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Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix Review

Max Verstappen drove to a commanding victory at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona. 

Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen drove to a commanding victory at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona. 

It was the Red Bull driver’s third consecutive win and stretched his lead over teammate Sergio Perez to 53 points. The Mexican finished fourth after starting in 11th place. 

Mercedes’ Stellar Weekend

However, while Verstappen’s celebrations on the top step were predicted by the writer last week the weekend belonged to Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton led a second and third-place finish for the Brackley-based team in Spain. George Russell scythed his way through the field from 12th in the W14 to stand on the final podium step. 

Team principal Toto Wolff pointed towards Barcelona’s cool conditions on Sunday as the optimal window for his drivers to maximise the heavily updated car, F1.com reported. 

The 2021 constructors’ champions have struggled to be competitive in the ground effects area that was introduced last season. The W13 slumped to one victory in 2022 and the W14 struggled in the earlier part of 2023. 

Verstappen finished 24 seconds ahead of Hamilton, illustrating the might of the RB19 this season. 

Red Bull has won every race so far this season, and Verstappen is the overwhelming favourite to land his third title in a row. 

Mercedes has been embarrassed by Aston Martin, a team that uses Mercedes engines. Two-time champion Fernando Alonso has regularly beaten Hamilton and Russell. 

The AMR23 was significantly quicker than the W14 in pre-season testing and the opening seven races. Mercedes at times found themselves the fourth fastest car on the grid behind Ferrari. 

The Spanish Grand Prix proved to be the true litmus test for the Brackley-based team. The outfit finally added side pods to its car and several other changes. 

The update was originally planned to debut at Imola a fortnight ago, however, that race was canceled after deadly floods in the Romagna region. 

It was near impossible to judge the upgrades around Monte Carlo’s narrow streets last week, and thus all eyes fell on Barcelona.

According to the Guardian, Hamilton said the last time the car felt this competitive was in 2021. 

Both drivers looked relaxed in the post-race interviews, and Hamilton said: “We are learning more and more about the car. I am hoping that the car continues to be like it was this weekend. 

“I am hoping from here onwards we are in a good place. For sure, there will be some circuits where the car isn’t quite in the right window but hopefully, the next few races should suit us,” the seven-time champion said.

Best Of The Rest

There was little for the fans to celebrate in terms of a strong Spanish driver result as Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz finished fifth and Alonso in seventh. The latter’s teammate Lance Stroll drove well to finish sixth. 

Alpine duo Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly grabbed six points for the team thanks to finishing eighth and 10th while Chinese Alfa Romeo driver Guanyu Zhou was ninth.

The sport heads to Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix in two weeks. 

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Sean Parker is a motorsport journalist and sports content creator at The South African. He has worked for the country's premier motoring publications, and is a Formula 1 contributor to Bet.co.za, the Bet Central podcast, and Vision View Sports radio.

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