Max Verstappen takes the Spanish Grand Prix and the championship lead after Charles Leclerc retires

Max Verstappen takes the Spanish Grand Prix and the championship lead after Charles Leclerc retires

It took a crazy race to set the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on fire. In front of more than 100,000 white-hot spectators, Max Verstappen (Red Bull) won the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday May 22 in Barcelona after an eventful race. The Dutchman notably took advantage of the retirement of Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) just before the halfway point, to claim a fourth victory this season, more than any other driver. Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) and George Russell (Mercedes) complete the podium. With 25 more points in his pocket, coupled with zero points from Leclerc, Verstappen took the opportunity to recover the lead in the drivers’ championship.

Charles Leclerc lost everything on the track of the Barcelona circuit. Starting from pole position, the Monegasque was nevertheless comfortably at the head of the race halfway through the event. But on lap 27, the Ferrari driver’s single-seater inexplicably lost power, forcing him to pit and retire. While the Scuderia is praised for the solidity of its car, Charles Leclerc experienced its first major reliability problem, and its first retirement since the start of the season.

A setback arrived at the worst time, since his rival at the head of the championship Max Verstappen, big winner of the day, did not hesitate to take advantage of the opportunity. The Dutchman also came close to the correctional after leaving the track on the 9th lap. Back on the track, he spent much of the race stuck behind George Russell, who was showing good pace at the wheel of his Mercedes. But he was able to benefit from the help of Sergio Pérez, who took the lead in the pit stop game and who stepped aside to let him pass, to seek victory and the lead in the championship. The Mexican finished on the second step of the podium, with the point for the fastest lap in the race.

The race was difficult for the whole Ferrari clan, since Carlos Sainz, who nevertheless wanted to shine in front of his public, lost several positions at the start, before being guilty of a new error and leaving the track. . Demoted to 11th, he embarked on a crazy comeback (4th at the checkered flag) but failed to grab a podium which could have been within his reach.

Third on the box, for his second podium of the season, George Russell validated the return to form of Mercedes, which resumed its march forward. After 4th and 6th places in Miami, the German team places its two drivers in 3rd and 5th position in Catalonia. A happy ranking for Lewis Hamilton, victim of a puncture in the first corners after contact with Kevin Magnussen (Haas), who took his time patiently to gradually catch up.

On the French side, the two Alpine drivers Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso finished 7th and 9th respectively and won eight precious points for the French team. The results are more nuanced for Pierre Gasly, who clashed with Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) in the race. The Norman finished 13th on the finish line, driving an AlphaTauri that he still couldn’t control well.

Formula 1 now has an appointment on the mythical track of Monaco, from next weekend. The opportunity for Charles Leclerc, local of the stage, to revive in the streets of the city of his childhood.

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