The engine betrayed Charles Leclerc on lap 27 while he had a dozen seconds advantage over his pursuers after taking the lead from pole position: the Ferrari F1-75 seemed unstoppable for everyone, but the turbo took care of it (the second GP of life! ) to foot it. The Monegasque collects his first retirement and loses the lead in the drivers’ championship.
Max Verstappen wins the Spanish GP and becomes world leader with a six-point margin over Leclerc after an incredible and anachronistic race. The Dutchman did not have the pace to counter the pace of the red and paid a long at turn 4 on lap 9 that slipped him from second to fifth place.
The world champion did not disunite and rebuilt a victory, the fourth of the season and the 24th of his career. Max had to deal with a DRS that was going only at times and made him suffer in an attempt to attack George Russell who with Mercedes found himself (with full merit) in the lead after the Ferrari stop.
Max benefited from the team order that was given to Sergio Perez, sacrificed to the role of squire too soon (“… this is not fair”), but the feeling is that the orange would have passed it anyway having a I pass much faster.
The Mexican, who received the radio thanks from the “captain”, took second place and also the fastest lap which was taken away from Lewis Hamilton and which can be invaluable in the Constructors’ World Championship with Red Bull collecting a loot of 44 points against Ferrari’s 12 and also leads in this ranking with a margin of 26 points!
Milton Keynes’s team scored a brace in a race in which they seemed beaten and a sumptuous Verstappen drove over the problems (in addition to the DRS – replaced unnecessarily before the start – also saw the telemetry “go out”, leaving the engineers in the dark in the data collection) of the RB18. Reliability will be a key to this world championship that will not only be played on performance.
Ferrari brought a package of technical innovations to Spain and gave the illusion of resuming technical supremacy over Red Bull after having suffered it for two GPs and, instead, the Dutchman’s three-of-a-kind has arrived. A blow for the Scuderia also because today it would have been important to be able to count on the support of Carlos Sainz who, unfortunately, was insignificant.
The Spaniard called himself out of contention right from the start and then he was no longer in the game. More is expected from Madrid: the fourth place given in the final by Lewis Hamilton is very disappointing. Today it was his turn to take points away from Red Bulls: perhaps he felt too much pressure from the home race.
The podium went to George Russell who relaunched Mercedes’ prices: the Englishman was a lion in trying to contain Verstappen with braking at the limit at the end of the straight. The W13 improved and the Englishman gave an essay on his talent paid off by a podium conquered on the track. even if in the end the gap is always very large.
Behind Russell could have been Hamilton, but Lewis paid for a contact in the first lap caused by Kevin Magnussen: the puncture on the front left forced him to the pits and immediately after the seven-time world champion, who had also called for retirement for saving the engine, he built a comeback that had brought him back up to fourth place overall. Then came the order from the wall to slow down because the engine temperature was out of control and Hamilton had to give way to Sainz who was given an undeserved fourth place.
Valtteri Bottas’ race was splendid, placing Alfa Romeo in sixth place: the Finn paid for a team strategy that forced him to defend himself in the final. Excellent Esteban Ocon with the Alpine eighth ahead of Lando Norris. The McLaren driver had had an illness before the start, yet he fought like a lion in the race, preceding Fernando Alonso (Alpine) and Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) who finished the top 10 despite being the first of the lapped.
The rest doesn’t count in this incredible race. Guanyu Zhou stopped: the Chinese was stopped due to a problem with the Ferrari engine. It is the second that broke, after the failure of Nottas’ one in free practice. At Maranello they have to work on reliability if they want to fight for the world championship …