Max Verstappen will be aiming to move even closer to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc at Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix. The Monegasque driver is currently in the lead, 19 points ahead of Verstappen’s 85, at 104.
This lead was far bigger a few races ago, with Leclerc very comfortably ahead of Verstappen, where after Australia he was ahead of Verstappen by 46 points. Despite the huge lead, all was not as it seems, as Verstappen suffered two dramatic late retirements in Bahrain and Australia, with Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez suffering the same fate in Bahrain.
Red Bull are currently 6 points behind Ferrari in the Constructor’s championship. Another person who suffered from retirements was Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, retiring extremely early in both Australia, after beaching the car on lap 2, and in Imola after a collision with Daniel Ricciardo following the start of the race.
Towards the end of the 2021 season, Verstappen was comfortably in the lead and experienced a rather similar situation as Leclerc is right now, where the development of the other car had begun to catch up with him. Lewis Hamilton had won several races in a row and equalized the score until his streak was broken by Verstappen in Abu Dhabi.
Talking about his title battle with Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen said: “At the end of last year, of course, I was the one who was being hunted. That was actually not a great position because I knew that we didn’t have the pace anymore. I knew it was going to be very tricky to the end.“
Max Verstappen backs himself and Red Bull to repeat the heroics of last year
In the follow-up to the previous question, Verstappen also added: “I like the position I’m in at the moment, knowing that the car is quick, and for example, at the end of last year, of course, I was the one who was being hunted [by Hamilton].”
Red Bull are currently ahead of Ferrari in the development battle, with Ferrari not having brought ‘major’ upgrades to the car. This is set to change in Spain, where both teams will be bringing upgrades. Aside from these two, Mercedes will also be bringing upgrades. It is said that the RB18 is set to hit optimum weight in Spain, which is 798 kilograms.
Mercedes have won seven out of the last 8 races at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The sole win they did not take was in 2016, where Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton collided, both retiring, while Rosberg was in the lead of the championship he would eventually win.
On that occasion, Verstappen came out on top in his debut for Red Bull, after he swapped seats with Daniil Kvyat. This is his only win at the circuit as of yet. As for Ferrari, the last time they won at the venue was in 2013, with Fernando Alonso taking victory in his home race. This was Alonso’s 32nd victory, and as of now? His last.