Kurt Verlin
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Red Bull Wins 1-2 at Spanish Grand Prix, Now Leads Championship

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Verstappen and Perez flex for the cameras
Photo: Honda

Max Verstappen led a 1-2 finish for Red Bull Racing at the 2022 Spanish Grand Prix, marking a turn of fortunes for the reigning champion. Charles Leclerc was comfortably leading the race but his Ferrari engine gave out just behind half distance. This handed control of the race to Verstappen and his teammate Sergio Pérez, whose Honda engines — now repurposed as Red Bull Powertrains — held strong to the end.

Verstappen thus maintains his 2022 streak of either winning races or not finishing them at all, and of only ever finishing in the top two since the Hungarian Grand Prix last year. In just three rounds, he managed to turn a 46-point deficit to Leclerc into a six-point lead, while Red Bull Racing outpointed Ferrari by 75 points over the same period.

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Three rounds ago, some fans — no doubt the Drive to Survive kind — were saying the championship was Leclerc’s to lose, but as ever in Formula 1, fortunes can change quickly. And just like Verstappen now seems in a strong position, we must remember we are still only six rounds into a 22-round championship, so anything can still happen.

Despite a run-in with Kevin Magnussen at the start of the race, Lewis Hamilton almost managed to bag fourth place behind teammate George Russell. That speaks to a resurgent Mercedes and if the team can sort out its overheating issues, it may give both Red Bull Racing and Ferrari trouble in the coming grands prix.

There was some controversy regarding Red Bull asking Pérez to let Verstappen by, but it’s controversy that shouldn’t exist at all. Even if Verstappen hadn’t been catching his teammate at an incredible rate of about 1.5-2 seconds per lap, Pérez still needed to pit again. There is no doubt as to which of the two was the faster driver yesterday.

Verstappen has now claimed his 24th Formula 1 race victory at age 24 and at the very track where he earned his record-setting maiden win. Now the sport heads to Monaco, where homeboy Leclerc has had a streak of bad luck and poor performances. Can the young Monegasque driver finally overcome what some people are now calling a curse? Pole position counts for a lot at Monaco — and Leclerc has been grabbing those left and right.