After starting from pole, and once it became clear well before the closing laps that his medium tires would hold, Verstappen dominated to take his 14th win of 2022 and set a new record for wins in a single season.

Protagonist Sergio Perez finished third ahead of George Russell, with the Ferrari drivers a minute behind the finish in fifth and sixth.

At the start, Verstappen charged well in front of Russell and spun right in front of the Mercedes for a very long distance down to the first corner – Russell benefiting from the Red Bull slipstream and ahead of Hamilton and Perez.

Just before they braked for Turn 1, Russell moved left to the outside line, but ended up simply following Verstappen through the right-hander and deep into the grass drain on the outside.

While Verstappen ran unchallenged, Russell bounced over the curbs at Turn 2 and Hamilton was on top of it with his team-mate to take the lead with a better drive at Turn 3.

There, Russell kept pace with Hamilton but ran out of room and had to go over the curbs, causing him to lose momentum and be jumped by Perez at Turn 4 at the end of the second straight.

Verstappen was immediately out of DRS danger at the end of the first lap with 71, and Hamilton started the chase, starting on medium tires like Russell, compared to the used soft tires fitted to the two Red Bulls.

In the next stage of the race, the gap between the leaders fluctuated slightly but generally stayed around 1.5s as Perez and Russell drifted for a few more seconds and fell further behind during the first stint.

Towards the end of the first quarter of the race, Verstappen increased the pace to overtake Mercedes, but Hamilton was able to hold on for just over two seconds before the leaders began to give way.

From a maximum of 2.4s, Verstappen’s lead had shrunk to 1.6s by the time he rejoined at the end of lap 25 – one lap after Perez pitted and suffered a slow left-rear change, resulting in it remained in place for 5.0 s.

By using a firmer tyre, Mercedes dropped Hamilton – his drivers did not show the dark wear spots that were evident on Verstappen’s left-front soft tire before he stopped.

But Hamilton stayed out for a further four laps before being pulled over to switch to solid tyres, with Mercedes instead keeping Russell out to complete a much longer first leg.

So he led by the end of lap 34, with Verstappen retaking the lead by the half-distance mark by nearly seven seconds, and Hamilton under more pressure from Perez, who was running close behind – the Mexican clearing a pair of off-the-pace Ferraris. after his slow stop.

Hamilton has suggested that the hards are not performing as well as the mediums he abandoned, while Mercedes in turn suggests that the drop in performance recorded at the end of his first stint could give him a chance to catch Verstappen at the end.

It looked a very tough ask at 15, with Hamilton almost 10 seconds behind the dominant leader, but could at least keep Perez at arm’s length just a few seconds behind.

Indeed, the status quo continued, with Hamilton questioning whether his set of solid tires was the correct compound and Mercedes insisting it was down to its extra strength on a single stud.

But with Verstappen continuing to drop a few tenths behind each lap as the leaders fought their way through traffic, he had a 12.1s lead with 15 laps to go.

As it turned out, Mercedes’ hopes of a dramatic drop in pace for Red Bull never materialized and Verstappen stormed back to win by 15.1 seconds to complete a dramatic 46-lap final on the mediums.

A late race stop for Fernando Alonso, who was running comfortably in seventh place before an engine problem caused him to lose pace and eventually stop at the second turn 1, caused little disruption, apart from the brief activation of the virtual safety machine on lap 65 -66 as Alpine was quickly taken behind the curtains.

Perez found himself 2.9 seconds behind Hamilton, who was even further behind shortly before the VSC, while Russell was fourth and also disappointed that he would have to run hard in the second stanza.

It ended up being just his average stay as Mercedes released Russell on the softs to take the final lap for the fastest lap bonus point, which the Briton duly secured in 1m20.153s.

Carlos Sainz led Charles Leclerc home in the anonymous race for Ferrari – the Spaniard was 58.8s clear of Verstappen and the only action for the pair was to pass Perez after the stop, with Sainz doing the same to Alonso after his own pass to move from the soft on environments.

Leclerc was the last car on the lead lap and 10 seconds behind his team-mate, the drama to the finish involved McLaren’s Daniel Ricciard.

He made the second-longest start in the middle events, staying on lap 45, then was fast on the softs, but made a big mistake, hitting Yuki Tsunoda at turn 6 a few laps after the pit stop.

As AlphaTauri retired to the pits, Ricciardo was handed a 10-second additional penalty, which he overcame by making his way onto the field after being waved by teammate Lando Norris, who was completing the middleweight strategy.

Ricciardo made pass after pass – including taking part in Alonso’s turn 1 double just before the Spaniard retired, while team-mate Esteban Ocon moved ahead of Ricciardo at turn 1 before, in his turn, was caught and bypassed by the Australian.

From there, in the clean air, Ricciardo charged and eventually finished 12.1s ahead of Ocon to clear his penalty.

Norris and Valtteri Bottas, who dropped back on the first lap after qualifying well and then battled the Alpines in the early and middle stages of the race before dropping back to complete the top 10.

Tsunoda was the only other retirement in the race.

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