Leclerc and Verstappen got away just as well at the start, which you can’t say about Sainz. That gives up two places, to Russell and Perez. Everyone makes it through the first two corners wonderfully. Hamilton has a touché with Magnussen in the fifth corner, which gives the first a flat tire and the second ends up in the gravel. Both can continue after a visit to the pit lane. For Sainz, the misery only gets worse: on the seventh lap he loses control of his Ferrari, ends up in the gravel and falls back to eleventh place.
Verstappen also goes off, at exactly this place (turn 4), in exactly the same way. He re-enters the track at P4. According to the team, it is due to gusts of wind. In round 13, the first teams come in for fresh rubber. Verstappen and Russell also switch to the medium tyre.
Max is right behind the Brit, but has problems with a surly DRS system. Occasionally it opens, but often not or only briefly. It leads to a lot of understandable frustration for Verstappen. And to a beautiful fight between the two, which, however, takes time. Which in turn is in favor of Leclerc, who can take more and more distance.
Max in the lead
Until lap 27: then Leclerc’s Ferrari gives up the ghost. Russell takes the lead, with a blazing Verstappen at the back of his neck. Two laps later, Max switches to soft tires. That gives Perez the chance to start the hunt for Russell. In round 31 the time has come; thanks in part to a functioning DRS system, he passes Russell.
Five laps later, Verstappen, who is going very fast on his soft tires, is back in Russell’s box. He chooses eggs for his money and dives in for new tires. Perez also changes, putting Max in the lead. On lap 45 the Dutchman has built up enough lead to get back on track with fresh tires after Perez but before Russell. Perez lets Verstappen pass slightly sulking, and has to settle for a bonus soft tire change that gives him at least an extra point for the fastest lap.
Max no longer relinquishes the lead and takes over en passant the lead in the world championship. Perez is earned second, Russell third. A special mention deserves Lewis Hamilton, who still manages to finish fifth from the very back. Could even have been fourth if technical problems hadn’t put a spanner in the works, forcing him to let Sainz pass. So Mercedes is back again. But Max wins!
Result of the GP of Spain 2022