Formula One World Championship, Spanish Grand Prix, 4 June 2023, Barcelona. Dutchman Max Verstappen from the Red Bull team rejoices at the victory. On the left, the second British Lewis Hamilton from the Mercedes stable.
Barcelona – Max Verstappen dominated the Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix and consolidated his leading position in the world championship standings. In Barcelona, the Dutch pilot of Red Bull repeated last year's championship ahead of seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and another driver of the Mercedes team, George Russell.
Verstappen claimed his 40th career victory and is just one away from the legendary Brazilian Ayrton Senna, who is fifth in the all-time record. The 25-year-old Dutchman won for the fifth time in the season and has yet to finish worse than second.
He absolutely dominated in the seventh competition weekend. He won all three practice sessions, qualifying and style start – finish and race. In addition, he also scored a bonus point for the fastest lap in the race, which he drove at the end already under the threat of a penalty for repeated departures from the track. He could afford the penalty, he crossed the finish line with almost half a minute lead. “It's an absolute pleasure to race with a car like this. And to win here again is unbelievable. Me and the team have had a great weekend, so hopefully it will continue,” Verstappen rejoiced.
While Red Bull dominated every race of the season, Mercedes enjoyed a double podium for the first time this year, and six-time Barcelona winner Hamilton equaled the season's best from Australia. “A result like this…, hats off to the team. The Red Bulls are still a bit ahead of us, but we are on their trail. If we catch up to them by the end of the year, it will be great,” said Hamilton. “I'm a little surprised. From twelfth place to third, that's a signal for the future,” added Russell after his best finish of the season.
After the start, Verstappen defended the first place in front of the attacking Carlos Sainz, who for a moment found himself a little bit in the lead, but soon things were going according to his notes. Behind them, Lando Norris, starting from the second row, came into contact with Hamilton, and the first-named McLaren pilot had to go to the pits with a damaged front pressure wing after a promising third place in qualifying. The stop took him over 17 seconds and he had hopes of a good result; finished seventeenth.
While the Dutch sovereign then fearlessly headed for the third Barcelona victory after 2016 and 2022, Sainz was overtaken by Hamilton after a third of the race, to the displeasure of the audience. And as soon as the Grand Prix moved into the second half, the Ferrari pilot was left behind by Russell, who was making up for Saturday's failure in qualifying after the accident with Hamilton. In the end, the second driver of Red Bull, Sergio Pérez, also got ahead of the Spaniard, who finished fourth from the eleventh position at the start, after missing the qualifying final on Saturday after a “trip” off the track.
Even the biggest idol of the Spanish public, Fernando Alonso, was far from successful. The Aston Martin driver could not for a moment think about winning an F1 race after ten years. The last time he did it was in Barcelona, and already after the ninth place in Saturday's qualifying with a loss of more than a second to Verstappen, it was clear that he would not extend the number of 32 triumphs. In the end, the 41-year-old ex-world champion had to settle for seventh place on his home track and the worst result of the season.
Sainz's teammate and world vice-champion Charles Leclerc finished without a point. After starting from the pit lane, he finished eleventh after the penultimate place in qualifying.
Spanish Grand Prix, Formula 1 World Championship race in Barcelona:
1. Verstappen (Netherlands/Red Bull) 1:27:57.940, 2. Hamilton -24.090, 3. Russell (both Brit./Mercedes) -32.389, 4. Pérez (Mex./Red Bull) -35.812, 5. Sainz ( Sp./Ferrari) -45.698, 6. Stroll (Kan./Aston Martin) -1:03.320.
Fastest lap: Verstappen.
< strong>Current standings of the WC (after 7 of 23 races): 1. Verstappen 170, 2. Pérez 117, 3. Alonso (Sp./Aston Martin) 93, 4. Hamilton 87, 5. Russell 65, 6 .Sainz 58.
Constructors' Cup: 1. Red Bull 287, 2. Mercedes 152, 3. Aston Martin 134, 4. Ferrari 100, 5. Alpine 40, 6. McLaren 17, 7. Haas 8, 8. Alfa Romeo 8, 9. AlphaTauri 2, 10. Williams 1.