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F1 Spanish GP: Lewis Hamilton extends his Championship lead over Red Bull rival Max Verstappen


Hamilton has extended his Championship lead over Max Verstappen, who finished second with Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas finishing third.

LAP 63/66

Max Verstappen has set the fastest lap with a 1:18.1. It's a shame the Red Bull could not hold his lead, with Hamilton cruising to another race win.

LAP 62/66

There is a huge group of cars all battling it out for the final Championship point in tenth. Lance Stroll, Pierre Gasly, Kimi Raikkonen, Seb Vettel and George Russell are all vying for tenth.

LAP 61/66

Max Verstappen pits and comes out on the soft compound and will rush for the extra Championship point for fastest lap.

LAP 60/66

And Lewis Hamilton LEADS the Spanish Grand Prix! Max Verstappen is a sitting duck at Turn 1 and the Mercedes strategy works perfectly.

LAP 60/66

Watch out George Russell! He is less than one second behind Fernando Alonso in tenth and could earn his first world Championship point for Williams!

LAP 59/66

Hamilton is now 1.5 seconds behind Max Verstappen. We could see him concede the lead here and go for a fastest lap.

LAP 58/66

Hamilton is THREE seconds behind Max Verstappen but said over the radio he is worried he 'won't have any tyres left' at the end of the race. 

This is going to be an epic finish.

LAP 57/66

Charles LeClerc has raced wonderfully-well for Ferrari today. He is under pressure from Valtteri Bottas and will likely lose his podium finish but he has still been one of the best performers in Barcelona.

LAP 56/66

Striking distance is set for Hamilton on the second to last lap now. Verstappen will be out for 42 laps on those mediums - which would be the longest ever stint on that compound in the Spanish Grand Prix.

LAP 55/66

Valtteri Bottas hits the pit lane and comes back out on the soft compound tyres and he aims to make a bid for the fastest lap. 

But he comes out behind Charles LeClerc and is fourth. Odd move from the Mercs.

LAP 54/66

We have 12 laps to go... and Hamilton is just over 10 seconds from Verstappen in the lead. Game. On.

LAP 53/66

Bottas is told 'don't hold him up' but then proceeds to hold Hamilton up and they go wheel to wheel as the Brit makes a proper move on his team-mate. 

Hamilton up to second, but that cost him a little time.

LAP 52/66

Lewis Hamilton is closing the gap on his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in second place. You would expect the Finn to give Hamilton the space to overtake in a couple laps time.

LAP 50/66

Valtteri Bottas is told to 'pick up the pace' as he sits nine seconds behind Max Verstappen from second place. 

This really is going to be a grand-stand finish with the Mercedes on a rampant charge.

LAP 49/66

Max Verstappen complains over the radio that his tyres may not make it to the end of the race. Lewis Hamilton is currently 14 seconds behind the race leader and could now overtake the Red Bull before the final lap.

LAP 48/66

Sergio Perez has made a fantastic move on Daniel Ricciardo at Turn 3 to take fifth place in the Red Bull. He now has Charles LeClerc to catch, but is 16 seconds behind him.

LAP 46/66

20 laps and 20 seconds to make up for Hamilton to Verstappen in the lead. This could be set up for a cracking few last laps.

At this rate, he will catch him on the final lap...

Here is the order:

1. Verstappen
2. Bottas
3. Hamilton
4. LeClerc
5. Ricciardo
6. Perez
7. Sainz
8. Ocon
9. Norris
10. Alonso
11. Gasly
12. Russell
13. Latifi
14. Stroll
15. Raikkonen
16. Vettel
17. Schumacher
18. Giovanazzi
19. Mazepin

LAP 43/66

Lewis Hamilton pits! Mercedes have committed to a two-stop strategy and now all eyes will be on Red Bull to make a call on their race leader... who saw that coming?!

LAP 41/66

Max Verstappen has picked up the pace and is holding Lewis Hamilton at just over a second behind him. 

