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Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez make it 1-2 at the Spanish F1 Grand Prix


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Max Verstappen reclaimed the points lead in Formula 1 as the reigning world champion won the Spanish Grand Prix for his third consecutive victory on Sunday after Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari broke down while comfortably ahead.

Verstappen, however, needed an assist from Red Bull teammate Sergio Pérez to claim his fourth victory of the season. Pérez was leading the race after Leclerc retired when his team told him to pass Verstappen on lap 49 of 66.

“It’s unfair but OK,” Pérez told his team.

Pérez, who could only have claimed his third career win, finished second ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell in third.

Max Verstappen has recovered from an off-track incident to win the Spanish Grand Prix.
(Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Verstappen, who earned his first career victory at this track in 2016, has passed Leclerc in the standings and now leads by six points after six races.

“It wasn’t an easy start to the race, but we turned it around,” said Verstappen, who had previous wins at Imola and Miami. “Thanks to the team for their excellent work and thanks to Checo (Pérez), he is a great teammate.”

Leclerc defended his pole position at the start and Verstappen left the track early. But disaster struck when Leclerc’s car lost power on lap 27, as he shouted “No! No! No! What happened?”

Lewis Hamilton, who had won here in the previous five years, had a fine drive to finish fifth behind Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz after the seven-time world champion was dropped to the back of the pack on lap one when his Mercedes had needed a tire change after a hit with Kevin Magnussen’s Haas.

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez make it 1-2 at the Spanish F1 Grand Prix

Red Bull teammates Perez and Verstappen were joined on the podium by Mercedes driver George Russel in third.
(LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images)

Verstappen looked set to settle for a podium finish to limit the damage after going off the track and into the gravel – an incident his team attributed to a gust of wind – in the opening laps, sending him back from second to fourth.

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Things got worse for the Dutch driver when the same DRS flap malfunction that had ruined his chances of attempting a fast final lap in Saturday qualifying happened again. He couldn’t get past Russell at the time in a thrilling duel.

“We can’t even make the (expletive) DRS work, unbelievable,” Verstappen shouted over the team radio as Leclerc moved forward and took on fresh tires without losing the lead.

But after Leclerc’s run imploded, Verstappen’s fortunes changed drastically.

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Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez make it 1-2 at the Spanish F1 Grand Prix

Verstappen and Perez are now first and third in the F1 season standings.
(Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said his team would work to determine what was wrong.

“The car performed well, its pace was good. We had this reliability problem which we will have to analyze and solve, but the season is long and we have a car which is very strong,” Binotto told television. DAZN.

The track is notoriously difficult for overtaking with its limited overtaking zones. Pole-sitters have won 23 of the 32 times the race has been held on the 4.6-kilometre (2.8-mile) Barcelona-Catalonia circuit.

Leclerc, Russell and Pérez all took turns leading, but Verstappen crossed the finish line first after 66 laps, and an act of generosity.

“I’m happy for the team, but we have to talk later,” Pérez told his team over the radio just after finishing behind Verstappen.

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“I’m happy to be on the podium,” the Mexican driver said later. “It was a great team result.”

Valtteri Bottas finished sixth for Alfa Romeo. Esteban Ocon finished seventh in his Alpine. Lando Norris finished eighth for McLaren, despite being seen vomiting just before the start of the race.

Home favorite Fernando Alonso, who has struggled all season, has recovered well from a last-place start after Alpine changed his car’s engine. He finished ninth ahead of Yuki Tsunoda in his Alphatauri.

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