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Max Verstappen takes the Formula 1 championship lead from retired Charles Leclerc despite George Russell’s defensive masterclass in a revitalized Mercedes


Max Verstappen edged title rival Charles Leclerc to the top of the Formula 1 world championship standings with victory at the Spanish Grand Prix where reliability and wind took their toll.

A disastrous retirement from Leclerc’s Ferrari handed Red Bull a Barcelona double, with George Russell trailing Sergio Perez to crown the podium.

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Verstappen took the win after Leclerc looked unstoppable

Max Verstappen takes the Formula 1 championship lead from retired Charles Leclerc despite George Russell’s defensive masterclass in a revitalized Mercedes

AFP

Leclerc couldn’t believe his luck

Things looked simple for Ferrari after securing pole in Spain, with Leclerc taking a 13-second lead before losing power on lap 27.

“NO! NO! NO! What happened? What happened? Loss of power,” Leclerc told team radio as he cleared the way for Verstappen to claim a huge victory .

It was not easy for the reigning world champion, who started his race with a spin at the fourth corner where victory caught up with him and Carlos Sainz.

The Dutchman then spent several laps behind Mercedes’ Russell, who defended valiantly, even with the help of Verstappen’s faulty drag reduction system.

His teammate Perez looked the quicker of the two Red Bulls after Russell made way for his pitstop, and demanded Verstappen let him pass.

That call didn’t last long, however, with Perez calling a call to let the #1 car through as “unfair”.


A poor weekend for Ferrari was made even worse when both Mercedes managed to pass Sainz, but Lewis Hamilton then had to sacrifice fourth place to the Spaniard despite an impressive recovery from an early puncture.

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