F1: Charles Leclerc finishes Spanish Grand Prix in P5, Verstappen wins

spanish grand prix

For Scuderia Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, the Spanish Grand Prix wasn’t “particularly rewarding”, but it could have been worse following a Lap 3 incident that saw the teammates collide.  

Monegasque pilot Charles Leclerc began the race on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Sunday 23rd June from P5, having missed out on a second row start by mere thousandths of a second. It was a similar story for his teammate, Carlos Sainz, who started in P6. 

Despite opting for different strategies throughout the race, the result for each driver was the same. Neither managed to make much progress during the 66 laps, and both ended in the same position from which they had taken off.  

Both were keen to advance in the early stages of the race, leading to a tense moment on Lap 3 when Sainz got ahead of his teammate by squeezing him on the inside. Sainz momentarily left the track, but did gain the advance. 

Leclerc was clearly disgruntled by the move, complaining over the radio, “He [Sainz] closed on me.” 

He later told reporters that he felt the overtake and contact between the cars had cost them both some time.  

“It’s a shame,” he said. “The team had told us before the race to save the tyres… I was doing exactly that… Carlos used that one lap to push, he was very close to me. I understand that it’s his home race, a very important moment of his career, so I guess he wanted to do something spectacular, but I probably wasn’t the right person to do that with.” 

The 26-year-old Monegasque ultimately reclaimed his position from his teammate in Lap 55, which allowed him to go after Mercedes’ George Russell. Leclerc caught up with the British driver on the final lap, but didn’t have enough time left to make it count.  

In the end, the two Ferrari drivers picked up a combined 18 points at the Spanish Grand Prix. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took the win, finishing just two seconds ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton claimed P3 in front of his teammate, Russell, in P4.

The points have helped maintain Ferrari’s status as the second team in the Constructors’ Standings, with Leclerc third in the Drivers’ Rankings.

“It was tight today and we were just a lap short of fighting for P4, but our competitors were still ahead in terms of pace,” he said post-race. “Regarding our strategy, I think we did well to offset ourselves from the cars around us. Going forward, we will focus on our race pace extracting the maximum from our package at the next race.” 

The next round in the early summer triple-header will be the Austrian Grand Prix on the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg on 30th June. From there, the grid will head to the UK for the British Grand Prix on Sunday 7th July at Silverstone.  


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Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari Media Centre