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F1 Spanish GP: Max Verstappen win ahead of Hamilton and Russell

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen delivered another commanding performance en route to victory in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix, leading home the Mercedes machines of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, with team mate Sergio Perez fourth.

Verstappen controlled the race from lights out to the chequered flag to chalk up his fifth win of the 2023 season, and his third triumph at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, while further increasing his lead in the championship standings.

Mercedes enjoyed a much-improved display to take a double podium, Hamilton surviving a first-lap clash with McLaren’s Lando Norris and overcoming an early battle with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, and Russell working his way up from 12th on the grid with a series of overtakes.

Perez put in a solid recovery drive – after starting 11th – to take fourth, just missing out on the final podium spot to Russell after a charging final stint, with Sainz completing the top five, having dropped away from the sharp end as the race developed.

Fernando Alonso was unable to add another podium to his, and Aston Martin’s, tally with a quiet run to seventh on home soil, but alongside team mate Lance Stroll’s sixth place, the green machines nonetheless bagged a solid haul of points.
After his podium heroics in Monaco, Esteban Ocon had to settle for eighth position this time out, while a five-second time penalty given to Yuki Tsunoda – for forcing Zhou Guanyu off the track – meant the Alfa Romeo driver and the other Alpine of Pierre Gasly rounded out the points.

Charles Leclerc also gained a spot from Tsunoda’s sanction but was unable to secure a point after wholesale changes to his Ferrari post-qualifying – and his first Q1 exit since the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix – saw him start from the pit lane.

Tsunoda slotted in ahead of McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and AlphaTauri team mate Nyck de Vries, who were the first of the drivers a lap down on Verstappen, followed by Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg and the lead Williams of Alex Albon.

Norris was forced to pit for a new front wing after his incident with Hamilton at the start and had a lonely race to 17th, with the other Haas, Alfa Romeo and Williams machines of Kevin Magnussen, Valtteri Bottas and Logan Sargeant bringing up the rear.

Verstappen’s win means Red Bull continue their unbeaten start to the campaign, with the reigning double world champion – who also earned the fastest lap bonus – moving 53 points clear of nearest rival Perez in the race for the drivers’ title.

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