An Unstoppable Verstappen Wins Again

Lewis Hamilton drove aggressively and overtook rivals, sometimes with apparent ease. George Russell gained several places by zipping up the pit lane at the start and held off a late challenge from Sergio Pérez. It was a great day for Mercedes.

And they finished 2-3.

Once again, Max Verstappen of Red Bull raced away from the Formula One field in the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona on Sunday, winning the pole, and then on race day never holding any position but first. His final margin was 24 seconds.

With five wins in seven races (and two seconds), he is on his way to his third straight Formula One title, barring a major shock.

Any drama had to be found further back in a race without major incidents or crashes. In addition to the showy performances by the Mercedes, Pérez, Verstappen’s teammate, raced up to fourth after starting 11th thanks to a bad qualifying.

Expected rain, which might have made things interesting, never really came.

Late in the race, Verstappen was warned about straying off the course on some turns, but even had he been penalized, it would very likely have been five seconds, not nearly enough to take the race away.

As they have for weeks, his rivals and their teams will be shaking their heads and wondering how they can possibly stop him.

When Verstappen took the pole? When he started the race without incident? When he had a problem-free pit stop?

Truthfully, at no point did Verstappen ever look as if he would lose this weekend.

1. Verstappen. See above. And every other race.

2. Mercedes. After an iffy start to the season, and an embarrassing collision between its two drivers in qualifying Saturday, almost everything went right on race day. It was the first double-podium of the year for the team.

3. Pérez. He made up for a bad qualifying day, and a spin off the track, by racing his way up to fourth.

  • “I had the harder compound. I knew the start was maybe going to be a bit tricky.” — Max Verstappen, like all of us trying to find some drama.

  • “What a result for our team. We definitely didn’t expect the result we had today.” — Lewis Hamilton

  • “I think they’re a bit too quick at the moment. We’re working on it. If not, maybe next year.” — Hamilton, realistic about Red Bull.

  • “I thought it would rain at one point, but it was sweat from my hair.” — George Russell.

  • “It was just a misunderstanding, a lack of communication in the garage during an intense moment so no one is to blame.” — Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, brushing off a qualifying collision between Hamilton and Russell. Spoiler: Someone was to blame.

Verstappen’s lead is now 53 points. Expect that to increase.

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