It took seven races, but someone has finally started behind a Red Bull and beaten it to the chequered flag.Sergio Perez and George Russell shared the sixth row of the grid for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix. Russell got ahead of his rival at the start, made quicker work through the traffic ahead and beat him to the chequered flag by 3.423 seconds.
While that may have been the first sign that Red Bull are beatable this year, Max Verstappen produced a dominant performance which suggested otherwise. He headed every session with the exception of Q1, where he didn’t need to do as may laps as his rivals and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton topped the times.
Verstappen produced the third ‘grand slam’ of his career in the race, leading throughout from pole position and setting the fastest lap. The two previous occasions he had done this were at the Red Bull Ring in 2021 and Imola last year. Jim Clark holds the record for the most, eight, while Hamilton is closest to that on six.
This was the 40th victory of Verstappen career, and his next will put him on the same number as Ayrton Senna in fifth place on the all-time winners list.
Verstappen now has 24 pole positions and fastest laps, drawing level with Niki Lauda on both counts, and Nelson Piquet on the former.
For the second race in a row, Verstappen led every lap. He is also the last driver to have led two races throughout consecutively, having done so in both rounds at the Red Bull Ring in 2021. Since he overtook his team mate for the lead with 10 laps to go in Miami, Verstappen has now led for 154 consecutive laps.
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The Mercedes drivers joined him on the podium, with Russell taking the 10th podium finish of his F1 career. It puts him level with Maurice Trintignant, Tony Brooks and Romain Grosjean.
For only the second time this year Fernando Alonso failed to finish on the podium. His home fans saw his poorest performance of the season as he lined up eighth and finished seventh. Lance Stroll led his team mate home for the first time this year, though Alonso could probably have passed him had he chosen to.
This was the 362nd start of Alonso’s career in the 1,086th world championship race, meaning he has now started exactly one third of all races held.
Carlos Sainz Jnr achieved his best starting position of the season at home, lining up on the front row alongside Verstappen. The same was also true of third-placed Lando Norris. First-lap contact with Hamilton – the second time in as many years that has happened to the Mercedes driver at this track – meant Norris failed to score. Bizarrely, he now has more 17th-place finishes (five) than points scores (three) this year.
Pierre Gasly should have had his highest starting position since the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, having originally claimed fourth on the grid. However he was penalised twice for impeding, which left him 10th.
The subsequent reshuffle in the grid meant seven different constructors occupied the top seven places: Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Aston Martin, Alpine and Haas. This is one short of the record for most different cars at the front of the grid. The record of eight was last matched at the 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix and was also seen in Japan the same year and at the 1986 Monaco Grand Prix.
For the second time this year all 20 cars took the chequered flag. As with the first time this happened in Miami, and also at the following round in Monaco, the last one circulating was Logan Sargeant’s Williams. He and AlphaTauri’s Nyck de Vries remain the only drivers yet to score this year.
Have you spotted any other interesting stats and facts from the Spanish Grand Prix? Share them in the comments.
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