by being 26s out of synch via the pit stops, and on a strategy not intended to yield a similar race time, you don’t get to hold them up.

      1. Well, for Bottas it didn’t feel pointless, which is kind of my point! I think it’s a sign he knows he’s leaving.

        1. @david-br That was my exact thoughts when it happened too. He knows he’s likely on his way out at the end of the season so whether he follows orders or not it’ll result in the same outcome.

          1. If RB get more competitive with Perez coming to the party pretty soon, than Valteri might have to go sooner so that Russell or Ocon? can plug the gap so the Merc win the constructors. This is going to be a very tight fight.

          2. I agree, but it was then probably recent info, otherwise he wouldn’t have rolled over as easy in the first races

    2. Not smart at all from Bottas if he wants to keep his seat beyond this year. Him being obedient just might convince Merc to keep him but without that he’s as good as gone for them.

      1. He already lost his seat for next year.
        And two team orders are not nice for a driver. The second one even fighting for position

        1. You never know, I think it’s too early to make that judgement. But it’s true that Toto talked about George after the Bottas crash as if he were a Merc driver.

      2. @j-l

        I don’t know how Bottas has survived the mental beating he got from Lewis over the past 5 seasons. Why would Bottas want to sign up for a 6th season of getting smashed to bits? He’d probably leave the team before they can sack him.

    3. It makes the decision to replace BOT by RUS so much easier for Toto.

  12. A classy drive from Hamilton and a wake up call for Red Bull. Not that they could do something dramatically different given the course of the race (Hamilton was quicker throughout the whole race), but this has already happened twice and they should definitely consider different strategic options in case Verstappen’s leading the race and Hamilton’s Mercedes is obviously quicker. Overall, as this is traditionally Mercedes’ track, Verstappen’s position in the standings in still promising and he minimized the losses today. He needs to win in Monaco and Red Bull needs to find more pace for the summer.

    1. I think Max ,Redbull,and Honner dont have a heathy respect for Lewis brilliance,deep down they all believe the lazy narrative that Lewis is mentally fragile and only wins because of Mercedese engine mode ,party mode ,and only if Max is within half a second or equal car he will expose Lewis after 10yrs 100 poles and 7 championship.
      They underestimate Lewis and when they get beat they play victim and claim they have a slower car

      1. I agree. RBR lost due to strategy and HAM brilliance at preserving tyres and execute the strategy. Nothing to do with race pace (BOT was way behind VER). That was a similar scenario to Barhain and somehow they got beaten a different way, due to strategy + HAM. That is amazing to watch and witness.

      2. You can think what you like of course. Or you can read/listen to what Verstappen has said about Hamilton on multiple occasions. There is no underestimating going on there

    2. Yes and Perez needs to be in the mix. Today clearly showed the leading RB was out there to do it alone (once again)

      1. Unfortunately, that’s always a distinct possibility when you build a team around one single driver.

  13. GOAT Hamilton masterclass once again! Lone star legend Lightnin’ Hopkins posits ‘I woke up this morning, I’m wondering, what in the world am I gonna do?’ Sir didn’t have to think twice making sons of all Grand Prix drivers today, elder statesmen included. Theirs and detractors only out must be surely to hope postpartum strikes sooner after this most ominous opening rounds to a season.

    1. A master class how to drive the fastest car to victory indeed.

      1. Well to be fair Verstappen failed to do that in 2 races this year so far.

        1. Please. Mercedes has a faster car by far – and has all season.

          Reply moderated
    2. RP (@slotopen)
      9th May 2021, 23:50

      Dude, friendly advice, when you feel the manic episode starting log out.

    3. @kiarie

      You must have loved 2016.

  14. Another Masterclass from Hamilton again.

  15. Mercedes and Lewis were amazing, especially their pace on the mediums. Their strategy was on point and Lewis made it work. Lewis only botched his start, but saved his race in the first corner.
    Looking at the gap between Red Bull and Merc, especially where Bottas and Perez are, I feel that Max has to be on the edge non stop to be this close, while Lewis can be more relaxed while being this close. A bit of pace, a bit of experience, nothing major, but he has the upper hand.
    Though I’m very much done with Mercedes winning (and therefore Max being the one to cheer for), respect to them for staying sharp and hungry and happy with their achievements after so many years of domination.

