2022 Formula 1 Grand Prix of Spain: Max Verstappen wins, and is back in the driver’s seat for the title

2022 Formula 1 Grand Prix of Spain: Max Verstappen wins, and is back in the driver’s seat for the title

Published May 22, 2022
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For all the talk of Max Verstappen and Red Bull’s issues with the Drag Reduction System during qualifying, and whether it would cause a problem during the race, it was the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc that suffered an issue, knocking him out of the Grand Prix of Spain and handing Red Bull a 1-2 finish at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with Verstappen at the top of the podium for the fourth time this season.

Leclerc was racing by himself for most of the race and in total control when he suddenly screamed “no-no-no” into his radio.

“What happened?” his crew asked.

“No power,” he replied. 

The DNF was the second on the season for Leclerc, and combined with Verstappen’s win, dropped him out of the top spot of the championship table for the first time this season, and lifted the defending series champion Verstappen to the No. 1 spot and Red Bull into the lead for the Constructor’s Cup.

That doesn’t mean it was all easy sailing for the Flying Dutchman, as the DRS was indeed an issue for him, either through a mechanical issue or from him constantly mashing on the button, asking it to work. It kept him locked behind George Russell for the opening third of the race until Red Bull used strategy and pit stops to accomplish what they couldn’t on the track.

Putting Verstappen and teammate Sergio Perez on different strategies forced Mercedes to decide which one they should cover, and in the end Russell would settle for third place. Teammate Lewis Hamilton, who was ready to park the car after an opening lap issue with Kevin Magnussen dropped him down the field, ended up in fifth after being convinced to stay out and give it a go.

“The DRS was not always working, but we made it work,” Verstappen said at the finish. “We managed it through strategy. I tried to stay focused. I’m happy with the win and happy for [Perez]. At the end we managed to get it.”

Perez radioed his crew that he wasn’t happy being asked to pull over to let Verstappen go through, but he couldn’t argue with the team result, even if he said he would “talk about things” with the team afterward.

Leclerc was philosophical in the end, preferring to view the positives rather than the negatives.

“I don’t know what happened,” he said.  “There were no indications. It just broke.

“But there are plenty of positives from this weekend. Qualifying pace. Race pace. Time management, which has been a big issue for us. We have confidence for the rest of the season.”

He will carry that confidence, and perhaps a few lingering doubts, to the Grand Prix of Monaco, his home race, on May 29.

Ferrari: This was Leclerc’s race to lose. He was clearly the fastest in the field and despite him saying he will hold on to the good things that happened in the race and not the bad, it still must leave him with a bitter feeling. Carlos Sainz Jr. once again just seems to find himself in bad situations. He also had a fast car, as after spinning he dropped down to 11th, but through race strategy he made it to fourth, capturing valuable manufacturer’s points for the team.

Haas: They were the only team that did not bring any bodywork or changes to the car after Miami, and it showed. Monaco will likely see a bit of a return to form as it is a handling track, but it’s clear they will need some wind tunnel work done to catch the middle of the pack, at least.

Mercedes: The team’s best outing, by far, and it let everyone in the paddock know that they will not simply go quietly into the night. Russell and Verstappen’s tussle in the opening third of the race was fantastic and gave proof that the young British driver can turn wheels with the best in the series and come out ahead. Hamilton’s fifth-place finish is a testament to grinding it out and not giving up.

Red Bull Racing: Another 1-2 punch in the title chase delivered by Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. Perhaps there are worries in that garage about Perez being disgruntled about being told to let Verstappen pass during the race, but as team principal Christian Horner said afterward, what driver wouldn’t be upset to be told to allow another to pass? If there is an issue, it is with Perez and the team, not Verstappen, as the two seem to get along just fine.

