Spanish GP: Lewis Hamilton wins in Spain as strategy trumps Max Verstappen & Red Bull

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Another bold move at the first corner of the first lap wasn't enough to give Max Verstappen victory in Spain on Sunday afternoon as a hard-charging Lewis Hamilton claimed the 25 points as his Mercedes team trumped Red Bull via superb tyre strategy.

Back in Imola in round two we saw Verstappen get his elbows out at the first turn to steal the lead off of Lewis Hamilton and that's exactly what we saw here in Catalonia as the Dutchman's better launch from second on the grid saw him scythe past Hamilton who was starting from the 100th pole of his career.

An early safety car on lap eight offered Hamilton an early chance to reclaim the lead but Verstappen's restart was too good, with the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc retaining third ahead of Valtteri Bottas after the Monegasque had jumped the Finn at the start.

On a circuit that is notoriously difficult to overtake, track position is key and, despite Hamilton hard-pushing behind Verstappen, the first real opportunity for him to move in front of his title rival was at the opening set of pit-stops.

Max pulled in at the end of lap 24 with Lewis clearly possessing better grip on the soft tyres and a slow stop with a sticky rear left opened the door for the Briton to surge in front.

Indeed, he went longer on the first stint but ultimately couldn't take first place, instead dipping in for medium tyres five laps later and then needing to close up to the Dutchman once more.

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It was, though, on the mediums the real drama of this race played out as Lewis once again demonstrated far more pace than Max on the yellow-walled tyres, closing in at over a second a lap to quickly be back on the Red Bull driver's gearbox whilst Bottas managed to clear Leclerc for third.

Hamilton, then, was pushing hard behind Verstappen but, once again stuck behind the Dutchman, decided to pit again along with his Mercedes team at the end of lap 42 to put a real cat among the pigeons.

Now we had Verstappen, already on more worn tyres compared to Lewis even before the stop, trying to stretch things to the end and Hamilton, though now just over 20 seconds behind with 23 laps to go, on much fresher tyres and lapping at over a second quicker than the man in the lead.

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The chase was on and, by lap 60, Hamilton was breezing back past Verstappen at the first turn - an hour and a half after their positions had originally reversed.

Indeed, ultimately Verstappen was a sitting duck with Mercedes and Hamilton acing their tyre strategy to make it a third win of the year, with Valtteri Bottas completing the podium in third place.

Hamilton, then, now sits 14 points clear in the Drivers' standings of Max Verstappen, ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix in two weeks from now.

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