    1. I agree, the RedBull is definately not as quick as the Merc around here, at least not this weekend. Maybe in the winter testing it was, but that was long ago.

      Here is why I think that: in the first stint, Max in clean air was slower and hurting his tires more than Lewis was, following closely within a second. If that Merc was not over half a second faster per lap, Lewis would have had real problems staying so close.

      I mean… yeah, Lewis is incredible for sure, but there’s not such a difference between him and Max so he would win this race in a slower car.

      1. Davethechicken
        9th May 2021, 16:57

        I disagree. If you look at the fastest laps both Checo (1sec faster) and Max (2sec faster) were much quicker than Bottas on softs when they all went for the FLAP. All low fuel. All clear air.
        That was the softs, but the two cars are exceptionally close in performance, I believe.
        Merc and Ham have been a little smarter, so far at least.
        It is gearing up for a fine battle.

        1. Except these tyres don’t go the distance. Its the other ones you need pace on.

          1. Davethechicken
            9th May 2021, 20:25

            I agree about the medium tyre being the better race tyre, Mayrton.
            It wonderful to see Ham and Ver slugging it out week by week.
            I am really enjoying this season so far.

      2. Looking at the way Red Bull used their tyres, they seem to have committed themselves to a one stop strategy from the start of the race weekend, whereas Mercedes left themselves the option of one or two stops.

        To some extent, Max will have had to take it easier on his tyres fairly early on in his stint – we heard the team telling him that. Similarly, he started his stint on the medium tyres at a slower pace – he was about a second a lap slower to start with.

        Mercedes relied on a strategy that required them to push Max hard to make sure he couldn’t go at the slower pace he wanted to use to stretch the life of the tyres. To some extent, how much of the difference might thus be down to Max trying to stretch out the tyres for that one stop when Mercedes were targeting that two stop race?

        1. A nice analysis @anon, Hamilton did seem to be pushing Verstappen rather than backing off to preserve his own tyres. In retrospect, it seems carefully planned. Presumably if Hamilton had stayed ahead, he’d have tried to set a fast pace and drag Verstappen with him to see whether they needed to one stop or two.

          1. Actually never thought of that at all @anon and @david-br , good thinking. Mercedes really thought this through and kept their options open. How do you beat a team and driver as good they and Hamilton are?

          2. @lems Hamilton seemed to confirm that they strategized this if Verstappen got ahead and that he was indeed pushing Max in the first and second stint, banking on the latter’s tyre deg being worse.

      3. well Lewis has a 100 pole and 7 world championships,I hate to break it to you but Max has no accomplishments or achievements in F1

        1. Except that he makes it really fun to watch. Imagine him not being around. 1. Lewis, 2. Bottas in all FP’s Q’s and race results.

          1. Davethechicken
            9th May 2021, 20:27

            +1. Would be dull if Max wasn’t putting up a fight.

  16. Exemplary effort by Mercedes and Hamilton. They simply outplayed Red Bull on pretty much all fronts. Still, it’s a bit of an anticlimax to see it all come down to a dull DRS pass. Nobody will remember such an unequal contest, which is doing a disservice to both Hamilton and Verstappen as well as the fans.

    1. That was not a dull pass due to DRS, but due to the worn tyres that Verstappen was on.

      People do remember such an “unequal” contest because it’s the choices that both drivers made which got them in this situation. But then apparently Verstappen didn’t remember the same “unequal” contest in Hungary 2019 and made the same mistake again.

      1. what was the mistake again?

        1. @gechichan Did you see both races? The mistake is waiting for his tyres to be dead and for Hamilton to simply drive by again.

          1. I’ve seen both races. There always nothing he could do after Lewis pitted the second time. Max was a sitting duck bith now and in Budapest 2 years ago. The undercut was bound to work for Lewis, that is 100% sure, given that an out lap on new rubber is 3 seconds faster than what Max could do o old mediums.

            Think before posting.

          2. @gechichan Yeah just keep repeating the Horner propaganda. There was nothing they could do, just a sitting duck. They could have stopped for softs, kept some mediums for the race to begin with. Whatever. Just sitting there as a deer in headlights is not an excuse. Especially since the exact same thing already happened to them so they should have been prepared.

