MONTMELO, Spain — Lewis Hamilton had no problems with his tires Sunday as he coasted to victory at the Spanish Grand Prix, extending his championship lead to 37 points and clinching an 88th career victory to move within three of Michael Schumacher’s Formula One record.
The talk before the race was whether Mercedes’ tires would be vulnerable in the searing summer heat of Spain, after experiencing problems in the past two races at Silverstone.
But there were no such issues as Hamilton, who started from the pole position, finished a sizeable 24 seconds ahead of Max Verstappen for his fourth victory in six races this season.
With his 156th podium, Hamilton broke a record he shared with Schumacher.
The most podium’s in @f1 🤯 I can’t even begin to describe how this feels. Thank you all for your love and positivity. I want to thank everyone back at the factory, I’m so proud to be a part of this team and I hope you’re all doing well and staying safe. #StillWeRise pic.twitter.com/iY7Wc2RP21
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) August 16, 2020
Valtteri Bottas placed third to fall further behind second-place Verstappen in the standings.
The winding 4.7-kilometer ( 2.9-mile) Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with its combination of slow and fast corners, is one of the hardest for overtaking.
After narrowly securing a record-extending 92nd career pole position Hamilton made a strong start on the long straight to the first corner. But Bottas was overtaken by Verstappen and the Racing Point of Lance Stroll – who jumped from fifth to third with a fine move on Bottas’ right flank.
Track temperatures on the circuit were around 50 degrees C (122 F) and Mercedes was concerned about catching too much sun.
“These black overalls are hot,” Bottas said during the race, throwing in an expletive for emphasis.
It was another miserable day for the struggling Ferrari team, with Sebastian Vettel finishing seventh and Charles Leclerc abandoning after his engine cut out on the track.
“I don’t know why the car switched off completely,” Leclerc said.
He crawled into the pits but the mechanics seemed at a loss to figure out what was wrong and his race was over on lap 41.