Max Verstappen secured a battling victory at the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday to close the gap at the top of Formula 1.
The Red Bull driver was something of a surprise winner as he had spent much of the race behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who started the grid on pole.
However the Monegasque was afflicted by a power unit failure midway through the race and had to retire, allowing last season’s champion to work with Sergio Perez alongside him to attack George Russell and secure the lead.
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The Dutchman was able to extend his lead over the Mercedes man and comfortably pitted in for fresh tires ahead of the resurgent German team.
At one point Verstappen lambasted his team for problems with his DRS, but ended the race in far better humour.
The end of the race was less dramatic than the earliest stages, when Kevin Magnussen collided with Lewis Hamilton, with the Briton taking a five-second penalty along the way.
Early on both Verstappen and Carlos Sainz hit the gravel on turn four, but were able to salvage a recovery in order to keep attacking.
With Russell and Hamilton in third and fourth respectively, they looked on course for a satisfying weekend only to be told to keep their efforts to a minimum as a leak threatened to cause them a DNF, and left them vulnerable.
Verstappen took the win, Perez in second, Russell was able to nurse his car to third while Sainz was fourth in his home race. Hamilton managed fifth ahead of his former teammate Valtteri Bottas.
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