RACE REPORT | F1 Spain 2023

Max Verstappen scores his 40th Formula 1 victory and is just one short of equalling the number of wins by legend Ayrton Senna. He put in a commanding performance at Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix, winning in start-finish style and extending his championship lead over second-placed Sergio Pérez to 53 points.

Verstappen dominated the entire seventh race weekend. He won all three practice sessions and qualifying and was able to lead the race from start to finish. In addition, he scored a bonus point for the fastest lap of the race, which he completed just before facing a penalty for repeatedly leaving the track. Despite the possible penalty, he had a sufficient lead and could afford the penalty. Verstappen crossed the line with a lead of almost half a minute.

While the Red Bull team has dominated all the races this season, the Mercedes team was able to enjoy a double podium finish for the first time this year. Six-time Barcelona winner Lewis Hamilton achieved his best finish of the season by finishing second.

Verstappen defended his first place after a hard-fought start ahead of Carlos Sainz, who even took the lead for a moment, but things soon returned to normal. Starting on the second row, Lando Norris and Hamilton made contact and the McLaren driver had to pit due to a damaged front wing. The stop took him more than 17 seconds and his hopes of a good result were dashed. In the end, he finished in seventeenth place.

While the Dutch driver was sovereignly heading for a third victory in Barcelona after 2016 and 2022, Hamilton overtook Sainz during a third of the race, which did not go down well with the local crowd. And as the Grand Prix entered the second half, Russell also passed the Ferrari driver, who had to settle for a seventh-place result, his worst finish this season.

The other Red Bull driver, Sergio Pérez, got past Sainz at the end to finish fourth, despite starting from 11th position after losing time after going off track in Q3.

To his disappointment, the biggest idol of the Spanish public, Fernando Alonso, pulled away from success. The Aston Martin driver could not for a moment think of winning a Formula One race for the first time in a decade. After Saturday's qualifying, where he finished ninth more than a second behind Verstappen, it was clear that extending his tally of 32 wins would be impossible. In the end, the forty-four-year-old former champion had to settle for seventh place, his worst result this season. Charles Leclerc, Sainz's teammate and world vice-champion, finished with no points. After starting from pit lane and finishing eleventh in qualifying, he finished in eleventh place.

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