F1 2020: Hamilton extends lead with fourth straight win in Spain

By Sports Desk August 16, 2020

Lewis Hamilton cruised to victory at the Spanish Grand Prix, triumphing at the event for the fourth straight season to extend his lead in the Formula One world championship.

Ahead of the race, Mercedes had labelled Max Verstappen as favourite after his victory at Silverstone last week, with similar hot conditions expected at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

But pole-sitter Hamilton was in control throughout on Sunday and his win never looked to be in doubt as he increased his lead in the drivers' standings to 37 points.

Red Bull's Verstappen did beat Valtteri Bottas for second place in a grand prix short on drama at the front, with Racing Point duo Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez rounding out the top five.

A dramatic start saw Bottas drop from second to fourth, as Verstappen passed him and Stroll surged up two places to third, with the Mercedes driver narrowly avoiding contact with Alex Albon and only just holding off a challenge from Perez.

Bottas remedied some of the damage by passing Stroll on lap five to regain one of his lost places, while Hamilton had built an eight-second lead over Verstappen by the time of the first pit stops.

At the scene of his first F1 win back in 2016, Verstappen had been struggling with one of his rear tyres and became increasingly agitated before pitting for mediums on lap 22, two laps before Hamilton did the same and re-emerged in the lead.

The advantage had increased beyond 10 seconds before Verstappen made his second stop on lap 42 as Bottas closed in behind him, the Finn then extending his stint by a further seven laps.

But while Bottas came back out on fresher tyres, a late challenge to Verstappen for second did not materialise as Hamilton continued to build a huge lead out front.

Teams had discussed the threat of rain appearing in the latter stages of the race but that potential drama did not arrive as Hamilton took a comfortable fourth victory of the campaign.

A late fastest lap for Bottas provided only slight consolation, as he fell further behind Hamilton and Verstappen.

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  • Mercedes have no 'opportunity' to sign Verstappen Mercedes have no 'opportunity' to sign Verstappen

    Toto Wolff says Mercedes do not have an "opportunity" to move for Red Bull driver Max Verstappen.

    The prospect of a dream partnership between six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and Formula One's top young star Verstappen has often been speculated over.

    But Verstappen is under contract with Red Bull, who will lose its engine provider, Honda, after next season, until 2023.

    Wolff is happy to have Hamilton partnered by Valtteri Bottas, the duo providing a level of team harmony much different to when the Briton was sharing a garage with Nico Rosberg.

    "The situation around Max doesn't provide any opportunity now," Mercedes team principal Wolff said to the Beyond the Grid podcast.

    "He's bound to Red Bull, I respect his loyalty a lot and I think it's important for Red Bull to have Max.

    "There's a lot of narrative around that and Red Bull picked him up from very early on when he joined Toro Rosso. The situation is what it is and it's good for him and good for us.

    "Valtteri does a great job for us, and Lewis does a great job for us and they are still at the peak of their performance levels.

    "Then we have juniors that are coming up that have been with us for many years and could be the future for us. So this is what we look at."

    In-form Verstappen has reached the podium in the eight grands prix he has finished in 2020, winning once and taking second place five times.

    Ahead of the Portuguese Grand Prix this weekend, Hamilton leads Bottas by 69 points, with Verstappen just 14 adrift of the Finn in third.

    Bottas joined Mercedes from Williams in 2017 after the surprise retirement of Rosberg, who had just been crowned world champion after a heated 2016 title battle with his former friend Hamilton.

    "Some things between Nico and Lewis we will never understand, because it goes back many years from go-karting into junior formulas," added Wolff.

    "It grew from camaraderie to rivalry to animosity. They just fell out, pretty early on actually when I joined in 2013. Then it gets worse and worse and worse.

    "There was a lot of negativity and that would drag the whole room down. It was very difficult. It is so refreshing that since Valtteri joined, we haven't had any of that."

    Victory for Hamilton in Portugal – the first race held in the country for 24 years - would be the 92nd of his F1 career, moving him in to sole possession of the race wins record above Michael Schumacher.

    The championship leader has won at three out of the last four circuits he has raced at for the first time - in Mugello this year, Sochi (2014) and Austin (2012).

    Bottas, meanwhile, was unable to win at the Eifel Grand Prix last time out despite starting from pole position – the ninth time that has happened from his 14 poles.

  • MotoGP 2020: Mir the merrier as title contenders target Spain gains MotoGP 2020: Mir the merrier as title contenders target Spain gains

    Alex Rins became the eighth different winner in as many MotoGP races as Motorland Aragon once again proved to be a happy hunting ground for home riders last weekend.

    The podium was filled by Spanish riders at the Aragon Grand Prix last weekend, Rins taking the victory ahead of Alex Marquez and Joan Mir claiming third spot to replace Fabio Quartararo as the championship leader.

    Quartararo will be looking to banish the memories of a nightmare race when the battle for the title continues in the Teruel Grand Prix at the same track this week.

    The Petronas Yamaha rider finished 18th after starting on pole, his worst result in the premier class giving Mir the chance to move into a six-point lead.

    Mir is the first Suzuki rider to lead the classification in the top category since Kenny Roberts Jr. in 2000.

    Here, we reflect on another dramatic round and look ahead to what might happen this weekend.

     


    LAST TIME OUT

    Quartararo astonishingly took a second successive pole last weekend despite suffering a heavy crash in the final practice session, having also hit the deck on Friday.

