Verstappen pulls ahead in the driver’s championship following Red Bull 1-2 in Spain
Max Verstappen won the Spanish Grand Prix after struggling with DRS issues throughout the race and continued his form of winning every race that he has finished this season. Red Bull had a great end to the weekend by taking home their second 1-2 finish of the season, after a surprise DNF from Leclerc, who qualified P1 on Saturday and looked set to win.
Qualifying kicked off on Saturday, and Schumacher made the first Q3 appearance of his career, after Norris exceeded track limits on his Q2 flying lap and had the lap time deleted. In Q3, Leclerc had a huge spin during his first fast lap, leaving him with only one chance to try and put his Ferrari on pole.
Verstappen’s Red Bull car struggled with issues just before starting his final lap, meaning he couldn’t improve on his time and therefore qualified P2. Sainz put his car P3 at his home GP, impressing the Spanish fans, but it was Leclerc who managed to put it on pole for the race.
On Sunday, Sainz had a poor start to the race, losing two places after his car enabled anti-stall. Magnussen and Hamilton made contact on lap one, putting Magnussen in the gravel and leaving Hamilton with a puncture.
On lap three DRS was enabled, and just three laps later, Sainz took a spin off the track and into the gravel leaving him in P11. Then, due to heavy winds, Verstappen found himself spinning off the track at exactly the same place on lap nine. However, by lap 11 he had caught back up to front runners, and was let past his teammate, Perez in P3, in order to try to overtake Russell.
Despite Russell struggling with car overheating issues, he managed to keep both Red Bull cars behind for most of the race, giving Leclerc a huge gap out front. Verstappen was also having issues with his car, as the DRS flap was not opening, making it difficult for him to challenge Russell for P2.
On lap 21, Leclerc had such a gap out front that he managed to box his car and still come out in the lead, with a six-second gap to the next car. However, just six laps later the Ferrari car suddenly lost power due to an issue with the engine, and Leclerc, who looked set to enjoy a comfortable win, had to return to the garage.
Verstappen won the Spanish Grand Prix, continuing his stint of winning every race he has finished this season, and putting him in the lead of the driver’s championship by six points
This incident left Russell leading the race, with both Red Bulls relentlessly hunting him down. Verstappen boxed for soft tyres, to compensate for the intermittent fault with his DRS system, allowing him to get back onto Russell’s tail.
The next 18 laps consisted of Russell, Verstappen and Perez swapping positions within the top three, while all making a pit stop for medium tyres to try and gain the upper hand.
By lap 45, the order was set with Perez leading, followed by Verstappen and then Russell, but due to Red Bull team orders, Perez yet again allowed his teammate to overtake, allowing Verstappen to bank maximum points for his championship title fight with Leclerc.
On lap 51, Hamilton, who was P19 on lap two after his collision with Magnussen, overtook Ocon to put him into P6, making the Spanish GP a great recovery race for him. Lap 54 saw Perez boxing for soft tyres to pick up the point for the fastest lap, which he succeeded in doing just a few laps later.
Schumacher yet again failed to score the first points of his career, after Tsunoda overtook him for P10 on lap 56, meaning Spain proved to be just another disappointing, near miss race for him.
An exciting scrap for fourth place on lap 58, saw Bottas being passed by Sainz and his previous teammate, Hamilton in quick succession, making the new order: Sainz, Hamilton, Bottas. This lasted for only two laps, however, before Hamilton also overtook Sainz – thoroughly impressing fans by making up 15 places over the course of the race.
However, just two laps before the chequered flag, both Mercedes drivers received a message that their cars were at a serious DNF risk due to issues with the power unit and overheating breaks.
This meant both drivers had to coast in order to nurse their cars over the finish line, which allowed Sainz to overtake Hamilton on the last lap and reclaim fourth place in front of his home crowd.
Verstappen won the Spanish Grand Prix, continuing his stint of winning every race he has finished this season, and putting him in the lead of the driver’s championship by six points.
Perez finished P2 creating Red Bull’s second 1-2 finish of the season and Russell rounded out the top three with his second podium since his move to Mercedes.
Next week, Formula 1 heads to Monaco for the most historical race on the calendar, where home-town hero Charles Leclerc will be doing everything in his power to not only win, but also to regain the lead of the driver’s championship.
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull, 110)
- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari, 104)
- Sergio Perez (Red Bull, 85)
- George Russell (Mercedes, 74)
- Carlos Sainz (Ferrari, 65)
- Red Bull (195)
- Ferrari (169)
- Mercedes (120)