Hamilton wins in Spain to take championship lead

BARCELONA (Agencies): Lewis Hamilton beat Valtteri Bottas in the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday to replace his team-mate as world championship leader as Mercedes’ extended their record start to the season with a fifth 1-2 finish.

The defending five-time world champion seized the initiative at the start in Barcelona and led from lights to flag with a consummate demonstration of his speed and race-craft at the Circuit de Catalunya. It was his third win this year, the 76th of his career and his fourth in Spain following victories in 2014, 2017 and 2018.

Responding to being outpaced by Bottas in qualifying, Hamilton came home 4.074 seconds ahead of the Finn who was second ahead of Max Verstappen of Red Bull, four-time champion Sebastian Vettel and his Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc.

Pierre Gasly was a solid sixth in the second Red Bull ahead of Kevin Magnussen of Haas, home hero Carlos Sainz of McLaren, Daniil Kvyat of Toro Rosso and Romain Grosjean in the second Haas. It was the 16th time that Hamilton won a Grand Prix after leading every lap of the race.

Hamilton’s triumph hoisted him back to the top of the standings with 112 points, including one for fastest lap, ahead of Bottas on 105

“I have to put it down to this incredible team,” said Hamilton. “This is history in the making to have five 1-2’s. I am very proud of that! “It’s definitely been a bit of a hard first four races. Naturally we have a great car, but we don’t always get along. I’m grateful in the race that we managed to settle our differences.” Bottas said: “I lost it there, at the start. The clutch was strange – bite and release, bite and release. I’ve never had that before.”