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Lewis Hamilton: The history maker

ON TRACK: After beating his teammate Valtteri Bottas and winning the Spanish Grand Prix, his third win of the season, Hamilton is now seven points clear at the top of the 2019 championship

LEWIS HAMILTON says getting the better of teammate Valtteri Bottas at the start of the
Spanish Grand Prix proved to be the difference between first and second place.

The Stevenage-born racer registered his third win of the season to go seven points clear at the top of the 2019 drivers championships last weekend, as Mercedes made it five one- two finishes from the first five races – the first time in the sports history that has ever happened.

Hamilton, 34, said it was important to get ahead early at the Barcelona circuit, as once drivers went through turn one, it was dif cult to peg anyone back. This is such a great circuit, but it’s very hard to follow once you get through turn one.

“I’m not really sure if they will ever make amendments to make it a race where we would be closer,” Hamilton said when asked to talk about the point in the race where it was ultimately won and lost.

He added: “I just have to put it down to this incredible team. This is history in the making to have five one-twos, so I’m very, very proud to be a part of that and very proud of everyone’s hard work here at the track and back at the factory.

It’s definitely been a bit of a hard first four races. Naturally this is a great car, but we don’t always get along. So I’m grateful that in the race we managed to settle our differences and get away well.”

DOMINANCE

He added: “It’s a long, long run down to turn 1 and I’m grateful for it, really happy for the whole team.”

Despite their lacklustre start to the season, many had hoped Ferrari would be able to put a halt to the dominance of Mercedes thus far, given the Italian team have been fastest at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in pre-season testing for the last two seasons.

It wasn’t to be, with Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc finishing fourth and fifth respectively. It was actually Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who finished third that offered the most noteworthy contribution outside of the German outfit.

His podium finish means he has not finished lower than he has started since last season’s Hungarian Grand Prix, 14 races ago. The Dutchman’s impressive result is also Honda’s second podium finish since their return to F1 as an engine supplier in 2015.

HOMAGE

As usual though, the most impressive stat from the race weekend was secured by Hamilton, who became the first man to take a hat trick of wins in Barcelona since Michael Schumacher, who won four times between 2000 and 2004.

Paying homage to one of his career gatekeepers, Hamilton in the post race press saved a special mention for outgoing chairman of Daimler and Mercedes AMG F1 W10, Dr. Dieter Zetsche, a man who he said had been integral to his progression.

“He’s been a massive supporter of mine since I was 13. Ultimately, he was there in the decision-making process of whether they would take me on as a kid.

“When I went to McLaren he was part of the decision-making process of whether I got the Formula 1 driver in 2007, and joining this team again. And every year from then on, when we had to resign.

“This is his last race with us and I just want to say a big thank you to him.”

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