2021 Spanish Grand Prix was an incredible, tense race-long battle between Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton triumphed for his sixth Spanish Grand Prix win. The reigning world champion brilliantly executed a two-stop strategy to claim his third win in four races this season, as Verstappen finished ahead of the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.
Verstappen led the majority of the race after brilliantly snatching the lead from Hamilton into Turn 1 at the start, with Red Bull then committing to a one-stop strategy around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, as Hamilton opted for two.
But with six laps to go, Hamilton used the superior performance of his newer tyres to pass the Dutchman into Turn 1 and check out for his 98th victory, and fifth straight win at the circuit – Verstappen ultimately deciding to pit for softs once Hamilton was past and go for a consolation fastest lap, which he duly got.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won a strategic tyre battle in Spain, stopping twice with a soft-medium-medium run to overhaul Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who initially tried to hold him off with just one stop, from P Zero Red soft to P Zero Yellow medium.
Once Hamilton was past him, Verstappen made a second stop to take the soft tyres and claim the extra championship point for the fastest lap. The soft-medium-soft strategy was used by all the finishers from second place to eighth place.
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, who finished ninth, was one of just two drivers to stop only once, going from soft to medium. The other driver was Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen, who did the opposite by going from medium to soft.
The only other drivers to adopt the same strategy as Hamilton were George Russell (Williams) and the two Haas drivers. The other Williams of Nicholas Latifi was the sole driver to stop three times.
Track temperatures were around 10 degrees cooler during the race compared to qualifying, at around 32 degrees centigrade (with 26 degrees ambient).
2021 Formula 1 Spanish GP Race Results
|1.||44||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||1:33:07.680||25|
|2.||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||+15.841s||18|
|3.||77||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||+26.610s||16|
|4.||16||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari||+54.616s||12|
|5.||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda||+63.671s||10|
|6.||3||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren Racing||+73.768s||8|
|7.||55||Carlos Sainz||Scuderia Ferrari||+74.670s||6|
|8.||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Racing||+1 lap||4|
|9.||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine F1 Team||+1 lap||2|
|10.||10||Pierre Gasly||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+1 lap||1|
|11.||18||Lance Stroll||Astin Martin F1 Team||+1 lap||0|
|12.||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Orlen||+1 lap||0|
|13.||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin F1 Team||+ 1 lap||0|
|14.||63||George Russell||Williams Racing||+1 lap||0|
|15.||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Orlen||+ 1 lap||0|
|16.||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Racing||+1 lap||0|
|17.||14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine F1 Team||+1 lap||0|
|18.||47||Mick Schumacher||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||+ 2 laps||0|
|19.||9||Nikita Mazepin||Uralkali Haas F1 Team||+ 2 laps||0|
|20.||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Scuderia AlphaTauri||DNF||0|
Mario Islola, Head of Formula 1 at Pirelli commented:
This was an intense strategic battle, so it’s perhaps surprising that in the end, the top four finished exactly as they started on the grid, despite plenty of movement and pit stops during the race. The cooler temperatures today prompted extensive use of the soft and medium tyres, which as we expected also led to nearly all the drivers making two pit stops. With most drivers moving from the soft to the medium after the start of the race, they had some flexibility on strategy. However, it soon became apparent that two stops were necessary here due to the abrasive nature and high-energy demands of this track, which makes the performance of the soft tyre as a key element to the race all the more commendable.