MONTMERO, Spain — Max Werther, the reigning world champion, won his third straight Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday after Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari malfunctioned while comfortably leading Stappen (Max Verstappen) regained the Formula 1 points lead.
Verstappen, however, needed an assist from Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez for his fourth win of the season. Perez took the lead after Leclerc gave up the race when his team told him to let Verstappen pass on lap 49 of 66.
“It’s not fair, but that’s okay,” Perez told his team.
Perez could have won his third career win but finished second ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell.
Verstappen has passed Leclerc in the standings and is now six points ahead after six races.
“It wasn’t easy to start the game, but we turned it around,” said Verstappen, who has won at Imola and Miami. “Thanks to the team for a great job, thanks to Checo (Perez), he is a fantastic teammate.”
Leclerc defended his pole position from the start and Verstappen was off the track early. But disaster struck when Leclerc’s car lost power on lap 27 and he screamed “No! No! No! What happened?”
Lewis Hamilton, who has won the title here the past five years, was knocked out by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz after the seven-time world champion was knocked out after Mercedes needed a tyre change on lap 1. Sainz) and finished fifth. Collision with Kevin Magnussen’s Haas.
Verstappen seemed to have to settle for a podium to cut his losses after leaving the track and onto the gravel road, an incident his team blamed on a gust of wind.
Things got even worse for the Dutch driver when the same DRS flap failure ruined his chances of trying a final lap in qualifying on Saturday. He couldn’t get past Russell in a thrilling duel at the time.
“We couldn’t even get the (expletive) DRS to work, it’s unbelievable,” Verstappen shouted on the team radio as Leclerc pushed forward and put on new tires without losing the lead.
But Verstappen’s fortunes changed dramatically after Leclerc’s game broke out.