            Besides, when the roles were reversed, Hamilton did win.

            Think before posting. Or better yet, just don’t post at all.

          3. @f1osaurus you do understand that Max would have came out behind both Lewis and Bottas after the second pitstop. The idea that he would have had been able to pass both of them on this track, in similar tires, is something only armchair experts can think of.

          4. @gechichan Yes I do. Do you understand that there were multiple drivers in the midfield how went for the same strategy know that on their soft tyres they would get by their opponents on worn medium without issue?

      2. Given Verstappen appears unable to remember from the drivers’ briefing to the race, expecting him to remember something from two years ago seems a bit of a push. ;-)

        1. @scbriml Ha, ha true.

          His engineer reminded him over the radio immediately when Hamilton stopped though. So he still could have decided he wanted to stop too.

    2. Davethechicken
      9th May 2021, 16:59

      You can blame the track rather than the drivers for the dullness of this race every year. Without the tyre differential there would be no passing even with DRS.

      1. It is a horrible track indeed. Too many of these ‘just one spot to overtake tracks’. In who’s interest is that?

  17. Bottas is done, he wont drive mercedes next season, he knew it and therefore decided to defend better than Max.

    RBR strategist was the responsible person who messed it up, they knew that lewis has done it before, they could have pitted next lap and still be in front.

    And without Lewis it was impossible to win for merc. So kudos to him, he deserved it.

    1. I liked that Bottas denied team orders. I also liked that Mercedes pitted him to let him try for fastest lap as compensation. Bottas is a super fast driver who just happens to be slightly slower than the best driver in F1. Bottas is stuck in a his no. 2 position.. he has 50 podiums for Mercedes… But he can’t join another team to try to challenge Hamilton,. He just can’t find that extra bit… But with his speed level he could be a 30-50 win driver. Bottas should go down as a true great for how he has challenged Hamilton.

      1. They didn’t stop Bottas for a fastest lap did they? Looked more like he simply needed an extra stop to make it to the end. Just like everyone else really. It’s just that he took it at the optimum time while Verstappen first waited for Hamilton to come past and then still had enough laps left to go for a fastest lap attempt.

    2. they could have pitted next lap and still be in front

      this is based on what exactly? on the highly unreliable predictions shown on screen?

      Look: Lewis pitted when he was less than a second behind Max, and the stop went without issues – 2.5 sec stationary. And then, doing a monster lap on fresh rubber vs. Max’s best try on old(ish) mediums would have surely meant around 2 or even 3 seconds gained, therefore undercutting with ease.

      1. @gechichan So the better alternative is to do nothing, wait till the tyres are really completely dead, for Hamilton to come breeze past and then after the race claim that he was a sitting duck who was never going to win anyway?

        Then to top it off set the fastest lap 1.3s faster than Bottas and 2.5s faster than Hamilton to show how much slower the car really was. Oh wait …

        1. It’s good to have a experts on social media like you. Great stuff.
          Even Grimm could have learned from you.

        2. you’re really new to F1, is it?

          1. erikje and @gechichan

            Yeah right, it’s best to just stay their like a “sitting duck” and do absolutely nothing. That’s why Hamilton is winning these races and Verstappen isn’t. But keep your head in the sand and let the Horner propaganda wash over you like a warm fuzzy blanket.

  18. Mercedes engine still as strong as it has ever been. RBR need Perez to figure out this car more than ever since I think they are down on power. Perez needs to use the Newey downforce the same way Max does because on straights they are sitting ducks.

    Reply moderated
  19. Bottas tried to show some balls, but that was the worst possible time to show them honestly, I think he’s losing it in his head. Hamilton was way faster than he was.
    As for Mazepin holding other drivers, well that isn’t news anymore, you just gotta prepare when you are behind him, regardless of whether you are lapping him, or anything, doesn’t matter.
    Happy for Ricciado, awesome race.
    Kind of feel sad for Alpine, the promise of the pace they showed yesterday was nowhere to be seen today.
    As for Hamilton, what else is there to say really?! When you combine his brilliant drives and the precision and execution of Mercedes, you got one mighty team. Congratulations to them. Redbull and Max would have lost this race win regardless of what they did.