Hamilton goes the long way around Sainz as the pair battle for P4 #SpanishGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/a9uTIOnC2n

First time @Max33Verstappen has led this season 👀#SpanishGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/vWG1GZduJt

RACE REPORT: Verstappen leads Red Bull 1-2 after Leclerc retires #SpanishGP #F1 https://t.co/OCqtUlATaz

A dramatic #SpanishGP ends with @Max33Verstappen back on the top step of the podium! 🏆🇪🇸Here’s how the @redbullracing driver survived an early off to fight back and win: https://t.co/WU9Iwo7eXg#F1 #Fit4F1 #Formula1 #Pirelli #Pirelli150 @F1

Carrera complicada para @Carlossainz55 P4 al final. Ánimos! #F1 #SpanishGP pic.twitter.com/7jFS3ToD1K

Started: P20Finished: P9What an effort from @alo_oficial 💪#SpanishGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/cbJ178THrb

Heartbreak for Charles 💔#SpanishGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/QMDJehf043

CARRERÓN DE DON FERNANDO ALONSO!De último a P9! 👏👏👏 #F1 #SpanishGP pic.twitter.com/Y42ZHwVPQf

George ⚔️ Max A cracking mini-battle 🍿#SpanishGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/MIjrc5UM2r

The #F1 #SpanishGP 2022! 😎 pic.twitter.com/IjdpifdCkl

Plenty of pit-stop action out there during the race. A mixture of hot conditions and dramatic moments played havoc with the strategy. Here’s how the #Fit4F1 teams coped! 👇👇#F1 #SpanishGP 🇪🇸 #Formula1 #Pirelli #Pirelli150 @F1 pic.twitter.com/SVAsuoGkoT

RACE CLASSIFICATION 👀Red Bull’s second 1-2 in three races 👏#SpanishGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/pcXnQsutM4

The #F1 #SpanishGP 2022 podium! 👏👏👏🥇 @Max33Verstappen (@redbullracing)🥈 @SChecoPerez (@redbullracing)🥉 @GeorgeRussell63 (@MercedesAMGF1) pic.twitter.com/n712VZ8t6c

#F1DriverOfTheDay Great effort from @LewisHamilton! 👏👏👏#SpanishGP @salesforce pic.twitter.com/AB2AppYMgk

Imola 🏆 Miami 🏆 Barcelona 🏆@Max33Verstappen is on a roll! #SpanishGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/nGnZDgjMUc

#F1DriverOfTheDay Great effort from @LewisHamilton! 👏👏👏#SpanishGP @salesforce pic.twitter.com/AB2AppYMgk

The points scorers in Barcelona 👏#SpanishGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/y6WDpl4mYW

We have a NEW championship leader 💪#SpanishGP @Max33Verstappen pic.twitter.com/YN8Z1NDDem

RACE CLASSIFICATION 👀Red Bull’s second 1-2 in three races 👏#SpanishGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/pcXnQsutM4

CHECO: “I’ve been feeling a lot of support this weekend. I’m extremely happy to be on the podium for the first time in the Spanish Grand Prix”#SpanishGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/8ScYNEbhTm

MAX: “My DRS not working made it tough. A difficult beginning but a good end. I’m very happy to win and also very happy for Checo. A great result for the team” #SpanishGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/zd27jgVf8p

GEORGE: “So proud to be standing here. This is for everyone back at Brackley and Brixworth. I’m pleased to bring it home in P3” #SpanishGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/It7jS2UTqq

That’s it for the Grand Prix of Spain, with Verstappen and Perez landing another 1-2 for Red Bull.

The unofficial Top 10

GEORGE RUSSELL P3!! #F1 #SpanishGP pic.twitter.com/FPC7kR5sC3

LAP 66/66 (END OF RACE) TOP 10 Verstappen 🏆PerezRussellSainzHamilton BottasOconNorrisAlonsoTsunoda#SpanishGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/XBCFFeRsXe

🏁 @Max33Verstappen WINS THE #F1 #SPANISHGP 2022!! 👏 pic.twitter.com/NN8PFNvy3n

MAX VERSTAPPEN REIGNS IN SPAIN!!! 👑Sergio Perez makes it a 1-2 for Red Bull with George Russell taking third 👏👏 #SpanishGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/AzptXc6Kpq

LAP 65/66 Sainz gets past Hamilton and back up to P4 The Mercedes driver is warned by his team of overheating issues and requested to lift and coast #SpanishGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/SrEwr8hwUI

🚨🚨 Carlos P4!! #F1 #SpanishGP

LAP 60/66 Lewis Hamilton’s day keeps on getting better and betterHe passes Sainz and is up to P4 👏#SpanishGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/5MSlPGQOhi