Verstappen wins, Hamilton makes incredible comeback as Leclerc is forced into RETIREMENT
MAX VERSTAPPEN has won a third victory this season after a spectacular Grand Prix in Catalunya.
The Red Bull driver took full advantage of Charles Leclerc’s disaster as he was forced to abandon his lead with a “loss of power” on lap 27.
Sergio Perez and George Russell occupied the second and third places in the charts.
And seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton came out of the pits from hell to snatch fifth place, which was unbelievable considering he had a flat tire on the first lap.
Monaco is the next place for Formula 1 racers where they will race for first place in Monte Carlo.
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Amazing performance from the Spaniard – in his homeland.
Fernando Alonso started the day in 20 position on the grid.
But, remarkably, he climbed 11 places to finish in a respectable 9th place.
And, of course, the F1 Twitter account defends this achievement.
Has the Drake curse struck again?
The Canadian rapper bet on Sergio Perez to win the Spanish Grand Prix.
And there’s no pocket change either – a mega $230,000!
Perez was of course asked to step aside for Verstappen to win today’s Grand Prix.
Red Bull boss Christan Horner has spoken of pissing off Sergio Perez with his decision which helped Max Verstappen win the Spanish Grand Prix.
“I have to shout out to Checo for playing the team game,” Horner told Sky Sports F1.
“They weren’t in the same race today, their strategies were different but he did incredibly well.
“The problem we had was we had raging temperatures and the last thing you want to risk is a DNF when you have two cars that could go one-two.
“We had two cars with different strategies, so it wasn’t a straight fight.”
George Russell has revealed Mercedes were “hurt” battling with Red Bull at one point during the Spanish Grand Prix.
He said: “To be honest it hurt us a lot but when I had the Red Bulls in my mirrors all I did was do anything to keep them behind.
“But it was a nice couple of laps and I’m delighted to be able to drive him home for P3 and the points for the team.
“Thumbs up to Max, he did a great job.”
What a race!
A victory for Max.
Leclerc has lost his power.
Podium for Russell.
Fifth for Hamilton after a puncture on the first lap.
And fourth for local boy Sainz after spinning early.
Here’s how it ended in Barcelona…
MAX VERSTAPPEN WINS THE SPAIN GP!
The Red Bull man wins his third consecutive race and takes the championship lead for the first time this season.
But he had to do it the hard way after running into DNS issues early on.
Problems force Hamilton back to P5
The team radios to deliver bad news that there seems to be something wrong with the Mercedes.
Bono tells Hamilton not to defend himself if Sainz fights back and as a result the Ferrari man takes over the P4.
The Silver Arrows man can be proud of his performance today.
Progress has been made.
Hamilton takes over the P4!
The Mercedes driver shows why he is a seven-time world champion by wasting no time in overtaking Sainz.
He said before the race that he thought the car was now capable of battling the Ferrari and that appears to be true.
But no one thought he would pass one after suffering a puncture on the first lap!
Bottas makes a mistake!
The Finnish driver goes too far and allows Sainz to close the gap before Hamilton also capitalizes and moves to P5.
What a workout from the Mercedes driver, these upgrades definitely worked.
10 laps to go!
As expected, Perez easily posted Hamilton’s fastest lap just moments after putting on new tires.
But here’s what the podium looks like as it is:
Bottas follows in fourth position but Sainz and Hamilton win over the Alfa Romeo driver…
Hamilton sets fastest lap
The Mercedes man always shows it as he takes the fastest and an extra championship point.
However, his Red Bull teammate Russell and Perez have just put on a fresh set of slicks as they try to wrest it from him.
Red Bull tells Perez to make way
Messages are coming in that Perez is on a different strategy from Max and he should let him through.
The Mexican responds: “It’s unfair, but okay.”
And just like that, Verstappen takes the lead in the race and also in the championship.
16 laps to go!
Lap 45 – Max stops to give Perez the lead
The Dutch driver gives the lead back to his team mate as he tackles a new set of mids.
Above all, he comes out ahead of Russell, so it’s still a Red Bull 1-2.
But will Perez give up the lead?
With the abandonment of Leclerc, if Max takes the checkered flag, he will take the championship lead.
Lap 38 – Max takes the lead
Despite all his DRS problems at the start of the race, the Dutchman is now in the lead.
He was winning over Russell before the Mercedes man went for fresh tyres.
It looked like he was going to have to battle teammate Perez for the lead, but a change in strategy sees the Mexican see the pit as well.
A smart move by Red Bull.
They now have a two-car buffer between them and Russell.
Lewis is on the move!
After a forced tire change on lap 1, the Mercedes driver returned early for his second stop.
And it seems to be working because with the rest of the field also arriving, Hamilton is now sixth.
Not bad considering he was 18th at one point!
Zhou forced into retirement
The Chinese driver follows Leclerc in his retirement from the race following a technical problem.
And his Alfa Romeo teammate Valteri Bottas has just been taken over by Verstappen for 3rd place.
Lap 30 – Perez overtakes Russell to take the lead
We are getting closer to the halfway point in Barcelona and we have a new leader.
Red Bull driver Perez is currently on a one-stop strategy and has the tires to get around the Mercedes and take the lead.
The question will be whether the Mexican can now drag on until the end.
Leclerc loses power!
The Ferrari man screams into the radio as his Ferrari loses power.
He’s straight into the pits and doesn’t come out, which means Russell takes the lead!
Leclerc’s race is over and this is his first DNF of the season.
No doubt his championship dreams have taken a hit.
Excellent driving from Russell!
The Mercedes driver remains P2 after a superb drive to fend off Verstappen.
Max passes at the first corner but Russell fights back after going wheel to wheel and returns to second.
Amazing from newbie Silver Arrows.
Lap 22 – Leclerc stops in the lead
The Ferrari heads into the garage for its first pit stop of the race, but with a huge lead it rejoins the track ahead.
Meanwhile, Max is still shown swearing the radio to his team because his DRS won’t open despite pressing “more than 50 times”.
Max still has DRS issues
The Red Bull driver was unable to fight for pole yesterday after his DRS shutter failed to open on his last flying lap.
But although he claimed the system had been fixed before the race, the team radioed to tell him it was still not working.
The Dutchman is scary and blinding in his cockpit. He knows he will need the DRS if he is to have a chance of winning this race.
Leclerc takes the lead
With Max spun, the Ferrari driver built a 14-second lead over Perez who moved up to P2 after Russell chose new tyres.
However, we might see this gap close as Leclerc is yet to come in for a new set.
And now Verstappen explodes!
Almost a carbon copy of Sainz’s spin, the Red Bull driver skidded at the fourth corner.
He manages to rejoin the race but is demoted to P4 and these pebbles would not have done his tires any good.
Meanwhile, Russell is now 2nd with Perez 3rd.
Hamilton has had enough
After his terrible start, the Mercedes man radioed his team to abandon the car and save its engine.
That’s a staggering comment considering there was so much hope that they hit a milestone with their new upgrades this weekend.
Sainz spins on lap 7!
The Ferrari man lost grip and spun in the gravel, lucky he managed to get back on track but was demoted to 11th.
Nightmare for the Spaniard!
It’s his home race, the public would not have liked to see that.