    1. “As for Mazepin holding other drivers, well that isn’t news anymore, you just gotta prepare when you are behind him, regardless of whether you are lapping him, or anything, doesn’t matter.”

      If you’re behind Mazepin, then you’re coming up to lap him! No other way anyone would be behind him. Lol

      1. @scbriml In all sessions whether FP1, FP2, FP3, Quali or race, Mazepin will definitely get involved with at least one driver by blocking them, does not necessarily mean in the race.

        1. @lems Of course, it was a joke, hence the Lol.

  20. lexusreliability?
    9th May 2021, 16:36

    I think this line of thinking misses a fundamental point. Bottas had an equal chance in qualy. Equal chance at the start. Equal chance in the race. Just didn’t have Hamilton’s pace. So what else is the team going to do? That’s quite different to Barichello for eg where, even when he had the pace, he was still ordered to move out the way. So, it’s false to say “Wolf can’t say Bottas has an equal chance” – he does, but when the dust settles he isn’t on Hamilton’s level.

    1. lexusreliability?
      9th May 2021, 16:37

      Meant to be a reply to @barryfromdownunder

  21. I think this years new regs have affected most on “copy cars” Alpha Tauri and Aston. Just look where are they now compared to last year.

    1. @qeki good observation, though I wouldn’t necessarily put Alpha Tauri as a “copy car”.

  22. Slowly but steady this is becoming the same borefest as it was the last 6 seasons with Mercedes being so dominant. There seems to be nothing the other teams can do to prevent it. Although good for Hamilton-fans, for the other fans it is a disaster.

    1. lexusreliability?
      9th May 2021, 17:01

      @petterson

      Dominant, really? The first 4 races have been on a knife edge and frankly have been interesting. That you think this is the same as 2014-2016 suggests you aren’t paying attention or at the very least aren’t watching the race weekends and just going off the headlines. At the very least Max and Red Bull have had a car that’s had a 50/50 chance of winning.

      1. they want to see Hamilton lose, that’s what bores them. Because one thing this season has not been is boring. Even Spain was somewhat decent.

        1. “They” want to see some proper racing. Not a one-sided show where a good driver has the best car all the time. Russel showed how its done in Bahrein 2020. If your driver wins most races for years without having any real competition I doubt you are a fan of motorsport.

          1. The point is that some Hamilton fans are not very happy with the car getting some credits of the 7 titles of Lewis. So they need to eliminate the car to prove Lewis is great. They do that by claiming the RedBull is equal to the Mercedes and Hamilton easy beats the wonderboy.

            I dont get that urge to prove Hamiltons worth, since to me Lewis has always been great. One of the best and he just happens to have a dominant car. Lucky for him and us otherwise no-one could ever come near all those Schumacher records. And records are there to be broken.

            Just leave Verstappen out of this frustration please. He is enjoyable to watch and is a breath of fresh air between those two Mercedes cars. Its quite simple: as long as Bottas can put the Mercedes on pole & podiums, it is clearly still dominant. We do no have to argue on Bottas qualities, we all know he is mediocre at best. As long as Perez is not near Bottas, the Mercedes is still dominant. But don’t worry, Lewis is still very good, probably one of the best. And if you’re interested who is better, Lewis or Max? Couldnt tell. I can only say I am hugely impressed with the results Max achieves with the machine he has vs one of all time greats. Thats not something I have seen any driver do the past 8 years (maybe Vettel but that didnt last very long). So good for us, fun to watch and probably very frustrating for Max

          2. lexusreliabilty?
            9th May 2021, 20:20

            @petterson

            Russel showed how its done in Bahrein 2020

            By being beaten by Bottas in qualy and the race? Also, even if what you claim is true, what exactly does one weekend prove? If we are going to use one weekend as a measuring stick- we can use Imola 2020 where Russell binned it behind the safety car. Without a shadow of a doubt, Hamilton would have bagged those points. So I guess, we can use that one weekend in Imola to draw that Russell isn’t worthy of a top drive, if he can’t even score points that are on a platter.

          3. @petterson

            we are getting proper racing and yet you’re here complaining. I stand by my point. You want to see Hamilton lose. Be honest with us and admit.