It looks like it is going to be tough for the Brit to make a move soon, and tyre wear could be a key factor in the later laps.

LAP 39/66

It's been a quiet afternoon for Lando Norris so far, but he gets in an overtake on Kimi Raikkonen to take ninth place.

His McLaren team-mate is defending well against Sergio Perez to hold fifth.

LAP 37/66

George Russell is on the radio to complain that the wind is picking up. That will have an effect on everyone out on track.

LAP 35/66

And Lewis Hamilton is now in DRS range. We have to guess that Verstappen has been nursing his tyres, or is that Mercedes just far too quick?

Cat and mouse.

LAP 34/66

Daniel Ricciardo is under real pressure in fifth place with Red Bull's Sergio Perez in his rear wing mirror. 

Expect an overtake soon.

LAP 33/66

Lewis Hamilton is flying around Spain now. He makes another 0.8 seconds on Verstappen and has already halved the gap he had after he came out the pits.

Give it a few more laps and we have a real race on our hands.

LAP 31/66

Mercedes are on a charge to hunt down the race leader Max Verstappen with Valtteri Bottas re-claiming his third place spot. 

Hamilton just records the fastest lap, 1.4 seconds FASTER than Verstappen!

LAP 30/66

Lewis Hamilton went long on the softs to gain a grip advantage for the late stages of the race. A big tactical call from the Mercedes team, but at Barcelona track position is key with very little chances to overtake.

LAP 29/66

Here comes Hamilton. He pits and comes out in second and is five seconds behind the Red Bull.

LAP 27/66

And guess who is cuaisng problems? Nikita Mazepin. 

The Haas driver takes ages to acknowledge the blue flags with Lewis Hamilton behind him and Toto Wolff is on the radio to complain to the FIA. 

This pitstop will now likely put Max Verstappen back in the lead.

LAP 26/66

Max Verstappen pits and it was a slow one! A 4.2 second pitstop is very poor from the Red Bull crew. 

How crucial will that slow stop be? 

Lewis Hamilton now leads and the timing of his pitstop will be a big call to make.

LAP 25/66

Watch Williams here. They used their pitstops during the safety car and both George Russell and Nicolas Latifi are in the points.

LAP 24/66

All eyes on Hamilton now as he pushes to within a one second gap. He is within DRS, but a pitstop could be on the cards here. 

More mid-table drivers are going through their stops so if a good window opens up, they may pit earlier.

Valtteri Bottas pits and comes back out ahead of Ocon in sixth.

LAP 23/66

Sebastian Vettel is the first to make a pit stop move within the expected window. Fernando Alonso is also in the pits. 

This should see a re-jig in the order.

LAP 22/66

Max Verstappen is doing a wonderful job at managing the distance from Lewis Hamilton behind him. 

The Mercedes driver is just out of DRS range and his tyres are in worse condition.

LAP 20/66

Pierre Gasly takes his five-second time penalty inside the pits and comes back out dead last. He is out on the mediums now.

LAP 18/66

Maybe scrap that soft tyre comment... 

Lewis Hamilton's right rear is looking pretty severely blistered. And he has just come on the radio to say his grip is starting to drop.

Verstappen's look in slightly better condition but also look worn.

LAP 17/66

Lewis Hamilton has now edged himself into DRS range from Max Verstappen in first. The front two will likely stay out longer on their soft compound tyres than the rest of the oack.

LAP 16/66

Further back, Nicolas Latifi completes a great takeover on Mick Schumacher in the Haas. Both Williams are looking faster than the Haas and are chasing down Kimi Raikkonen in 14th.

LAP 15/66

And the Charles LeClerc effect is occuring once again. The Ferrari driver has held third, meaning the gap between the front two and the rest of the of the field is growing quickly.

Valtteri Bottas is still stuck behind in fourth.

