Oracle Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen drove to a dominant grid-to-flag victory in the 2023 Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya by 24.090s over Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, as team-mate Sergio Pérez just missed the podium after driving through the field.
Defending world champion Verstappen came into the Spanish Grand Prix after a brilliant win the previous weekend in Monaco and maintained his form in Barcelona.
After qualifying on the pole for the first time in Spain, the Dutch driver was never headed as he dominated his rivals to cruise to his fifth win from the seven races so far this season and maintained the team’s unbeaten season to date.
Team-mate Sergio Pérez, meanwhile, just missed the podium after driving through the field from 11th place on the grid.
The Mexican failed to make Q3 on Saturday after running off-track at Turn 5 during Q2 but fought through the field impressively. He just came up short in his chase of Russell to make the podium, however, and finished in fourth place.
Verstappen now leads Pérez in the Drivers’ Championship standings by 53 points, 170 to 117, ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix on June 18.
Max Verstappen, Driver, Red Bull Racing
To win here again feels incredible. It’s a massive pleasure to drive a car like this. It was important to try and keep the lead into turn one; it was quite tight. From there onwards, it was about managing the tyres, and I created a big gap. We went on to the hards, but I didn’t seem to have much grip; I was sliding around quite a lot. The pace was okay, but I couldn’t create more of a gap, so we switched to softs, and then I just needed to bring it home. We’ve had another strong weekend, and that’s what I like to see for the team. Hopefully, we can keep this up throughout the year.
Sergio Pérez, Driver, Red Bull Racing:
I am disappointed with today. We’ve ultimately paid the price for a bad qualifying. We did have a good strategy, but looking at where we started from, there was only so much we could do. I think P3 was possible, but if we wanted more points, I would have had to take more risks on lap one and potentially compromise my race. George went really deep on that first lap, gaining a lot of positions, but we took it easier to ensure we had more of a clean start. Then we got stuck behind the Aston Martin, and Alonso was quite hard to pass, so I couldn’t progress through the field as quickly as we would have liked. This weekend, in general, has been a step back, and we weren’t quite there, but there are plenty of things we can do better. All in all, we brought home 12 points today, and I think, looking forward, Canada should be a strong race for us. Everything is pretty close right now, so that will be interesting.
CHRISTIAN HORNER – CEO and Team Principal, Red Bull Racing
Another great performance from Max. The start was strong. He had to be firm but fair with Carlos Sainz into the first turn, and from there, he managed the race really well. We ran all three compounds today, and he had the pace to cover whatever was going on behind him, finishing with a 24-second gap by the end of the race. Max was totally in control. But it’s not just Max; the whole Team is operating at an elite level. We have a phenomenal car, we have two great drivers, and we are continuing to evolve and become more polished.
It was a good recovery from Checo, especially the second part of the race, and I think that will give him much more confidence. He had a difficult Monaco, a difficult qualifying, but a better Sunday. Looking at the gap between the two drivers, the pressure is off now, and we know what Checo is capable of. I’m sure he will refind that form from the early races in the near future.