Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen secured his fifth win of the season at the Spanish Grand Prix with a dominant effort– converting his pole position, leading every lap of the race and earning the fastest lap award.
Verstappen described driving the rapid RB19 as a “massive pleasure,” helping him pull a massive lead of about twenty-four seconds by time the checkered flag fell and focus primarily on protecting his tyres.
“To win here again feels incredible. It’s a massive pleasure to drive a car like this. It was important to try and keep the lead into turn one, it was quite tight. From there onwards it was about managing the tyres, I was able to create a big gap.”
The reigning World Champion said that he had some trouble with the hard compound tyre after his first stop, which ended up holding him back some on the pace front. This led him to change to the softs to take him to the end of the race.
“We went on to the hards but I didn’t seem to have much grip, I was sliding around quite a lot, the pace was okay but I couldn’t create more of a gap, so we switched to softs and then I just needed to bring it home.
“We’ve had another strong weekend and that’s of course what I like to see for the Team, hopefully we can keep this up throughout the year.”
“This weekend, in general, has been a step back” – Sergio Pérez
Team-mate Sergio Pérez’s race was not as straightforward as he would have liked, having to contend with a sub-optimal qualifying result for a second round in a row. Ultimately, he was able to climb up to fourth place from his starting position of eleventh.
Pérez felt that he and the team achieved the most that they could from outside the points, though they couldn’t crack the podium positions.
“I am disappointed with today, we have ultimately paid the price for a bad qualifying. We did have a good strategy but, looking at where we started from, there was only so much that we could do.”
Mercedes’ George Russell was in a similar position to Pérez, starting in twelfth, but made it up to third by gaining many places with an aggressive start. Pérez said that he would have had a better opportunity to get on the podium if he had done the same, but felt that the risk of ending his race with the lap one incident outweighed the potential reward.
“I think P3 was possible but, if we wanted more points, then I would have had to take more risks on lap one and potentially compromise my race. George went really deep on that first lap, gaining a lot of positions but we took it easier to ensure we had more of a clean start. Then we got stuck behind the Aston Martin and Fernando was quite hard to pass, so it meant I couldn’t progress through the field as quickly as we would have liked.”
Overall, Pérez said that there is much that they will need to improve upon going into the Canadian Grand Prix, but remains optimistic that they can turn things around after a disappointing double-header.
“This weekend, in general, has been a step back and we weren’t quite there, but there are plenty of things we can do better.
“All in all, we brought home twelve points today and I think, looking forward, Canada should be a strong race for us. Everything is pretty close right now so that will be an interesting one.”