            It’s your opinion and doesn’t matter to anyone else.

    2. Are you not entertained? Or is that it is entertaining, but “the wrong driver” is winning?

      1. I defenitely do not want to see Hamilton lose and I never mentioned Verstappen in this thread. With that out of the way I believe that since Barcelona it is getting obvious Mercedes is getting on top of their game again. The ease with which Hamilton could follow the race leader in filthy air, never allowing a delta of more than 1-2 seconds and being in control even when not leading gives me a clue of how this season is unfolding (again).

    3. @petterson

      Sorry man.. will have to disagree with you here. As F1 fans we’ve all been bored by the Merc dominance, but let’s face it, every race so far has been an absolute thriller for the race win.

      Bahrain went down to the wire between Lewis and Max, Imola they went head to head as well, Portimao they over took each other once each to fight for the win and they did the same in Barcelona. I can’t remember the last time we had two title contenders battle it out for the race win for the first 4 races in a row.

      Sure, there aren’t multiple winners like 2010 and 2012, but having two top tier drivers from different teams, battle it out is fantastic as well. Villenueve vs Schumi, Mika vs Schumi, Alonso vs Kimi, Alonso vs Schumi we all epic battles and none of them started the season with 4 races in a row where they were actually overtaking and defending against each other on track. So, for now, I feel it should be hard for you to complain.

      If Mercedes does get more dominant as the season goes on (which is very likely) then we have a right to moan again.. but for now.. I’m shocked that you aren’t enjoying every race weekend.

    4. I think people are confusing the terms competitive and dominant. The record books may well show Lewis wins another 11 plus races but if they’re all narrow victories with a genuine fight for the lead, I sure won’t mind. If they’re all 1m plus winning margins, sure, that’d be dominant.

  23. Very nicely done by the Merc strategy team today, hats off! They fully took advantage of the faster pace and Perez not being there.

  24. Rbr need to step up their game. Plain and simple. Max started well and did what was required, but Hamilton drove better overall and executed “the Hungary” to perfection.

    But it at least kept us guessing…

  25. well Lewis has a 100 pole and 7 world championships,I hate to break it to you but Max has no accomplishments or achievements in F1

    1. Try to follow a season. Maybe somewhere along the way you will get it.

      1. lexusreliabilty?
        9th May 2021, 20:22

        @erikje
        Seasons and accomplishments please.

    2. Gees that’s harsh. Max is a multiple race winner and pole sitter. More than most drivers ever achieve. Are saying Stirling Moss, Ronnie Peterson and Gille Villeneuve achieved nothing?

  26. Well that was a procession and once again Mercedes have just enough of an edge in performance to be able to win regardless of what Red Bull did. Hamilton could sit under Verstappen’s rear wing at will so they were going to get past somewhow, either with the undercut or an alternative tyre strategy. Today it was the latter.

    If Verstappen hadn’t been so determined to take the lead at the first corner I think Hamilton would have stretched out a comfortable lead.

    Looks like another season of Merc domination ahead.

    More than anything else I’m annoyed with the C4 commentary team for hyping the Red Bull so much after the first qualifying session. The Mercedes has been the fastest car on race day at every round so far.

    Maybe 2022 will be different???

    1. *Hamilton in the Mercedes has been the fastest car

  27. Davethechicken
    9th May 2021, 20:44

    Anon, I think you are right.
    When we get brief moments of fair comparison between RBR and Merc, the RBR is faster on the evidence. Both this weekend and last when pushing for fastest laps the RBR had a clear pace advantage which I believe is not just the driver. Last week we saw a poor lap by Max with missed apexes being faster the Bottas in the Merc at the end of the race.
    This week both Checo and Max were much faster than Bottas on fresh rubber when pushing for the FLAP.
    Max was always clear conserving his medium tyre this race. His true pace only revealed on the soft.
    RBR messed up the strategy. They had a difficult choice but Merc out witted them with Hamilton mega as usual.

  28. I’ll go out on a limb, and claim, that Mercedes had the fastest car all along and are working hard, to make it appear like RBR is close.

    Hamilton would have won this regardless of strategy. 2 stop made it look heroic, but he had Verstappen covered either way.

