That man Lewis Hamilton has done it again, dominating from start to finish in Spain to take the 88th win of his career.

The Mercedes driver finished all of 24 seconds clear of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, and 44 seconds ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas at a steamy Circuit Catalunya.

In 30 degree Spanish heat, the champion led every lap after charging to the first corner while Bottas was overtaken left and right by Max Verstappen in the Red Bull Honda and Lance Stroll in the Racing Point.

Bottas was able to get by Stroll on lap five but could do nothing about Verstappen,  the only other driver able to present a threat to the Mercs. 

Stroll finished the 66 laps of the fast, flowing 4.65km circuit near Barcelona in fourth place, ahead of Racing Point teammate Sergio Perez.

Next was Carlos Sainz in the McLaren while  Sebastian Vettel again had a miserable race in the Ferrari, but managed to claim 7th.

However, it was better than teammate Charles Leclerc, who parked his Ferrari at half distance after an electrical failure shut off his engine and sent him into a spin while he was in a thrilling cut-and-thrust battle with Lando Norris. 

Ninth and 10th were Pierre Gasly (Alphatauri Honda) and Norris in the other McLaren Renault.

Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo had a forgettable drive in his Renault.

After failing to make Q3 in qualifying, he started from 13 on the grid to end up 11th, withe teammate Esteban Ocon 13th.

“It was tough today and certainly not where we want to be,” Ricciardo said.

“We came here expecting much more, especially after two decent races last time out. We didn’t expect to have a difficult weekend, but it was very tight out there. 

“We were close to the top 10 in qualifying and in the race, so we’ll try and find out where we lost those couple of tenths and move on to the next race.”

Team principal Cyril Abiteboul thought the aerodynamics were the problem.

“Barcelona is a good test when it comes to the aerodynamic efficiency of the car, so it says something about the areas we have to improve. 

“We’ve made some steps in the winter, but not enough to be on the leading side of the midfield here. 

“That’s not an excuse, though. We should be at a point where we could be doing better than that. 

“We have a clear area of focus and we will be pushing to accelerate the next upgrades on the car.”

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Hamilton made a strange comment on radio, saying he was in ‘a daze’ and ‘in a different zone’ — which is reminiscent of Ayrton Senna’s comment after he set the best pole of his career at Monaco more than 30 years ago.

 “I was in a different dimension,” Senna said.

“It frightened me because I realised I was well beyond my conscious understanding.”

However, Hamilton was elated, rather than frightened by his experience.

“For whatever reason, and I can’t quite pinpoint why, it felt like I was in the most clear zone, with a clarity,” he said.

“I don’t know how you to get in that space but I felt fantastic in the car. 

“I didn’t make mistakes and I delivered lap upon lap – it is the zone that I dream of being in.

“I was ecstatic when I came across the line. I didn’t realise it was still the last lap. I was still going like a horse with those blockers on.

“For me it is right up there in terms of how I drove, how I really delivered and up there with some of the best performances that I feel I have done. 

“I am definitely going to have a glass of wine tonight to celebrate.”

Valtteri Bottas set a new lap record at 1:18:18, pipping Ricciardo’s 1:18.441 set in 2018. 

Unsurprisingly, the results are subject to the outcome of protests lodged against the brake ducts on the Racing Point cars.

They were earlier found to be in contravention of the Sporting Regulations and points were deducted — but the cars were allowed to retain the illegal parts.

Next Grand Prix  is in Belgium on August 30.

Results

POS NO DRIVER CAR LAPS TIME/RETIRED PTS
1 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 66 1:31:45.279 25
2 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING HONDA 66 +24.177s 18
3 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 66 +44.752s 16
4 18 Lance Stroll RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES 65 +1 lap 12
5 11 Sergio Perez RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES 65 +1 lap 10
6 55 Carlos Sainz MCLAREN RENAULT 65 +1 lap 8
7 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 65 +1 lap 6
8 23 Alexander Albon RED BULL RACING HONDA 65 +1 lap 4
9 10 Pierre Gasly ALPHATAURI HONDA 65 +1 lap 2
10 4 Lando Norris MCLAREN RENAULT 65 +1 lap 1
11 3 Daniel Ricciardo RENAULT 65 +1 lap 0
12 26 Daniil Kvyat ALPHATAURI HONDA 65 +1 lap 0
13 31 Esteban Ocon RENAULT 65 +1 lap 0
14 7 Kimi Räikkönen ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 65 +1 lap 0
15 20 Kevin Magnussen HAAS FERRARI 65 +1 lap 0
16 99 Antonio Giovinazzi ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 65 +1 lap 0
17 63 George Russell WILLIAMS MERCEDES 65 +1 lap 0
18 6 Nicholas Latifi WILLIAMS MERCEDES 64 +2 laps 0
19 8 Romain Grosjean HAAS FERRARI 64 +2 laps 0
NC 16 Charles Leclerc FERRARI 38 DNF 0

Note – Bottas scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race. Perez and Kvyat each received a 5-second time penalty for ignoring blue flags. The classification is subject to appeals lodged with the International Court of Appeal, relating to Racing Point’s use of brake ducts, the development of which was found to be in contravention of the Sporting Regulations.

CHECKOUT: Verstappen snatches stunning victory for Red Bull

CHECKOUT: Cars too quick for tyres — Pirelli

Buys

Bill Buys, probably Australia’s longest-serving motoring writer, has been at his craft for more than five decades. Athough motoring has always been in his DNA, he was also night crime reporter, foreign page editor and later chief reporter of the famed Rand Daily Mail. He’s twice been shot at, attacked by a rhinoceros and had several chilling experiences in aircraft. His experience includes stints in traffic law enforcement, motor racing and rallying and writing for a variety of local and international publications. He has covered countless events, ranging from world motor shows and Formula 1 Grands Prix to Targa tarmac and round-the-houses meetings. A motoring tragic, he has owned more than 90 cars. Somewhat of a nostalgic, he has a special interest in classic cars. He is the father of Targa star Robert Buys, who often adds his expertise to Bill’s reviews.
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