Verstappen widens F1 title lead with Spanish Grand Prix win

Montmelo, Spain, Jun 4 (EFE).- Dutch Red Bull driver Max Verstappen widened his lead in the Formula One title race on Sunday by decisively winning the Spanish Grand Prix, the seventh contest of the year and his fifth win, at Montmelo in Barcelona, where Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, both Britons, finished second and third, joining Verstappen on the 1-2-3 podium.

Spanish drivers Carlos Sainz, with Ferrari, and Fernando Alonso, with Aston Martin, came in fifth and seventh, respectively.

Vesrtappen, 25, who is going for a third consecutive F1 title, notched his 40th career victory with a “Grand Slam” – starting the race in the coveted pole position and then leading from start to finish and recording the fastest lap of the 66-lap, 4.6 kilometer (2.8 mi.) contest on the way, for which he received an extra ranking point above and beyond the 25 he garnered for the win.

Throughout the race, the biggest challenge facing Verstappen – despite the fact that Sainz initially and only briefly put him under some pressure, almost taking the lead on the opening corner – seemed to be his own driving, given that he was handed three warnings for exceeding track limits.

Had the “flying Dutchman” committed any more infractions of that kind, he would have received a five-second penalty, although ultimately that would not have mattered since he bested the No. 2 Hamilton by 24 seconds.

Mexico’s Sergio Perez, also with Red Bull, finished fourth at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, while Canada’s Lance Stroll, Alonso’s Aston Martin teammate, finished sixth.

Alpine driver Esteban Ocon, from France, was eighth, followed by Chinese Alfa Romeo pilot Guanyu Zhou in ninth, while Alpine driver Pierre Gasly rounded out the top 10.

Hamilton, who has won the Spanish Grand Prix six times, passed Sainz early in the contest and remained in second place for the duration, while Russell had a fabulous race starting in the 12th position but passing car after car to grab the third podium spot.

Verstappen continues at the top of the F1 table with 170 points, 53 more than his Mexican colleague, while Alonso – after his No. 7 finish and worst performance of the season – remains in third place with 99 points and Sainz is in sixth place with 58.

In the constructors championship, Mercedes now has 152 points and is in second place, ahead of Aston Martin with 134, but far behind Red Bull with 287.

EFE –/bp

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