    Once again the Frenchman was unable to convert that into maximum points, quickly dropping back to seventh as his Petronas Yamaha struggled for grip.

    He continued to drop back after Rins shot ahead of Maverick Vinales and stayed out in front, with a Suzuki one-two on the cards when Mir moved into second place.

    Alex Marquez went ahead of Mir and applied late pressure on Rins, but a wobble on the final corner gave Rins the chance to increase his lead.

    Vinales made it an all-Spanish top four, while Andrea Dovizioso salvaged seventh place after starting in 13th.

     

    WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN THE TERUEL GRAND PRIX

    It is nine years since a non-Spanish rider won at MotorLand, although it has been so difficult to predict what will happen this season.

    Quartararo is the only rider to have won more than one race, but he was not even close to adding a fourth victory to his tally last weekend.

    Valentino Rossi was a notable absentee last week after testing positive for coronavirus and the great Italian misses out once again.

    Speculation over Jorge Lorenzo making a dramatic return in place of Rossi was dismissed by Yamaha, who will not replace the seven-time MotoGP champion.

    Marc Marquez is also set to miss out again as his brother, Alex, attempts to go one better and claim a maiden win.

    With just three races to come after this one, there is little margin for error in the fight to be crowned champion. 

     

    TOP FIVE OPTA STATS

    Mir of the same -  No other MotoGP rider has finished on the podium in more races than Joan Mir this season (five in the last seven races).

    Poles mounting for Quartararo - Quartararo is the first French rider and the 20th in history to secure 10 pole positions in 500cc/MotoG

    Rins hits double figures -  Rins is the eighth Spanish rider to achieve 10 podiums in 500cc/MotoGP.

    High five - No other Suzuki rider has finished on the podium in more races in a MotoGP season (since 2002) than Mir (five).

    Flying the flag - After Casey Stoner's first two victories (2010 and 2011), only Spanish riders have won in the following eight races at MotorLand (Marc Marquez, five; Lorenzo, two; Dani Pedrosa and Rins both one).

     

    CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

    Riders
    1. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) 121
    2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) 115
    3. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 109
    4. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 106
    5. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) 92

    Teams
    1. Suzuki Ecstar 206
    2. Petronas Yamaha 202
    3. Ducati 171
    4. Monster Energy Yamaha 167
    5. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 144

  • F1 2020: History looms for Hamilton as series returns to Portugal F1 2020: History looms for Hamilton as series returns to Portugal

    In-form Lewis Hamilton can take the Formula One record for most race wins outright as the series returns to Portugal this weekend.

    Defending champion Hamilton again tops the drivers' championship this year after winning seven of the 11 grands prix so far in 2020.

    Those successes have seen the Briton seize a slice of history, tying Michael Schumacher's mark of 91 F1 victories last time out.

    The Portuguese Grand Prix, which begins at 13:10 local time (GMT) on Sunday, can now provide the setting for Hamilton's big moment as he seeks to surpass the former Ferrari great.

    LAST TIME OUT

    Hamilton certainly enjoyed himself at the Eifel Grand Prix in Germany 10 days ago.

    Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas had started on pole, but an early error allowed Hamilton to take advantage and he held off Max Verstappen to take the win and further increase his season lead. Bottas retired on lap 19.

    Mick Schumacher, son of Michael, had been due to get his F1 bow in practice before adverse weather conditions intervened.

    But Hamilton's feat - a record-equalling 91st success - meant Mick still had a part to play, handing over one of his father's helmets to the victor.

    "This is such an honour," Hamilton told the 21-year-old. "I really appreciate it."
     

    WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN PORTUGAL

    Hamilton is determined to ensure his looming achievement does not provide a distraction, insisting he is wary of the threat of Red Bull and Renault, whose Daniel Ricciardo finished third in Germany.

    "I think Red Bull as well as Renault have really picked up their game and closed the gap, so we've got to continue to keep our heads down," he said.

    But while all eyes will of course be on Hamilton, there are others who need a performance just as badly.

    Ferrari have now gone seven races without a podium since Charles Leclerc finished third at the British GP. Only once since the turn of the century - in the final eight grands prix of the 2014 campaign - have the Scuderia endured a longer such run.
     

    TOP FIVE OPTA STATS

    More Hamilton history? - The season leader can become just the second driver - after Schumacher (5111) - to lead for 5000 laps if he runs in first place from start to finish on Sunday.

    Ending the wait - The Portuguese GP is back 24 years after its previous race, when Jacques Villeneuve (Williams) won in 1996. Portimao is the fourth track to be used for this event, following Estoril, Porto and Monsant.

    Another ticked off - This will be the 32nd different circuit Hamilton has raced at. He has tasted victory at 27 of the other 31 and achieved pole at 28 - both records.

    Winning Williams? - Williams have won five of the past six races in Portugal, also taking pole position at five of these grands prix. No team can top their overall tallies of six wins and five poles in Portugal.

    Or maybe not... - Williams pair George Russell and Nicholas Latifi are the only drivers on the grid without a single point in 2020.
     

    CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

    Drivers

    1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 230
    2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 161
    3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 147
    4. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) - 78
    5. Sergio Perez (Racing Point) - 68

    Constructors

    1. Mercedes – 391
    2. Red Bull – 211
    3. Racing Point - 120
    4. McLaren – 116
    5. Renault – 114

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