Hamilton makes history in Spanish Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton races his Mercedes at the Formula One British Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver finished in pole position for the 100th time and won the Spanish Grand Prix in May.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story was incorrectly edited to state that Lewis made history in 2016 by becoming the youngest ever to win a Grand Prix at 18 years old. The winner of that race was Verstappen.

By Jesus Coronel

After increasing his championship lead in Portugal, Mercedes racer Lewis Hamilton sought to extend his championship lead in the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona on May 9.

In qualifying, he made history by securing the pole position for the 100th time in his career. He is the first Formula One driver in history to do so.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen wasn’t too far behind him as he qualified second.

Barcelona was also where Verstappen made history in 2016, when he became the youngest racer ever to win a Grand Prix at 18 years old.

He pulled off an early overtake on Hamilton to take the lead at the start of the Grand Prix. But misfortune would come back to bite him.

An engine failure for Alphatauri’s rookie driver Yuki Tsunoda caused the safety car to be deployed after he failed to get the car off the track.

That would force the gap between Verstappen and Hamilton to shorten after the Red Bull driver had gained a good lead on the Mercedes driver.

But he would go on to lengthen the gap from Hamilton to around 2 seconds.

Hamilton took a gamble and pit on Lap 43 to potentially catch Red Bull off guard and overtake Verstappen near the end of the race.

Red Bull then warned him that what Hamilton and Mercedes did “could be Hungary all over again.” Hamilton pulled the same move in 2019, which led to him winning the race over Verstappen that year.

The gamble paid off.

Hamilton’s pace quickened as he gained around 1.5 seconds on Verstappen with every passing lap, pressuring the Dutchman to hold the lead.

His pace prompted Mercedes to issue team orders to Valtteri Bottas on Lap 52 to not “hold Lewis up.” But Hamilton overtook his teammate after he didn’t allow a clear pass in the third sector.

With the tire advantage and the Drag Reduction System active on Lap 60, Hamilton passed Verstappen to take the lead after trailing him since the beginning of the race.

He had made up a 20-second deficit and went on to win the Spanish Grand Prix, earning his fifth consecutive win in Barcelona, 98th career victory and  Driver of the Day honors.

“I tried to defend but it didn’t work out,” Hamilton said in an interview. “After that, we focused on getting as close as we could. Tire management was really nice. I’m really proud of that.”

Although he finished second, Verstappen finished with the fastest lap of the circuit. He earned 19 points for the day and trails Hamilton by 14 points in the Driver’s Championship.

“Once he made that second stop, I knew I could not pit again,” Verstappen said. “Then he passed me at the end of the race. It’s tough when you’re up near the front and the two Mercedes cars are behind you. They can choose their strategy.”

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