This article was last updated on May 23, 2022
Max Verstappen’s 24th F1 victory tied him with the famous five-time champion Juan Manuel Fangio.
Max Verstappen overcame an early spin to win the Spanish Grand Prix after title contender Charles Leclerc’s retirement from a commanding lead.
Red Bull’s imposition of team orders on Sergio Perez contributed to Max Verstappen’s fourth win in six races this year.
It gives him the championship lead for the first time since 2022, and he will head to Monaco with a six-point lead over Leclerc next weekend.
After a lengthy and heroic effort to keep Max Verstappen at bay early in the race, Mercedes’ George Russell finished a strong third.
And his teammate Lewis Hamilton fought back to fifth place after colliding with Kevin Magnussen’s Haas on the opening lap, which left the seven-time champion a puncture and placed him to the back of the pack.
With six circuits remaining, Hamilton climbed into fourth place behind Russell by passing Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz around the outside of Turn One.
However, Hamilton lost the position once more after being told to slow down due to a coolant leak that prevented him from using full speed.
Russell was instructed to lift and coast at the conclusion of the race. His vehicle was overheating during the entire race.
Advantage Max Verstappen but positives remain for Leclerc Recovery in Spain “better than a victory” – Hamilton Verstappen wins the Spanish Grand Prix – as it transpired, Verstappen salvages victory from error.
With two retirements in the first three races of the season, Max Verstappen has had his fair share of misfortune this year. However, in Spain, he surely enjoyed some good fortune.
After a rare error by Max Verstappen on lap nine sent the world champion to crash into the gravel at Turn Four, Leclerc looked poised for a comfortable victory.
Leclerc had held a two-second lead over Max Verstappen up until that time, but Max Verstappen’s spin altered the race’s complexion.
It placed him behind Russell, and despite the Red Bull’s significantly superior speed, Max Verstappen was unable to pass the Mercedes.
Max Verstappen was held back by a rarely effective DRS overtaking aid, but Russell’s brilliant defensive driving held the Red Bull back for 19 laps.
In order to push Verstappen past Russell, Red Bull ultimately opted to swap strategies and pitted him on lap 28 for a set of soft tyres.
This allowed him to run in clear air, and when he pitted for a final set of medium tyres on lap 44, he emerged ahead of Russell, with only Perez in front of him.
Red Bull instructed Perez not to hold up Verstappen, and a few laps later Verstappen took the lead, a decision that Perez deemed “unfair.” During his slowing-down lap, he stated, “I’m glad for the team, but we must chat afterwards.”
Leclerc’s dominant championship lead has been diminished over the course of the last three races. Leclerc remained alone and unchallenged at the front after Verstappen’s spin, and he was nearly 30 seconds ahead when he should have made his first pit stop for new tyres on lap 21.
When his engine broke six laps later, Leclerc was 12.6 seconds ahead of the field and in complete control with a six-second advantage over Russell, who was still holding back Verstappen.
Leclerc will be a strong favourite to win in Monaco based on Ferrari’s performance in Spain’s slow and medium-speed corners, but the team is facing adversity and must recover swiftly.
Sainz, Leclerc’s teammate, was unable to save the day.
He committed the same error as Verstappen, albeit two laps earlier; both drivers were thrown off at Turn Four by a tailwind. As a result of floor damage that limited his car’s downforce, he was unable to recover as quickly as would have been predicted.
He would have finished a disappointing fifth if not for the Mercedes reliability issues that let him to pass Hamilton at the conclusion.
George Russell demonstrated Mercedes’ development by competing strongly with Red Bulls. Mercedes arrived in Spain with a car modification that mitigated the straight-line porpoising issues that had plagued them throughout the season.
Russell then achieved the team’s best starting position of the year with a fourth-place starting position, and he drove an excellent grand prix.
Valtteri Bottas frequently lacked Russell’s level of defensive prowess while he was in the driver’s seat.
Ultimately, Red Bull was able to outmanoeuvre Mercedes in terms of strategy and unleash the additional speed of their car, leaving Russell powerless to stop them.
Meanwhile, Hamilton had a disappointing beginning. He was battling with Sainz for sixth going into Turn Four on the opening lap, but he clashed with Magnussen as the Dane attempted to pass on the outside, puncturing his left-front tyre.
Soon after rejoining the race from the rear, Hamilton radioed the team that he believed it would be best to retire and conserve engine kilometres. They said that they believed he could return to ninth place.
He considerably outperformed expectations, driving an outstanding comeback drive to enter the final laps behind Russell, only to fall back again.
On Hamilton’s slowing-down lap, team manager Toto Wolff informed him over the radio that he had the fastest race time of any driver.
Hamilton was 54 seconds behind the lead after his early pit stop and only 40 seconds behind entering the final three laps before he was told to save the car. However, the picture is clouded by the fact that Leclerc retired and Verstappen was both held up by Russell and cruising after he took the lead.
Behind him, Valtteri Bottas of Alfa Romeo finished sixth, followed by Esteban Ocon of Alpine and Lando Norris of McLaren, who had been feeling poorly all weekend and had to consult a doctor after the race.
Norris, who was excused from post-race media responsibilities due to tonsillitis, revealed the condition in a team statement.
“Today was difficult,” Norris remarked. “Before the event, I was really ill with tonsillitis, and that, combined with the high temps, made this one of the most difficult races I’ve ever run.
“I’ve been somewhat disadvantaged this weekend due to the fact that much of my energy has been spent fighting off this illness. I was not as well-prepared for the grand prix as I could have been because I had to skip a number of engineering sessions over the course of the weekend.
And local hero Fernando Alonso raced admirably to comeback to tenth after starting from the rear of the field due to a pre-race engine change.
Alpha Tauri’s final point was earned by Yuki Tsunoda.