Max Verstappen Wins Hard-Fought F1 Spanish GP, Leclerc DNF

Following sudden engine failure for Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen won the F1 Spanish Grand Prix.

byNico DeMattia| PUBLISHED May 22, 2022 11:51 AM
Max Verstappen Wins Hard-Fought F1 Spanish GP, Leclerc DNF

The 2022 F1 Spanish Grand Prix wasn't one to miss. There was drama and excitement from the very first turn of lap one. Ferrari's Charles Leclerc jumped out to an early lead, cutting off Red Bull's Max Verstappen going into turn one. In turn five, though, Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and Hass F1's Kevin Magnussen collided, damaging Hamilton's car and sending Magnussen into the gravel. By lap two, Hamilton had a puncture, forcing him to pit, where he swapped his medium tires for softs, which pushed him pack to P16.

Then, in lap six, Ferrari's Carlos Sainz spun on his own, heading into turn four, sending him into the gravel as well and pushing him to P11. Verstappen then suffered the same fate, spinning on his own while heading into turn four, and dropped from second to fourth place. It seemed that there were some odd winds messing with the cars in turn four, which is what caused both drivers to spin in similar fashion. Verstappen was then able to overtake his teammate Sergio Perez and Mercedes' George Russell for third place, but his DRS wasn't working.

After a pit for both Verstappen and Russell, Perez took second place, behind as very distant Charles Leclerc, who was absolutely cruising to what looked like an easy win. Then, following a quick pit stop for fresh tires, Leclerc suffered engine failure, retiring him from the race.

Following Leclerc's sudden retirement, Verstappen and Russell battled for first but, after Verstappen decided to pit for a fresh set of soft tires, Russell took the lead. However, Perez quickly overtook, taking the lead for team Red Bull. Shortly after, Verstappen overtook Russell, to give Red Bull a 1-2 placement.

Lewis Hamilton, whose car seemed to have had its bouncing issues from previous weeks solved, impressively managed to make his way from P16, following the earlier collision with Magnussen, all the way to fourth place. The final laps of the Spanish GP saw team Red Bull at 1-2, with Mercedes at 3-4, and Sergio Perez leading. Until both Mercedes cars suffered cooling issues and both drivers were told over the radio to just lift and coast into corners, so as to not risk a DNF. That allowed Carlos Sainz to overtake Hamilton for fourth place but, thankfully for Mercedes, Russell was able to hang onto third.

It was looking like Sergio Perez would win the Spanish GP, with his teammate Max Verstappen in second, but Perez was instructed by the team to let Verstappen pass, giving him the win. In the end, team Red Bull took first and second, with Mercedes' George Russell taking third.

Due to Leclerc's sudden retirement and Verstappen winning in Spain, team Red Bull is now ahead of Ferrari in the driver's championship and Verstappen is ahead of Leclerc in the driver's championship. However, Charles Leclerc seemed surprisingly optimistic after the race.

"In those moments, I believe there's nothing else I can do apart from looking at the positives and there are plenty this weekend." he told Sky Sports. "There's the qualifying pace, the race pace and, most importantly, the tire management. That has been a weakness in the last few races."

Despite the issues, Leclerc is looking on the bright side and ready for next week's Monaco GP. "I think we've definitely found something this weekend on that, so it gives me the confidence for the rest of the season."

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