Lewis Hamilton had a thrilling race at the Spanish Grand Prix after having a pretty rough ride since he lost the 2021 championship in Abu Dhabi. The Mercedes driver suffered an early setback in the opening lap when he made contact with Haas’ Kevin Magnussen at turn 4. The Briton’s W13 was left with a punctured tyre. And he was forced to return back to the pit to get a fix. Hamilton restarted the race in 19th place, around 38.6 seconds behind Nicholas Latifi in front. At that time, Leclerc was 53.908 seconds ahead of Lewis, who was thinking about retiring during the second lap. However, Mercedes’ Toto Wolff instructed him to stay in the race and fight for the eighth spot.
Hamilton continued to fight. But he failed to get closer to the other drivers initially after shifting from mediums to used soft compounds. He continued to fall behind in the race and was more than a minute back in the field at the end of lap 8. By the time Lewis took a pit stop after lap 22, he was a minute and seven seconds behind Leclerc. The Mercedes and Ferrari drivers‘ gap stabilized for a while at a minute and sixteen seconds after the former switched to mediums. However, a major shift in the front happened after Leclerc’s power unit failure led to his retirement while being in the lead.
Even after falling so far behind, Hamilton continued to battle the odds. And as a result, he finished fifth during a thrilling performance in Barcelona. He finished 50+ seconds behind the winner Verstappen, which was almost the same time he lost during the initial laps after making contact. So, could the seven-time world champion have won the race in Spain and challenged the leading Red Bulls if he had not met with an unfortunate incident at the start? Let’s find out!
Hamilton Fights To Get In Front After Leclerc’s Exit
Leclerc’s exit resulted in George Russell leading the field for Mercedes during lap 27. Meanwhile, Hamilton began catching up as he found himself a minute and two seconds behind. And while Russell fought off the two Red Bulls, Hamilton picked up the pace and continued to cut off the deficit. Hamilton continued to chip in on his medium before taking a pit stop nine laps after Verstappen and Russell and five laps after Perez. As the gap between the trio reduced to less than a second, Lewis charged into less than a minute gap. Moreover, Hamilton was 56.2 seconds behind when Perez took over the front position from Russell. The British racer rapidly reduced the gap to 49 seconds during the next five laps.
Further, as the lead in front shuffled once again during pitstops, Hamilton cut down his deficit to 31.2 seconds when he took his third stop in lap 48. He switched to soft tyres earlier than Russell and Perez. And completed his first lap after pitting in mere 51.6 seconds behind Max, who was running on mediums. Hamilton took advantage of his soft compounds and cut down from 50.2 to 40.8 seconds in the next seven laps to the fifth position on the grid.
Engine Overheating Late In The Races Restricts Hamilton From Challenging Verstappen
After making up a lot of ground, Lewis Hamilton found himself fighting for the fourth spot against Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz. Hamilton went past Sainz as he continued to push, reducing the gap from Verstappen to 39.331 seconds at the end of the 62nd lap. Soon after, an alarm rang on the Mercedes pit wall. This is because the engine temperatures soared high due to a water leak. Hamilton had to settle by giving up the chase in order to make it to the finish line. In the final stages, Hamilton continued to drop two seconds per lap as Verstappen’s lead grew to 54.534 seconds at the end of the race. Though it was only half a second more than it was at the end of the second lap.
At one point, Hamilton was within 31 seconds of Verstappen during the final stages. His comeback suggests that the Briton must have competed with the Red Bulls if he did not suffer a setback. There could be a lot of theoretical sides to the whole race, and it could have played out either way. However, it is evident that Hamilton would have had a chance of finishing second behind Verstappen with his W13’s pace. The Mercedes driver was quite happy with the outcome. Lewis said a race like that is better than winning as he came back from so far behind. Hopefully, the champion’s driver will win his first race of the season for the Silver Arrows in Monaco this weekend.