LAP 14/66

In the race for the lead, Verstappen appears to be lapping a little quicker than Hamilton. Both are putting up some very fast lap times.

LAP 13/66

And now DRS is back in play at Spain. Hamilton is just within DRS distance so Max Verstappen might have to get some defending in soon.

LAP 12/66

Max Verstappen has held his lead and Lewis Hamilton remains second. 

Further back, a wonderful move from Lance Stroll through sector 1 to make it up to tenth past Fernando Alonso.

Gasly has a five second penalty for his race start.

LAP 10/66

A nightmare pit stop for Antonio Giovanazzi as his pit team mess up the tyres as they found a puncture on one of the fresh tyres. Due to the puncture, they had to swap all four for the Italian which made it a much longer stop.

George Russell and Nicolas Latifi have also pitted.

LAP 9/66

And we have yellow flags after AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda stops dead after his engine failed on him. A safety car is deployed. That will make Bottas and the trailing pack happy.

LAP 8/66

Weather report: the slight chance of rain has now gone according to Sky Sports and the wind has died down.

LAP 7/66

Early predictions would suggest we have a two-horse race here. Charles LeClerc in third is driving much slower than the top two, creating a massive gap between them and the rest.

Valtteri Bottas is paying for this big time. He is losing over a second a lap behind the Ferrari.

LAP 6/66

Hamilton is slowly closing the gap to Verstappen in the lead to just over one second. With DRS available, this could be a tasty fight once he closes the gap a little more.

LAP 5/66

Here is the order further down. LeClerc is defending from third as Bottas looks to reclaim his starting position. Daniel Ricciardo fifth, Sergio Perez sixth, Esteban Ocon seventh, Carlos Sainz eighth, Lando Norris ninth, Fernando Alonso tenth.

Pierre Gasly also under investigation for starting out of position. Will be a slam dunk penalty.

LAP 4/66

Watching replays, it looks like Verstappen's reaction were faster as the lights went out and that gave him the advantage down the opening straight. It was SO close to them making contact, and well played to Hamilton for moving out of the way.

LAP 3/66

Max Verstappen is flying around Barcelona. He has built up over a two second lead over Hamilton as the drivers now create some sort of formation down the grid.

LAP 2/66

What a move from the Red Bull! He took Hamilton's stream, then took the inside on Turn 1 and muscled his way past the Mercedes. 

Elsewhere, Charles LeClerc sits third ahead of Bottas and Esteban Ocon lost a couple of places to Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez.

Formation lap...

And the drivers are out on their formation lap ahead of light's out in just a matter of moments. Lewis Hamilton starts from pole but it's a very long straight down to Turn 1, and Verstappen and Bottas will want to catch his stream down the straight.

Bottas must deliver

After reports suggesting that Mercedes may replace him mid season, Valtteri Bottas has been given a vote of confidence from team principle Toto Wolff.

But the pressure remains on the Finn, who has struggled to keep the pace with Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen on race day. 

It's tough to overtake at Barcelona, but starting from P3 he is going to have to pull something out of the bag.

Ferrari's on fire

Duo Charles LeClerc and Carlos Sainz - who is racing in his home Grand Prix - squeezed everything they could out of the Ferrari to record an impressive fourth and sixth in Q3 yesterday.

Their main rivals for third, McLaren, couldn’t quite find the speed as Daniel Ricciardo starts from seventh and Lando Norris from ninth.

Should be an interesting battle this afternoon.

EVERYTHING you need to know ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix…

The Formula One 2021 season continues on Sunday with the Spanish Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton currently leading the standings. Sportsmail takes you through the race details.

Hamilton’s 100th career pole

Jonathan McEvoy: Lewis Hamilton has cracked it in the wet, in the dry, in the dark. On Saturday, in suitably approving Spanish sunshine, he recorded the 100th pole position of his career.

Happy Sunday!

And welcome to Sportsmail’s coverage of the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix. Stay tuned for build-up, race action and the result.

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