Max Verstappen WINS the Spanish Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton second

Max Verstappen WINS the Spanish Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton second and George Russell third… as Red Bull continue their dominant start to the 2023 season

  • Max Verstappen continued run with victory at the Spanish Grand Prix
  • Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished second and third
  • Result sees Red Bull continue their dominant start to the 2023 season 

Max Verstappen took a dominant victory at the Spanish Grand Prix, with Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and George Russell second and third.

While the Dutchman’s win by 24 seconds – his fifth victory in seven races and Red Bull’s 17th in 18 – was predictable, the semi-resurgence of the Silver Arrows was hardly an inevitability when the race started under cloudy skies in Barcelona.

They did not know what to make of their upgrade package and had oscillated over the weekend in their appraisal of it. But it worked well enough to turn them into the second best team on display, and by some reasonable margin.

In Hamilton’s case, he moved from fourth on the grid to finish runner-up – passing Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz on fresher rubber on lap 28 of 66. He had already swept through Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll.

Russell, who started 12th after a disappointing qualifying session in which he hit Hamilton on the straight at 210mph, also zipped through Sainz, on lap 35 for third place, eight seconds behind his team-mate.

Max Verstappen cruised to victory for Red Bull at the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday

25-year-old was joined on the podium by Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and George Russell

‘Solid work,’ Russell was told over the radio by race engineer Marcus Dudley. ‘Just solid?’ asked Russell, who had earlier passed Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon.

Team principal Toto Wolff came on the radio to up the level of praise: ‘It was pretty good.’

Russell did have one queer turn when he reported rain at Turn 5. It turned out not to be the case, as he later asked: ‘Is anyone else reporting rain. I think it’s the sweat from inside my helmet,’ to which Dudley responded: ‘Sounds like it’s just you reporting rain. I suspect it might be sweat.’

The upturn in Mercedes’ fortunes comes after a turbulent season of worry and redesign. They have now ditched the basic concept of the car that started out in Bahrain so poorly and believe they now have a benchmark from which they can work stably.

Their two-three was all but confirmed when Sergio Perez, in the second Red Bull, pitted in what was uniformly a two-stop race. Perez, who started 11th, finished fourth.

Russell held off a late surge from Sergio Perez to secure his first podium finish of the season 

Victory for Verstappen in Barcelona continues Red Bull’s unbeaten start to the campaign

Verstappen’s crushing win was the 40th of his career, leaving him, aged 25, one short of Ayrton Senna’s total. His lead over Perez stands at 53 points heading towards the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal a week on Sunday.

Verstappen was given a black-and-white flag warning for exceeding track limits. One more transgression and you’re out. He defied orders and peril by banging in the fastest lap close to the end. Which was a very Verstappen kind of thing to do.

It was a poor day for Ferrari. Sainz got away well off the line – and then nothing to cheer them, as he finished fifth. His team-mate Charles Leclerc, started last-but-one after a dismal qualifying performance by him and the team and finished a lowly 11th.

Disappointment for the packed grandstands as national favourite Alonso endured a rare off-weekend. He finished seventh for Aston Martin, a place behind team-mate Stroll.

Lando Norris started third but biffed his McLaren into Hamilton on the opening lap and damaged his car. He finished 17th, a shame for him on a day that started with so much promise.

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