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SPANISH GP: NORRIS DOESN'T CAPITALIZE, VERSTAPPEN ON TOP



Max Verstappen achieved another hard-fought victory, mirroring his success in Montreal, once again showcasing his talent in holding off a McLaren-Mercedes driven by Lando Norris, which now seems more competitive than the Red Bull-Honda. After an explosive start by a combative George Russell, Verstappen took the lead early and never let go, despite the challenges.


Norris displayed impressive speed, and if it weren't for a small mistake at the start that forced him to defend against Verstappen quite aggressively and then be overtaken by Russell, the final outcome might have been different. The duel between Norris and Russell in the middle part of the race was spectacular but favored Verstappen. If Norris had focused more on Russell rather than Verstappen, defending second place and closely following the Red Bull, the final standings could have been different.


At the end of the race, Norris was visibly disappointed, admitting that his car was capable of winning. However, due to an imperfect start, he missed the opportunity to take the top step of the podium, a result instead achieved by Verstappen, who secured his seventh win of the season out of ten races, the sixty-first of his career. This victory occurred on the same circuit where he claimed his first victory in 2016 during his debut weekend with Red Bull, replacing Daniil Kvyat.


Red Bull and McLaren remain the most competitive cars in the championship, consistently achieving high-level results. Mercedes, on the other hand, shows more promise in qualifying than in the race, where they tend to lose ground, as seen in Montreal, where Russell lost the victory due to a series of mistakes. Mistakes, indeed, are the keyword of this phase of the championship: Russell and Norris make them, while Verstappen manages to avoid them, thus securing the win.


In Spain, Mercedes still showed good performance. Russell was brilliant and error-free, but the decision to put him on hard tires during the second pit stop penalized him, causing him to finish fourth. Lewis Hamilton delivered a strong performance, showing grit in his overtakes, such as the one on Carlos Sainz. Thanks to soft tires in the final stages, Hamilton overtook Russell, securing third place. For Toto Wolff's team, this is the second consecutive podium finish of the season, an encouraging sign.


Less positive were the results for Ferrari, with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz finishing fifth and sixth. The third row obtained in qualifying was confirmed in the race, but their pace was not on par with Red Bull, McLaren, and Mercedes. After a slight initial contact, Sainz overtook Leclerc, sparking some controversy. Sainz responded by saying that if he's faster, he should overtake, a stance shared by team principal Frederic Vasseur. Ferrari seems to have plateaued after a spring growth that brought podiums and wins in Melbourne and Monte Carlo.


Disappointing were the performances of the second drivers for Red Bull and McLaren. Sergio Perez seems increasingly struggling with his RB20, and one wonders if he is facing the usual summer slump. The decision to extend Perez's contract until 2026 appears to have been made to satisfy Verstappen and keep him on the team. Oscar Piastri also disappointed, with errors in qualifying and an unconvincing seventh place in the race.


Satisfactory results for Alpine-Renault, with Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon replicating their Montreal results, finishing ninth and tenth, respectively. These results bring confidence for the future despite uncertainties. A disastrous performance by Aston Martin-Mercedes, finishing outside the points and behind the Haas-Ferrari of Nico Hulkenberg. Racing Bulls-Honda and Williams-Mercedes showed a significant decline, while Sauber-Ferrari performed better than usual.




© Cavalieri Garage & Co.

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