Max Verstappen wins in Barcelona after the abandonment of Charles Leclerc

Max Verstappen has reason to be lucky. The Dutch Red Bull driver has just chained, after the Grand Prix of Emilia-Romagna (Italy) and Miami, a third consecutive victory at the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday May 22. The reigning world champion is the new leader of the drivers’ standings, ahead of Charles Leclerc (Ferrari). But nothing was easy for him during this race.

Starting second on the grid behind his Ferrari rival, Verstappen first experienced an embarrassing episode, before vehemently attacking his team on his radio. During lap nine, the 24-year-old driver made a mistake by losing the rear of his car. The same mistake had been made two laps earlier by Carlos Sainz (Ferrari).

Verstappen instantly lost precious seconds to Leclerc and most of all had to line up behind George Russell (Mercedes) and his teammate Sergio Perez (Red Bull). Only after the latter let him back to third, on the orders of the Christian Horner-led team, did Verstappen experience the misadventures of DRS, that wing fitted to the rear of the car that opens to facilitate overtaking.

A calmer end of the race

For several laps the Dutchman struggled with the intermittent operation of the DRS. “Mad Max” then made a comeback, furiously lashing out at his engineers on the radio: “We can’t even operate our DRS. Is incredible ! » It was on the twenty-seventh lap that the scorching heat of Barcelona finally smiled on the world champion, when Charles Leclerc had to retire due to a mechanical problem.

All that was left was to pass Russell. Thing done thanks to a step through the boxes and the famous “undermined”. Verstappen only had to manage the end of the race to race to victory, ahead of Pérez (2nd) and Russell (3rd), before putting things into perspective after a race with twists and turns. All quiet this time.

“I had the wind at my back and I lost control at Turn 4. Then my DRS wasn’t working all the time, which made things difficult. We managed to get back to the front thanks to our strategy. It was a difficult start to the race, but a happy ending”Verstappen explained at the end of the race.

Vengeful Leclerc in Monaco?

Trailing 47 points in the drivers’ standings at the end of the Australian Grand Prix in early April, Max Verstappen managed to catch up by winning the next three races. He now has a six-point lead (110 points) over Leclerc (104 points), who was unlucky again, after a very good Grand Prix start that saw him take the lead in the race.

After five consecutive victories for Lewis Hamilton in Barcelona – the Briton managed to finish 5th after suffering a collision at the start of the race – Verstappen won his second race in Catalonia. The first dates back to 2016, when he became the youngest Formula 1 winner at 18 years and 227 days, time has passed since then and the Dutchman has established himself as the boss of the discipline.

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In a week, Verstappen will try to do it again this time at the Monaco circuit, a Grand Prix he won in 2021. The Dutchman will have to face a more determined Charles Leclerc than ever. The Monegasque is still looking for victory at home. After his misadventure last year during the Principality Grand Prix and the one he experienced today, the Ferrari driver will have scores to settle.

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