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Penalties and Pole Positions: The Spanish Grand Prix

The Spanish Grand Prix kicked off the triple-header, with Austria and Great Britain coming up in the following weeks. From lights out to the chequered flag, the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya was home to endless surprises. 

Prior to the race weekend, some drivers gained upgrades, while others had setbacks. Logan Sargeant finally had equal components to his teammate, Alex Albon, during the weekend in Spain. Williams has had a tough year, but with all car components now intact, race-improving upgrades are sure to be on their way. 

Sergio Perez wasn’t as lucky before the weekend, as he was given a three-place grid penalty due to his crash during the Canadian Grand Prix. The incident report stated that Perez was told by his team to return to the pits with a damaged car in order for Max Verstappen to win the race, avoiding a safety car. In Spain, Perez managed to qualify in eighth place, pushing him back to start the race from the 11th spot.

Qualifying went extremely well for the papaya driver, Lando Norris. He managed to secure his second-ever pole position, putting him in the front row for the race. Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton followed in the respective spots, with Hamilton outqualifying his teammate George Russell for the first time this season.

Lando Norris, Max Verstappen, and Lewis Hamilton posing for their top three qualifying positions. Courtesy of Mercedes Media Centre/ Jiri Krenek.

Oscar Piastri was not as lucky as his teammate during qualifying, with him not managing to set a time in Q3, pushing him to 10th place. His two laps at the end of the session fell short, one due to track limits and him flying into the gravel in the other. Piastri did manage to move up one spot due to Perez’s penalty, but he still had to fight from a farther place on the grid. 

Carlos Sainz managed to qualify in sixth place, but it’s obvious he wanted to do more. The Spanish driver surely wanted to impress at his final home race with Ferrari, but he set a good time regardless. Ferrari has seemed to be struggling since Charles Leclerc’s win in Monaco, but they will hopefully find their pace in the weeks to come.

The first turn hosted a wild start to the race, with Russell managing to maneuver through the chaos, going from fourth to first place. It was a brilliant move from the Mercedes driver, and while he didn’t manage to maintain the position, it was an exciting start to get fans amped up.

Norris did not manage to secure a win from his pole position, as Verstappen clinched yet another victory, putting him at a total of 61 career wins. The competition is a lot closer than it was last season, but Verstappen's talent cannot be questioned from his moves during the past few races. 

Max Verstappen celebrating his 61st career win with the Red Bull team. Courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool/ Getty Images.

It has been an exciting few weeks for Mercedes fans, as Russell claimed the pole position in Canada and the team’s first podium finish of the season. The excitement continues, as Hamilton secured his first third-place podium finish this year. The car seems to be improving as the weeks go on, and the two drivers don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

Lewis Hamilton celebrating his first podium finish of the season at the Spanish Grand Prix. Courtesy of Mercedes Media Centre/Sam Bloxham.

With Norris claiming second place in the race, he has now surpassed Leclerc in the drivers’ championship standings, putting him directly behind Verstappen. McLaren’s current standing compared to where the team stood last year is a huge improvement, and each week seems to be inching closer to the team’s next win. 

With two races coming up back-to-back, there is more opportunity for possible new pole sitters and race winners. This season has become one no one expected and with the competition only getting closer each week, one can only hope that more exciting races are to come.

Edited by Breanna Ebisch

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