Max Verstappen never stops: the Dutchman made a solitary race in the Spanish GP, dominating from start to finish with the Red Bull RB19, Adrian Newey’s single-seater to the seventh straight victory. The two-time world champion signs the 40th victory in his career and comes just one success away from a certain Ayrton Senna.
The champion leaves nothing to his opponents, not even the crumb of the fastest lap, he decided to try it cold when his soft tires already had 9 laps, while his teammate, Sergio Perez, had caught him with the new soft. Verstappen brought the limit up to 1’13″330, after the pit wall had advised him not to exaggerate with the track limits as he had already seen a black-and-white penalty warning flag waving.
Max with 170 points in the drivers’ championship brings his advantage over his teammate to 53 points: the orange could retire twice and would remain at the top of the championship standings. The Mexican, fourth at the finish line, who started eleventh due to yet another mistake in qualifying, climbed up to fourth place, having to stay behind the two Mercedes. Where would the Milton Keynes team be without Super Max? It is legitimate to ask because Verstappen manages to make a big difference in any situation.
Behind the Dutchman is Lewis Hamilton followed at a safe distance by George Russell who, however, started from 12th place on the grid and put on a show to climb up to the third step of the podium. The seven-times world champion has rediscovered the smile of his best moments, because he has found a W14 that he is finally able to drive. The Brackley team has had confirmation of the leap in quality that the black arrow has made by equipping itself with bellies and new suspension. The changes worked and the star took second place in the Constructors’ championship, overtaking a disappointing Aston Martin, which was not at ease in Barcelona.
Mercedes has taken the right path even if the 24 seconds gap from Red Bull remains important. The trend reversal is evident to all, while Ferrari did not give the same sensation: Carlos Sainz, who started from the front row with the second fastest time, finished fifth at the checkered flag with a SF-23 Evo which is neither meat nor fish. The red again showed a difficult adaptation to the tyres, highlighting the usual defects, so much so that the more than willing Iberian finished 45 seconds behind the RB19.
The Spanish GP was supposed to be Ferrari’s comeback race and, instead, the changes resulting from more than a couple of months of work did not give great results. The Scuderia clings to being third force on the track with Charles Leclerc who didn’t even manage to finish in the points, but is still fourth in the team rankings.
The Monegasque started from the pitlane (like Logan Sargeant in the Williams) after his rear end was changed, but Charles also never had the pace to attempt a real comeback, so much so that he had to give up in the match by a tiny point with Pierre Gasly and Alpine which placed two cars in the top ten, also counting on the eighth place of a surly Esteban Ocon.
Ferrari must stop making claims: Fred Vasseur has ensured that the red will be a winner this season. Forget the predictions and organize the team to give the two drivers a competitive car for next year. Leclerc, after the second pit stop when he had asked for a set of softs and they fitted him with the hards, went radio silent. Barcelona had to give some answers and the verdict of rejection has arrived. We will need to take note of it.
The other big defeat in Montmelò is Aston Martin sixth with Lance Stroll for the first time ahead of Fernando Alonso. We were used to a “green” always on the podium and seeing her so detached makes us think. The Asturian didn’t find the best weekend in front of his fans, but the overtaking by Mercedes is very indicative. Something didn’t work on the AMR23 and we’ll see in Canada, where the Silverstone team will bring an important package of new features, if it was just a misstep, as we believe.
Stoic Guanyu Zhou with the Alfa Romeo: the Chinese found himself in battle with many opponents throughout the race and was able to defend the two points that move the Alfa standings.
It’s a pity about Lando Norris’s rear-end collision with Lewis Hamilton in the first corner: the Englishman broke his nose and had to return to the pits to replace him, wasting a lot of time. Then Lando kept an interesting pace, a sign that the MCL60 is growing.