    1. @jureo Verstappen’s fast lap was 1.3s faster than Bottas’ fastest lap and 2.5s faster than Hamilton. Clearly Verstappen had a lot of “hidden reserve” left.

      It looked more like they got complacent thinking the win was in the bag since overtaking was clearly pretty much impossible. Verstappen was hoping to cruise till the end, but they forgot that they got beaten doing the same thing already in Hungary 2019.

      They should have realized the tyres were never going to last till the end and adjusted their strategy. In fact Verstappen already said so earlier. That’s where they lost it. They know this could happen and yet the lost out again. That’s just bad.

      But nah they just wash theiur hands of guilt by claiming Verstappen was a sitting duck and nothing could have helped. At least they could have tried rather than taking that 100% certainty of losing.

  29. People, you need to allow for the speed difference between a pole winning setup (equal drivers) and a race winning setup ! And also understand that these fragile tyres amplify that difference, MB didn’t develop DAS out of curiosity, they did it in case their competitors did it.

  30. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    10th May 2021, 3:39

    This race was an ode to the excellence that Mercedes and Hamilton are capable of.

  31. The more I think about it, this wasn’t as similar to Hungary 2019 as it looks at first glance. At Hungary, everyone was on a 1-stop except Hamilton and Stroll. 1-stop was a workable strategy then.

    But in Spain 2021, almost no one was able to make a 1-stop work. A 2-stopper was a faster strategy yesterday. Even if Lewis was ahead of Max, Merc would have still done a 2-stopper. Mercedes wisely kept a set of fresh mediums for the Sunday’s 3rd stint. Red Bull didn’t. That hurt them almost as much as not having Perez in the mix.

    Red Bull need to analyse what was the thinking behind using the up the mediums on Friday / Saturday.

  32. Exciting race although the outcome was practically inevitable with a faster Mercedes and Red Bull without their 2nd car. The strategy of Red Bull again in question as even Anthony Davidson could foresee what was about to happen, but then Mercedes had all the cards and would likely have won even if Red Bull had gone for the 2nd stop with their better speed and Bottas in the way.

    1. @balue I wonder how “inevitable” you thought it was that Hamilton was winning before lap 40.

      But agreed, Verstappen failed to prepare for the race by keeping the extra set of mediums. Or for having the spirit of going for the attack after Hamilton stopped. Apparently he likes to be a sitting duck with 100% chance of losing. Or at least that’s what Horner propaganda is trying to make us believe.

      Oh and that slower car was 1.3s faster on the fast lap than Bottas and 2.5s faster than Hamilton. So yeah, much slower indeed. Nothing he could do.

      1. @f1osaurus Ah yes of course, silly me. Red Bull clearly the fastest yet again, and by some margin. Just let down by poor drivers.

        1. @balue Well, they clearly were not slowest without a chance to win.

          Verstappen got played and beaten. Maybe at some point Verstappen can learn from all the beatings he’s getting, but for now he clearly needs even more of a car advantage over Hamilton than he already has to actually win races yes.

  33. @f1osaurus Exactly. It’s all Hamilton. Just too easy to think Mercedes has a car and strategy advantage, when it’s of course the opposite and just the drivers making all the difference. I see that now. Your objective reasoning is incontestable.

    1. @balue Indeed, this season Hamilton is clearly showing that Verstappen has his short comings. Verstappen has been poor in Q3, poor in executing race strategy and still makes too many errors. Just like Hamilton exposed these issues in Vettel for 2017 and 2018, or for Vettel, Leclerc and Verstappen in 2019.

      Hamilton was a “sitting duck” in Bahrain even more than Verstappen was in Spain. Yet who won? Verstappen ill timed his pass, botched it and then ill timed the give backsies. All in all losing what should have been an easy win when he had the faster car by quite a margin (by his own account too).

      When it’s the other way around, Hamilton executes it all perfectly and murders Verstappen at the exact right spot. Just like he did in Hungary 2019. You can keep pretending it’s just luck and such, but when he keeps doing it and Verstappen can not do it, at what point is it time to finally admit Verstappen is just not there yet?

      Verstappen may be fast (when everything goes his way), but he’s nowhere near on the whole picture: race craft, developing the car, driving under pressure, management of the material, taking the right risks, preparing for all contingencies etc etc.

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