Saturday’s eventful Qualifying left Mick Schumacher unable to race after a horrifying crash and shocked fans as Lewis Hamilton would have to start at P15. Sergio Perez gained pole position making history by becoming the first Mexican driver to start in P1.
Perez started strong gaining a two second lead on Charles Leclerc within the first 10 laps. He maintained the lead until he pitted, shortly after which Nicholas Latifi crashed bringing the safety car onto the track. Other drivers pitted following the crash allowing Leclerc to take P1 as Perez moved into P4.
Alpine’s drivers, Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso, appeared to shock their team as well as commentators by the “shade” between them. Ocon and spent the earlier part of the race attempting to pass Alonso only to give the position back after cutting a corner. Valtteri Bottas and Kevin Magnussen followed closely behind only to be overshadowed by the Alpine drivers’ continuing battle. The pair lost rank due to their pit stops following Latifi’s crash.
After being eliminated at Q1 Lewis Hamilton steadily worked his way from P15. Mercedes claimed to have experimented with Hamilton’s car leading him to “struggle with the balance of the car.” Mercedes chose not to make the same update to George Russell’s car enabling him to maintain his placement after the Red Bulls and Ferraris. Hamilton pulled into P6 putting the Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes teams up front once again. Both Hamilton and Magnussen started the race with hard tires allowing them to quickly move up in the ranks. Magnussen pitted after Daniel Ricciardo’s car lost power causing the safety car to make a second appearance. Alonso’s car also stopped working. Hamilton did not rush to pit backing himself into a corner as he had to pit following the safety car’s exit knocking him down to P12.
Max Verstappen taunted LeClerc by pulling up alongside him as the safety car exited on Lap 20– a move Verstappen used to win the championship last season. LeClerc maintained P1 despite Verstappen’s tactics and quickly gained a one second lead.
Verstappen radioed his team throughout the race to complain about a Ferrari car’s lack of lights, something being unfair, as well as raised other inaudible concerns. LeClerc briefly let Verstappen pass him on Lap 42 to take advantage DRS in the next turn.
He baited Verstappen a second time and although he did not fall for it, Verstappen’s tires locked up allowing LeClerc to continue in P1. The two battled for First for the remainder of the race with Verstappen pulling into P1. Albon collided with Lance Stroll on Lap 49 causing a yellow flag securing Verstappen’s First place win. Leclerc took second and Carlos Sainz secured third to give Ferrari the lead in the constructor’s championship.