Another solo race, dominated, which brings him the Grand Slam a Barcelona. After Saturday’s pole position, for Max Verstappen comes the 40th career victory, the fastest lap and the race conducted from start to finish. And with a hit in Canadabetween two Sundays, the Dutch could reach the eternal Ayrton Senna. Behind him the two Mercedes, renewed in wheelbase after the big update package introduced in Montecarlo: 2nd Lewis Hamilton (he hadn’t been back on the podium since Melbourne) and 3rd George Russell.
For the Ferrari not Aston Martin a difficult weekend: Sainz started 2nd, but he can’t do anything against the other two leaders, finishing 5th behind the Red Bull and Mercedes duo. In front of him the ‘Checo’ Sergio Perez (4th), comeback after the 11th place with which he started at the start. The top-10 closes: Stroll 6th, Alonso 7°, Ocon 8°, Zhou 9° e Gasly 10°. Leclerc he is 11th, unable in the finale to pass on the forehand l’Alpine. Not Maranello he will have to ask himself a fundamental question, given that the renewed bellies brought to the Montmeló on the SF-23 they didn’t work as hoped: whether to still believe it or abandon this year’s project and immediately jump on the 2024 car project.
The start of the race: Verstappen defends, Hamilton on Sainz – At the green light Verstappen manages to defend himself with medium rubber from the attack of Sainz (used reds). Stroll passes right away Hamilton and is 3rd, while Norris touches the English and has to go back to the pits to change the government finding himself last. In front of him Sargeant and Leclerc, who started from the pit. On the 8th lap Hamilton himself on the straight and Stroll passes with the Drs, finding himself third. Mercedes is the only one after Red Bull to do well with the Softs, as demonstrated by the performance of George Russell: first Alonso, then Ocon and he’s 5th. In front, instead, Verstappen stretches on 1’20”, before keeping the advantage. Sainz instead has graining on the front left and collapses in performance, so much so that Hamilton is behind him on lap 15. Thus, the Spaniard returns to the pits the following lap to mount the yellows, followed by Leclerc for the redheads.
The Mercedes pass, a single stop for Verstappen – Meanwhile, the performance is flying up front Mercedeswho also excel at tire degradation, before that Hamilton (on the 25th round) e Russell (26th), they go back to the pits to mount the middle school. Sainz goes back in front of both and is now 3rd behind a Verstappen and Perez. The Dutchman returns to the pits on lap 27 by entering the whites, opting for the single stop thanks to a reassuring advantage and a RB18 which consumes very little tyres. At the 28th it was Pérez’s turn. In the meantime, Hamilton overtakes Sainz at the end of the straight and is 2nd, while Russell, 4th, starts flying behind the Spaniard, whose performance is collapsing due to a degradation of the front right. Times lower and lower those of the British, who on lap 35, at the end of the straight, passes the Ferrari driver and is 3rd.
Pérez also passes, Sainz behind the Red Bull-Mercedes duo – With the podium now gone, Sainz he has to think about defending himself from Perez, who in the meantime is 5th, seven seconds behind, but travels in 1’19” against the 1’20” of the Spaniard. 55 clearly states it to his engineer, Riccardo Adami: “Find the best way to beat Checo”. With the Mexican just over two seconds behind, both Sainz and Leclerc are called from the pits in 42nd time to put the hard. The Spaniard is back in 6th behind Alonso, Leclerc is 14th and good at defending himself from De Vries’ attack, with the averages at temperature. With Alonso’s second pit to enter the hard ones, Sainz is back in 5th. Russell does the same on lap 46, to put on the reds. Five laps later, the same outcome also for Hamilton and Pérez, who come back 2nd (Russell is now five seconds behind) and 5th (-3” from Sainz). To pass the Ferrari driver, to the Mexican of the Red Bull it only takes a couple of laps.
Leclerc does not enter the top-10, the fastest lap for Verstappen – In the final, the one who prints the lowest chronological times is Pérez himself, who eats away at seconds and takes himself to a disadvantage 5″ from Russell. Verstappen, in front, takes the third warning for track limits and therefore the black and white flag. This means that with another infringement it would be a five-second penalty despite the 18” lead over Hamilton. But the two-time world champion is not interested in him, and on lap 62 he takes the fastest lap at 1’16”, taking it away from his teammate. Meanwhile Tsunoda suffers a five-second penalty for an unsafe maneuver on Zhou in the opening chicane. With an overtaking on Gasly (11th), Leclerc, 12th, would thus enter the points zone. But on the straight, despite the DRS, the Monegasque is unable to pass the French from the Alpine. This means 11th final place for the Ferrari driver, once again the star of a difficult race. For the rival Verstappenhowever, is another golden Sunday.