Reliability was the story of the Formula 1 weekend at the Spanish Grand Prix. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc won pole on Saturday, with his fastest Q3 lap being three-tenths of a second quicker than Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. Verstappen aborted his final qualifying run and reported a power issue during the session, but afterward, the team stated his DRS failed to open.
At the race start, the leading duo filed through the first corner in starting order. Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz had a poor start from third and was overtaken by both Mercedes’ George Russell and Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez.
Further back, Lewis Hamilton and Kevin Magnussen made contact through the long, sweeping Turn 3 right-hander. Magnussen’s Haas got sent off into the gravel trap, and a tire on Hamilton’s Mercedes was punctured. Both drivers were able to continue, but the extra pit stops relegated them to the back of the field. Hamilton was able to fight his way back up to fifth by the finish.
Turn 4 also proved to catch a few drivers out early during the race. On Lap 7 of 66, Sainz spun out into the gravel after his rear wheels broke traction on corner entry. On Lap 9, Verstappen ventured out into the same gravel trap while saving his Red Bull from a spin. The reigning world champion’s spin from second place seemingly secured the race win for Leclerc, but the situation would take a dramatic turn.
On Lap 27, Charles Leclerc’s day ended. His Ferrari had a power unit failure, and he was forced to retire from the race. The battle between Russell and Verstappen for second was now for the race lead. Verstappen was virtually trapped behind the Mercedes driver as his Red Bull’s DRS failed to open sporadically. Red Bull Racing opted to move both their driver to a three-stop strategy. Verstappen pitted to allow Pérez with a functioning DRS to pass Russell and take the lead.
Sergio Pérez gave Verstappen the lead after all three stops to maximize points for Red Bull in the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships. They came across the line first and second under no pressure as George Russell finished a distant third. Carlos Sainz salvaged a fourth place finish during the closing laps after the Mercedes informed their drivers to nurse the cars and avoid a potential mechanical failure.
- Max Verstappen
- Sergio Pérez
- George Russell
- Carlos Sainz
- Lewis Hamilton
- Valtteri Bottas
- Esteban Ocon
- Lando Norris
- Fernando Alonso
- Yuki Tsunoda
Max Verstappen takes the lead in the World Drivers’ Championship by six points over Charles Leclerc. Formula One will return next week for the Monaco Grand Prix.