Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen proved unstoppable on Sunday at the 2023 Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix.
The reigning champion was in a race of his own at a revised Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, leading from the pole position and managing to set the fastest lap of the day.
Mercedes-Benz AMG's Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were the surprise performers, as the Mercedes duo showed a resurgence in speed that has been lacking since the 2021 season. They were still well off Verstappen's pace, though. Hamilton finished 24 seconds after Verstappen to claim second place and Russell finished a further eight seconds back to claim third place.
Verstappen was joined by local hero Carlos Sainz of Ferrari at the front of the grid. Verstappen got the better start, after which Sainz went into attack mode. However, despite his best efforts to overtake Verstappen on the outside of the first corner, Sainz couldn't master his Red Bull rival and went back to chasing.
2023 Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix
Meanwhile, Hamilton survived some contact with McLaren's Lando Norris to move into third, while Russell worked his way up from 12th on the grid to seventh on the very first lap. Red Bull's other driver, Sergio Perez, also had to fight his way up the order after a spin during Saturday's qualifying session left him starting the race at 11th on the grid.
A few laps into the race, Verstappen was already carving out a gap with the rest of the field and by lap 11 he was 5.2 seconds clear of Sainz, who soon lost second place to Hamilton. He then lost another place to Russell and another to Perez, ultimately finishing the race at fifth place, just behind Perez.
Aston Martin wasn't able to repeat its early strong performance but remained consistent, with star driver Fernando Alonso finishing seventh, one place behind teammate Lance Stroll.
Following the weekend's action, Verstappen has created a clear lead in the 2023 Drivers' Championship with 170 points. Perez is second with 117 points and Alonso third with 99 points. In the Constructors' Championship, Red Bull Racing is also clear of the pack with its tally of 287 points, versus Mercedes in second with 152 points and Aston Martin in third with 134 points. F1 returns in two weeks with round nine, the Canadian Grand Prix, at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, home of the Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix
Below are the full results from the 2023 Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix:
1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing
2) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-Benz AMG +24.090 seconds
3) George Russell, Mercedes-Benz AMG +32.389 seconds
4) Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing +35.812 seconds
5) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari +45.698 seconds
6) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin +63.320 seconds
7) Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin +64.127 seconds
8) Esteban Ocon, Alpine +69.242 seconds
9) Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo +71.878 seconds
10) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri +73.530 seconds
11) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari +74.419 seconds
12) Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri +75.416 seconds
13) Oscar Piastri, McLaren +1 lap
14) Nyck De Vries, AlphaTauri +1 lap
15) Nico Hulkenberg, Haas +1 lap
16) Alexander Albon, Williams +1 lap
17) Lando Norris, McLaren +1 lap
18) Kevin Magnussen, Haas +1 lap
19) Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo +1 lap
20) Logan Sargeant, Williams +1 lap