Max Verstappen won an action-packed 2022 Spanish Grand Prix as pole-sitter Charles Leclerc retired from a comfortable lead. Sergio Perez took second place to secure Red Bull’s second one-two of the season, as George Russell finished third for Mercedes, having been involved in an epic bout with eventual winner Verstappen.
Soaring temperatures weren’t the only problem on Sunday; huge gusts into Turn 4 caused both Carlos Sainz and Verstappen to go off track and drop down the order early on. That left Leclerc with a comfortable lead and a free pit stop by Lap 22, and it seemed a straightforward victory for Ferrari – until Leclerc’s engine gave way on Lap 27.
Before that, Russell and Verstappen (whose DRS was malfunctioning) had sparred – going wheel-to-wheel on numerous breath-taking occasions – for P2. Now they were battling for the lead. So Verstappen pitted a second time from mediums back to softs on Lap 29 and caught up to Russell’s tail by Lap 37, when Russell swapped for another set of mediums. Sergio Perez was briefly in the lead now – but pitted soon after for a new set of mediums.
Covering off Perez’s alternate strategy and tyre life advantage, Verstappen too was pitted for softs on Lap 45, a new set of mediums now giving him a prime opportunity at prying the lead off Perez. Verstappen was allowed past and eventually won by 13 seconds; Perez took P2 and fastest lap having stopped for softs late on.
FORMULA 1 PIRELLI GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA 2022
|1 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing||1:37:20.475||25|
|2 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing||+13.072s||19|
|3 George RUSSELL Mercedes||+32.927s||15|
|4 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari||+45.208s||12|
|5 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes||+54.534s||10|
Russell finished third despite having fended off Verstappen’s threats for much of the race, while Sainz finished fourth despite having dropped outside the top 10 early on after his Turn 4 spin. Hamilton passed Sainz for P4 with a brilliant move at Turn 1 with five laps left, but then dropped to P5 having been told to lift off by his Mercedes team.
Valtteri Bottas’s soft-medium-medium strategy saw him lose out to soft-tyred finishers Sainz and Hamilton, the Finn taking a still-solid P6 finish for Alfa Romeo. In seventh was Esteban Ocon, up five places for Alpine with two soft-tyred stints. Lando Norris mirrored the Frenchman’s strategy but finished a few seconds behind in P8 from P11 for McLaren. Alpine’s Fernando Alonso (from the back of the grid) and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda (from P13) rounded out the top 10 on the same soft-medium-soft-soft gambit.
Sebastian Vettel’s two-stop strategy saw him finish 11th for Aston Martin, 14th-placed Mick Schumacher facing a similar fate as he dropped out of the points late on for Haas with Daniel Ricciardo and Pierre Gasly promoted to P12 and P13 respectively.
Categories: Formula 1, Race Recap
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