Max Verstappen continued his run of winning every race he’s finished so far this season, after taking a dramatic victory at the Spanish Grand Prix. The Dutchman incredibly now leads the championship as well, after Charles Leclerc was forced into retirement.
Verstappen remained in second for the opening stages of the race, keeping Leclerc within distance. However, Verstappen suddenly tumbled to the the bottom end of the top five, the Dutchman went off at Turn 4 after being caught by a huge gust of wind that unsettled his RB18.
The reigning World Champion got his head down, and was quickly on the back of George Russell who was in second. The battle for second soon became the battle for the lead, after Leclerc pulled into the pits after suffering a power unit issue. Verstappen was met by his own gremlins, as his DRS malfunctioned yet again, resulting in a furious Dutchman.
Verstappen failed to find his way past Russell, who defended brilliantly. Instead, Oracle Red Bull Racing opted to put Verstappen on a different strategy. Verstappen pitted onto a set of soft tyres and hunted Russell back down, before taking the race lead when the British driver pitted again. Verstappen had the pace to open up a gap, pit again, then make his way past Sergio Pérez late on to claim his fourth victory of the season.
Verstappen was over the moon with his victory, in what was an exciting Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya.
“It’s great to finish the race today alongside Checo with a first and second place, it was a difficult beginning but a good end! I went off in turn four, I completely lost the rear and they said on Team radio that it was a big gust of wind. I lost a few positions through that and as soon as I wanted to attack, my DRS stopped working. It was upsetting at the time but then I calmed myself down and focussed on the bigger picture.
“It was a tough battle with George Russell, especially without the DRS, I didn’t want to take too much of a risk as we were fighting for the lead, I had to be patient. As for the DRS, I’m not sure why there’s an issue, we’ll look into it and at the end of the day nothing was lost. We are on a good trajectory and we can be proud of that as a Team, but as you can see, some things are fragile and we need to keep on working hard, we have to be on top of everything.”
“The team momentum couldn’t be any better” – Sergio Pérez
Pérez rounded-off a Red Bull 1-2, as the Austrian side took the lead in the Constructors’ championship. The Mexican had a very strong race having started fifth, however, like his team-mate Pérez struggled to get past Russell.
Eventually Pérez found his way past after being on fresher tyres, before letting his team-mate past late on after some controversial team-orders. Pérez was asked to let Verstappen past twice during the race. The first came after Verstappen ran into the gravel early on, the second came towards the end of the race when the team asked the Mexican to give up the race lead.
Pérez questioned the decision, before following the team’s instructions. The Red Bull driver informed his team though that a discussion was needed to be had.
Pérez was pleased with the team result, and is hopeful they can take their momentum into Monaco.
“It’s a great result, we are leading the Constructors Championship so, although I obviously want to win, I have to be realistic and I am happy with the Team result. My frustration on the radio was in the heat of the moment but I need to speak with the Team to understand a few bits from the race. Sometimes when you are driving you can’t get the full picture, so it is a normal thing to debrief things to understand the race.
“The Team momentum couldn’t be any better here, it is a great Team and we are very united. It wasn’t about Team orders today, what really changed my race was going onto different tyre strategies and that worked better for Max and, at the end of the day, the Team because we managed to both get past George. I could have won today but making the two-stop work was difficult and it turned out that the three-stop was the better strategy.
“I think we had a very strong race today, the race pace and management from us was great today and it was important not to make mistakes. Hopefully we continue this momentum on to Monaco and are strong next weekend too.”