Double podium marks a step forward for Mercedes
Another victory in Barcelona has extended Max Verstappen’s championship lead to 53 points. This marks Verstappen’s third Spanish Grand Prix win and the 40th of his career, making him the youngest driver in Formula 1 history to achieve 40 wins. One more victory will tie him with Ayrton Senna as the fifth most victorious driver in F1.
Unstoppable across the weekend, Verstappen claimed pole in a dramatic qualifying before stampeding across the finish line on Sunday with a 24-second lead. His only real rival was the white line of track limits, but not even a black-and-white flag could slow him down as he took the fastest lap to obtain his third career Grand Slam.
On the other side of the Red Bull garage, Sergio Pérez was unable to make it out of Q2 in qualifying. He climbed to fourth in the race, but ultimately finished behind the Mercedes drivers. This disappointment comes following a weekend of poor performance for Pérez in Monaco after a crash resulted in him qualifying last.
While Verstappen has shown precision and resilience so far, a mistake from the Dutchman could provide some variety, particularly if Pérez is unable to capitalise and bring home a Red Bull victory. This could be great news for Mercedes, who recently brought upgrades and have seen an improvement. They claimed a double podium in Barcelona, pushing them above Aston Martin in the Constructors’ standings, but this improvement may be too late as Red Bull already have a firm grip on both Championship titles.
This time last year, Charles Leclerc and Ferrari were still within touching distance of Red Bull’s lead. Now, following a string of awful luck and poor performance, the Italian team’s hopes are dwindling. Despite bringing upgrades to Barcelona, Leclerc finished outside of the points after qualifying 19th and Sainz was unable to convert his second-place qualifying position into a podium.
Montreal’s Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve could be an opportunity for Ferrari to turn things around and for Mercedes to make more of an impression on the season. However, though Barcelona gave Mercedes an excellent result, their podium finishes came during a week of underperformance for Fernando Alonso.
As Mercedes, Aston Martin, and Ferrari all eye second place in the Constructors’ Championship, the battle will be firmly on in the coming races.