SUPER MAX!!!! What a race, pure chaos resulted somehow in Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez going 1-2. An absolute mega weekend for Red Bull, a disappointing weekend for Ferrari and a great redemption weekend for Mercedes.
Right from the first lap, madness ensued with Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) collided with Kevin Magnussen (Haas):
Hamilton pitted right after this lap, switched to the soft tyres (the fastest option) and continued to push push. After the incident, he told the Mercedes team that he wanted to retire the car to save the engine. His engineers immediately gave him push back and told him that they could most likely get some points out of this race, so it's crucial for Hamilton to stay on the track. Ultimately, it was the right call as Lewis finished P5!!!
It was an absolute mega drive for Sir Lewis and I think it's safe to say Mercedes is BACK (kinda).
Earning points for the Mercedes team is VERY crucial when it comes to the Constructor's Championship. This is where each teams' total points are added together to see which teams were most successful throughout the year. So for Red Bull, both Max Verstappen's and Checo's points are added together for a total amount, this is then compared against Ferrari, Mercedes, etc. Depending where you finish in the Constructor Championship, F1 pays each team significant amounts of money for the development of next year's car. So Hamilton staying on the track to salvage a few points is very crucial for the entire team.
Lap 7: Carlos Sainz spins out onto the gravel, costing himself major positioning early in the race:
Lap 9: Just two laps later, the same issue happened with Max Verstappen:
Starting around Lap 16, George Russell and Max Verstappen start having a battle for the ages. Verstappen's DRS wasn't working as intended and Russell was pushing the Mercedes to the absolute limit.
The clips don't do it justice, but George Russell was doing a mega job to hold off Verstappen.
Lap 27: Haven't heard Leclerc's name yet? That's because he was completely dominating the Spanish Grand Prix! Until…
This must be so frustrating for the Monacan. He was driving an absolutely beautiful race until his car lost power, forcing him to retire his car from the Grand Prix.
A few laps later, Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo) had the same issue as Leclerc, forcing him to retire. Both cars are using a Ferrari engine and this entire year has felt like the year of unreliability. Whether it's Red Bull, Ferrari or Mercedes engines, there seems to be some power issue with one of the engines every single race.
Lap 31: Because Max was having DRS issues, Checo's car was much faster than Verstappen's. This led to Max pitting in Lap 29 to get new soft tyres, while Sergio Perez battled George Russell for the lead. In lap 31, Checo overtook Russell:
Lap 36: As Max Verstappen was closing in on George Russell, George decided to pit, giving Max 2nd in the race:
Lap 49: Checo shows major unselfishness by letting Max pass him for the race lead:
Checo is the perfect teammate for Max Verstappen. He consistently shows how he's a team player by understanding that Max is the #1 driver on the team. For Red Bull, it's very important to maximize Max's points so he has the best chance to win the World Championship as the #1 driver. In Formula 1, it's very rare for a driver to put their ego aside and understand what's the best move for the team. Race in and race out, Sergio Perez continues to show that he's the perfect compliment to Super Max.
Lap 65: Hamilton was able to push push all the way to P4 from P19, but on lap 65 Carlos Sainz overtook him for a P5 finish. Regardless, still an unbelievably recovery from Lewis to not only salvage points, but to get a Top 5 finish.
As for his teammate, George Russell continues to look so much better than Hamilton in the Mercedes. It's a podium finish for Russell and 7th consecutive top 5 finish for Russell. Very impressive for the young driver. I'm sure Toto Wolff and Mercedes are very happy with his performance this year.
With a P1 finish and a Leclerc DNF, Verstappen officially takes the lead of Charles Leclerc for the World Championship. As for the Constructor's Championship, Red Bull have a 26 point lead over Ferrari.