No worries: Hamilton wins Spanish GP for 88th victory in F1

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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain leads the pack out of the 1st curve during the Formula One Grand Prix at the Barcelona Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, Spain, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2020. (AP Photo, Emilio Morenatti, Pool)

MONTMELO – Lewis Hamilton was worried about Max Verstappen before Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Worried, too, about how the Mercedes tires would cope under a searing summer sun after wilting last week in the lesser heat of Silverstone.

His concerns proved as unfounded as his 88th career victory was comprehensive. The six-time world champion is now within three of Michael Schumacher's Formula One record of 91 wins.

Hamilton beat Verstappen by 24 seconds to extend his championship lead over him to 37 points - 132 to 95 - after six races.

“I was just in a daze out there. I felt really good," Hamilton said. “I didn’t even know it was the last lap I was so zoned in.”

His teammate Valtteri Bottas is fading from the picture, and already languishes 43 points behind Hamilton despite winning the first race of the season.

Hamilton’s fourth win of the coronavirus-shortened campaign was also timely, considering Verstappen’s superb win last Sunday — when Mercedes anxiety levels rose.

“It was a surprise because we had that problem with the tires last weekend," Hamilton said. "But we seem to have understood it.”