Max Verstappen wins Spanish Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton second and George Russell third… as Red Bull continues dominant start to 2023 season
- Max Verstappen continued his run with victory at the Spanish Grand Prix
- Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished second and third
- The result sees Red Bull continue their dominating start to the 2023 season
Max Verstappen took a dominant victory at the Spanish Grand Prix, with Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and George Russell second and third.
While the Dutchman’s 24-second victory – his fifth victory in seven races and Red Bull’s 17th in 18 – was predictable, the Silver Arrows’ semi-resurgence was not a foregone conclusion when the race started under cloudy skies in Barcelona.
They weren’t sure what to think of their upgrade package and had wavered over the weekend in their assessment of it. But it worked well enough to make them the second-best exposed team, and by a reasonable margin.
In Hamilton’s case, he moved from fourth on the grid to second – passing Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz on fresher rubber on lap 28 of 66. He had already swept 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 ran through Sainz, on lap 35 for third, eight seconds behind his team-mate.
Max Verstappen claimed victory for Red Bull at the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday
The 25-year-old was joined on the podium by Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and George Russell
“Good job,” Russell said over the radio by race engineer Marcus Dudley. ‘Just solid?’ asked Russell, who had previously passed Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon.
Team principal Toto Wolff came on the radio to raise the level of praise: “It was pretty good.”
Russell had a weird turn when he reported rain at turn 5. It turned out it wasn’t, as he later asked: “Did anyone other reports rain. I think it’s the sweat from inside my helmet,” to which Dudley replied, “Looks like it’s just that you’re reporting rain. I suspect it might be sweat.
The improvement in Mercedes’ fortunes comes after a turbulent season of worry and overhaul. They have now abandoned the basic concept of the car that got off to such a bad start in Bahrain and believe they now have a benchmark from which they can stably work.
Their two-three was all but confirmed when second-placed Red Bull Sergio Perez took part in what was uniformly a two-stop run. Perez, who started 11th, finished fourth.
Russell held off a late push from Sergio Perez to secure his first podium of the season
Verstappen’s Barcelona win extends Red Bull’s unbeaten start to campaign
Verstappen’s landslide victory was the 40th of his career, leaving the 25-year-old one shy of Ayrton Senna’s tally. His lead over Perez is 53 points heading into the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal in a week on Sunday.
Verstappen received a black-and-white flag warning for exceeding track limits. One more transgression and you’re out. He defied orders and peril by setting the fastest lap near the end. Which was a very Verstappen kind of thing to do.
It was a bad day for Ferrari. Sainz went well off the line – and then nothing to cheer them on, as he finished fifth. His teammate Charles Leclerc, who started second from last after a poor qualifying performance from himself and the team, finished in a modest 11th place.
Disappointment for the crowded stands as national favorite Alonso endured a rare off-weekend. He finished seventh for Aston Martin, one place behind teammate Stroll.
Lando Norris started third but crashed into his McLaren at 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.