Max Verstappen benefitted from the duelling Ferrari’s to take a dominant victory. As a result, he will start tomorrow’s race from 1st.
The weather was absolutely gorgeous for the second sprint race of the year. Perez had been relegated from 4th to 13th for a track limits violation from the qualifying from yesterday.
Formation Lap Faux Pas
There was an early disaster for Alonso. As the cars pulled away from the grid, the Alpine was on the jacks and still wearing the tyre warmers. He was immediately pulled into the pitlane as the engineers tried to start the car. They were unsuccessful and the car was retired.
Next up was Zhou, also on the formation lap. The Alfa Romeo ground to a halt through the last corner. The start was aborted for an extra formation lap. Zhou was able to get the car started, but he had to go the pits.
It was very tight off the line between Leclerc and Verstappen. Verstappen just held the position, but Leclerc was jumped through the corner by Sainz. As Sainz attempted to attack Verstappen, Leclerc squeezed past his team-mate through turn 3. The squabble between the Ferrari drivers was ideal for Verstappen, he was able to secure some breathing space.
Gasly was launched into the air after contact with Hamilton. Gasly moved over into turn 1 and was lucky to still be in the race. Hamilton dropped to 11th as a result.
Perez made an incredible start, moving from 13th to 8th after the first lap.
Ferrari continued to fight, bleeding valuable time to Verstappen up front. By lap 7, the gap was 2.4s. Leclerc retook 2nd from Sainz through turn 3, but both cars went deep. The fighting was starting to get dirty.
Norris took a very bumpy ride over the kerbs in turn 2 whilst battling with Albon for 11th. This would later turn into a 5s penalty for Albon.
The two Haas cars were holding on to 6th and 7th, but Perez was looking to spoil the party. He first took Schumacher with a great move into turn 2. A lap later, Perez breezed past Magnussen with DRS.
There was a long yellow flag as Vettel spun after contact with Albon through sector 2. Despite being in the gravel, he was able to reverse out and prevent a safety car.
Schumacher just loses out
Hamilton was now battling Schumacher for the last championship point. Schumacher was defending exceptionally well, forcing Hamilton to the outside of the track through each corner. The battle continued lap after lap and Magnussen was being a superb team-mate, keeping Schumacher in his DRS. At one point, the duelling pair almost made contact, but crucially, Schumacher lost DRS on lap 20. Despite this, Schumacher was able to hold off from the inital onslaught. He was less fortunate as Hamilton forced his way past on lap 21.
Upfront, Verstappen breezed to another victory, with a further 8 points to his tally. Leclerc won the team-mate battle, but was it an opportunity missed? Russell took an understated 4th ahead of a superb comeback drive from Perez. Ocon took 6th with a good drive, ahead of Magnussen and Hamilton.
Full Sprint Results:
- Leclerc +1.6s
- Sainz +5.6s
- Russell +13.4s
- Perez +18.3s
- Ocon +31.0s
- Magnussen +34.5s
- Hamilton +35.4s
- Schumacher +37.1s
- Bottas +35.5s
- Norris +38.5s
- Ricciardo +39.7s
- Stroll +48.2s
- Zhou +50.7s
- Gasly +52.1s
- Albon +52.4s
- Tsunoda +54.5s
- Latifi +68.6s
- Vettel RET
- Alonso DNS
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