Verstappen takes controlled win at the Spanish Grand Prix

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Spain, Circuit de Catalunyaes

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen strengthened his championship lead at Barcelona by taking his fourth victory of the 2023 F1 season with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell completing the podium at the Spanish Grand Prix. F1Technical's Balázs Szabó reports from Barcelona.

After securing his first pole position at Barcelona, Max Verstappen retained his lead at the start from Carlos Sainz with Lewis Hamilton improving his starting position from P4 to P3.

However, Hamilton had contact with Norris on the first lap which forced the McLaren racer to dive into the pits for a new front wing and the incident saw Hamilton lose a spot to Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll.

However, the seven-time world champion could quickly regain the place, demonstrating impressive race pace with his upgraded Mercedes W14.

In the meantime, Sergio Perez and George Russell were looking to recover from their lowly grid position. On Lap 6, the Briton made the most of DRS to get by home hero Fernando Alonso at Turn 1. The next lap saw Perez go around the outside of Zhou Guanyu, moving up into eighth.

Verstappen constantly built up his lead from Sainz with the margin between the Dutchman and the Spaniard growing to 5.3s by Lap 11. In the meantime, Hamilton closed in on the Ferrari driver, running only 1.6s behind the Madrid-born driver.

While Sainz needed to pit for fresh tyres, Hamilton could extend his opening stint until Lap 25 when he came in for a fresh set of medium. Russell received the same set of tyres on the next lap with Verstappen also completing his first tyre swap.

While the late stop saw Hamilton rejoin the track behind Sainz, he could quickly close in on the Spaniard and overtake him while his teammate Russell went by Stroll.

On Lap 30, the order was Verstappen with Hamilton, Sainz, Russell, Stroll, Ocon, Tsunoda, Alonso, Perez and Zhou completing the top ten.

Using his fresh hards, Perez got past Alonso on the next lap, improving his position to eighth. Four laps later, Russell stormed past Sainz into Turn 1 for P3.

In the meantime, Verstappen controlled the race, extending his lead from Hamilton to 15.7s, who had a margin of 9.7s from his teammate Russell.

The next lap saw Sainz dive into the pits for a tyre change with Ferrari giving the Spaniard a new set of mediums. After starting from the pits, his teammate was looking to recover, and he went also in for his last tyre change. There was misunderstanding at the Ferrari box though as Leclerc wished a new set of softs and he received hards instead.

With 20 laps to go, Alonso pitted for a new set of Hard compound, but he only rejoined down in P10. Russell also pitted with Mercedes mounting softs onto the upgraded W14.

Lap 51 saw the other Mercedes driver come in with Hamilton also receiving the red-walled C3 compound. Perez also pitted shortly afterwards with the Mexican rejoining the action in P5 behind Sainz.

Alonso was eager to improve his position, and closed in on Esteban Ocon. Despite a very aggressive defence from the Frenchman, the Spaniard stormed past the Alpine racer.

With only 13 laps to go, Verstappen came in for his last stop, ending the race on the soft compound. In the meantime, his teammate Perez breezed past Sainz into Turn 1 for fourth with the Mexican putting Russell in his sights.

Although Perez was catching Russell, he was unable to get into DRS range and had to settle for P4.

Verstappen went for the fastest lap of the race in the dying minutes of the grand prix, but he then eased off a little bit to chalk up his fifth win of the 2023 season. With his third triumph at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Verstappen moved 53 points clear of nearest rival Perez in the race for the drivers’ title.

Mercedes demonstrated the improved race pace of their heavily upgraded W14 with Hamilton and Russell taking second and third with the Anglo-German outfit moving 18 points clear of third-placed Aston Martin in the Teams' Championship.

Despite starting his home race from P2, Sainz had to settle for P5, followed by the Aston Martin duo of Stroll and Alonso. Esteban Ocon scored points with a P8 finish after his Monaco podium with Zhou Guanyu and Pierre Gasly completing the top ten.

Leclerc was unable to secure a point after his disastrous qualifying session that led to a Q1 exit yesterday, meaning that he has only scored in four of the seven grands prix so far in 2023.


11Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt661:27:57.9400
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes66+24.090s0
363George RussellMercedes66+32.389s0
411Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt66+35.812s0
555Carlos SainzFerrari66+45.698s0
618Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes66+63.320s0
714Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes66+64.127s0
831Esteban OconAlpine Renault66+69.242s0
924Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari66+71.878s0
1010Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault66+73.530s0
1116Charles LeclercFerrari66+74.419s0
1222Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Honda Rbpt66+75.416s0
1381Oscar PiastriMclaren Mercedes65+1 lap0
1421Nyck De VriesAlphatauri Honda Rbpt65+1 lap0
1527Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari65+1 lap0
1623Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes65+1 lap0
174Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes65+1 lap0
1820Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari65+1 lap0
1977Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari65+1 lap0
202Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes65+1 lap0