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Hamilton wins Spanish GP to extend championship lead

BARCELONA (Agencies): Lewis Hamilton extended his lead in the drivers’ world championship to 17 points on Sunday when he roared to an imperious victory as Mercedes scored a one-two triumph at the Spanish Grand Prix.

The defending four-time world champion dominated from start to finish, save for a spell during the mid-race pit-stops, and clocked a series of record laps as he registered his second successive win. It was the 64th victory of his career – only Michael Schumacher on 91 has more – and came from his 74th pole. He joined seven-time champion Schumacher and two-time champion Finn Mika Hakkinen as a three-time winner in Spain.

Finn Valtteri Bottas came home second in the second Mercedes ahead of Dutchman Max Verstappen of Red Bull who resisted late pressure from four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, who led Hamilton by 17 points after the opening three races this year.

The German, who made a good start, was second until he took an ill-judged second pit-stop, under Virtual Safety Car conditions, midway through the race, dropping two places.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo was fifth in the second Red Bull ahead of Dane Kevin Magnussen of Haas and Spaniards Carlos Sainz, of Renault, and two-time champion Fernando Alonso, of McLaren. Mexican Sergio Perez of Force India came home ninth ahead of the impressive Monegasque Charles Leclerc of Sauber.

Only 14 of the 20 starters completed the race after a major high-speed crash on the opening lap, triggered by a spin from Frenchman Romain Grosjean’s Haas car, and a sequence of retirements.

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