SPAIN: Max Verstappen showcased his dominance once again as he secured his fifth victory of the 2023 season at the Spanish Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver cruised to an unchallenged win, leaving the much-improved Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell to settle for second and third place, respectively.
Starting from pole position, Verstappen maintained his lead from start to finish, securing the race victory and valuable championship points.
With this win, Verstappen extended his lead over his teammate Sergio Perez to a staggering 53 points, further solidifying his position at the top of the standings.
The race started with a tense battle between Verstappen and Carlos Sainz as they navigated through Turn 1.
However, Sainz couldn’t match Verstappen’s pace, and the Red Bull driver quickly pulled away.
Meanwhile, Hamilton and Norris came together at Turn 2, forcing Norris to pit for a new front wing.
Verstappen continued to increase his lead as the race progressed, while Russell impressed with a series of overtakes.
The midfield provided plenty of excitement with numerous passing manoeuvres from drivers like Nico Hulkenberg, Yuki Tsunoda, and Oscar Piastri.
The strategy came into play as Ferrari debated pit stops, with Sainz eventually coming in for medium tires.
Hamilton stayed out longer but eventually made his pitstop, rejoining the race behind Sainz. Russell also pitted, momentarily dropping to sixth place before quickly making up the lost ground to challenge Sainz for third.
In the race’s latter stages, the top four drivers opted for soft tires, with Verstappen maintaining a commanding lead over Hamilton.
Ultimately, Verstappen avoided penalties after receiving a blank and white flag for exceeding track limits and secured a comfortable victory, crossing the finish line 24 seconds ahead of Hamilton.
Russell’s impressive performance earned him his first podium finish of the season, with Perez taking fourth place.
Sainz, Stroll, and Alonso secured respectable finishes behind the leading trio, while Ocon, Zhou Guanyu, and Gasly completed the points-scoring positions.
Tsunoda received a five-second time penalty for forcing Zhou off track, which marred his incredible race en route to a ninth-place finish.
Verstappen’s dominant display at the Spanish Grand Prix further cements his position as the favourite for the championship.
As the Formula 1 season progresses, all eyes will be on Verstappen and whether he can maintain his remarkable form.