Max Ferstappen is leading in the Formula One World Championship with a six-point lead, winning the Spanish Grand Prix after Charles Leclerc resigned due to a power unit problem.

Polesie Leclerc was spinning with a comfortable 13-second lead when an “unresolved problem with PU” forced him to return to boxing for his first DNF after last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

But it was George Russell, not Ferstappen, who inherited the lead when Leclerc left the field.

The Briton failed to start third in the beginning of the race, when on the 9th lap a gust of wind tore Ferstappen on the gravel at the 4th turn, pushing Mercedes to the second.

This was not Ferstappen’s only problem. The problem with DRS’s failure to open, which prevented it from passing the final lap in the 3rd quarter on Saturday afternoon, has periodically returned, despite some repairs earlier Sunday.

This prevented the Dutchman from taking advantage of a super-effective system of reducing traction in headwinds on the front line and contributed to Russell’s defensive work in the pursuit of what had suddenly become a battle for leadership.

Ferstappen was outraged by the unreliability of his car, blowing up the team for failing to “even get the DRS to work” as he drove uncertainly along the curbs in pursuit of the silver car ahead.

He caught it on lap 24 and dived inside Russell on Turn 1, but Russell, who had been covering Ferstappen’s attacks for several laps, kept around outside the Red Bull rider to regain the top at Turn 2 and return to the race track for Turn 3. Ferstappen hid behind him, but suffered from an excessive turn in the center of the corner, which cost him momentum.

There were even more frustrating radio exchanges, and a dead end led Sergio Perez to a fight on fresher tires, at which point the Mexican asked Ferstappen to skip it to continue his race.

The team was not interested, and after they waited a little longer, decided to change course, switching Ferstappen from a two-stop strategy to three stops to take advantage of the RB18 pace.

The stop on lap 28 dropped him to fourth, but a single use of the used software kit brought him back to the lead when Russell and Perez made the second stops. With fresh air he was quick enough to get out of the pit and rejoin the race ahead of Mercedes at his third and final stop.

Perez, who slipped past Russell with his DRS worker in the middle department, was the only car left in front of Ferstappen, but radio reports ensured the Mexican was taken off the road without a fight: “It’s very unfair, but good,” Perez said, recalling a previous reluctance teams facilitate their way in the race – to ensure that Ferstappen can take the flag without hindrance.

“A difficult start, but a good end,” Ferstappen said. “I tried to stay focused. Of course, it is unpleasant when such things happen (problems with DRS).

“We managed to work out a strategy to get ahead again, hold our own race and eventually win the race.”

Perez took the flag second, but was unhappy that his race had been compromised for his teammate, believing he could win the Grand Prix.

“I think it was close,” he said. “But in the end it’s a great team result and I’m happy for it.”

Russell took third place as the leading driver of the “Mercedes” and for the first time this season was more or less in the lead, even if he could not live with Ferstappen when the Dutchman was in the fresh air.

“I would like to say [Mercedes is back]but it was very difficult today, ”Russell said. “I gave everything I could.

“I am so proud to be standing here. The guys worked so hard. Everyone in Brackley and Brixworth: thank you. “

Carlos Sainz took fourth place as a cold consolation for Ferrari. The Spaniard was introduced to the gravel, as was Ferstappen on the 6th lap, dropping him to 11th, but a strong middle ground on two sets of medium tires pulled him back through the pack.

Lewis Hamilton identified him in place with six laps before the run, but the Mercedes driver was instructed to aggressively get up and go on the trail to avoid a power unit failure on the last two wheels, allowing the Ferrari driver to take his seat again.

Hamilton finished an excellent fifth after an accident on the first lap with Kevin Magnussen, who sent him and the Haas driver to the back of the field by a significant margin.

Hamilton asked his team to consider canceling the car to save the engine, but he was told points for eighth place were possible – although his pace was so strong in the upgraded Mercedes that he recorded just 12 seconds behind his teammate, who took the podium.

Walter Botas finished sixth in a rare two-stop strategy – a tactic the Alfa Romeo driver regretted was wrong as Science and Hamilton swept past him at the end of the race.

Esteban Ocon finished seventh, regaining five places in the net, thanks in part to a great run that got three places off the line.

Landa Norris was eighth at McLaren despite an illness over the weekend, Fernando Alonso followed him and got two more points in ninth, while Yuki Tsunoda finished top 10.

Sebastian Vettel beat Daniel Ricciardo and finished 11th, followed by Pierre Gasley and quickly dropping Mick Schumacher, who dropped from ninth and potentially first career points to 14th in the last 11 laps.

Lance Stroll was 15th, ahead of Nicolas Latifi, Kevin Magnussen and Alex Albon.

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