MONTEMELO, Spain – Max Verstappen has regained a Formula One point lead as he comfortably collapsed while in front of Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari after winning the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday for his third consecutive victory.
However, Verstappen needed the help of Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez to win the season for the fourth time. Perez was leading the race after Leclerc left when his team asked him to pass Verstappen to 49 of 66.
“It’s unfair but okay,” Perez told his team.
Perez, who could have won just the third of his career, is in second place ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell.
Verstappen has surpassed Leclerc in the standings and is now six points ahead after six races.
“The start of the race is not easy, but we turned it around,” said Verstappen, who has enjoyed previous victories in Emola and Miami. “Thanks to the team for their great work and thanks to Cheko (Perez), he’s a great teammate.”
Leclerc defended his pole position early and Versteppen slipped off the track early on. But disaster struck when Leclerc’s car lost power on the Lap 27 because he shouted, “No! No! No! What happened? “
Lewis Hamilton, who had won here five years earlier, had a great drive behind Ferrari’s Carlos Sange for fifth place when the seven-time world champion was dropped behind the pack in Lap 1 when he needed a Mercedes tire change. A knock with Kevin Magnusen’s smile.
Verstappen felt he had to settle for a podium space to limit the damage after getting off the track and into the gravel – an incident that his team blamed for a gust of wind – in the opening lap, pushing him back from second to fourth.
This became even worse for the Dutch driver when the same DRS flap error that ruined the chance to try for the last flying lap in Saturday’s qualification. Russell could not pass at that time due to the exciting duo.
“We can’t even do the (wonderful) DRS work, incredible,” the Worstapen team shouted on the radio, saying that Leclerc had taken fresh tires without losing his lead.
But after Leclerc’s race, Verstapen’s fortunes changed dramatically.