• Cold Chronicle in Montmeló: the Mercedes snatch the podium from Sainz and Alonso finishes seventh

Behind the Red Bull garages, while the Montmeló crowd paraded towards the car parks, a Max Verstappen mechanic took a breather and a colleague of his, Checo Pérez's mechanic, appeared. "This guy is incredible," he said, pointing to a Verstappen sign, and the two laughed together.

Possibly both were referring to the scene lived during the race, a scene that perfectly exemplified the absolute, unbreakable, overwhelming dominance that the Dutchman exercises in the current Formula 1. In first position, always in first position, Verstappen was warned up to three times – twice in turn 5 and one in turn 10 – for having exceeded the limits of the track and, therefore, at the end, they pointed out a black and white flag. Nothing important, really. Just a warning. But if he left the asphalt again he could receive a penalty of several positions and lose the victory that was already his.

By radio, his team told him of the danger, told him that he was more than 15 seconds ahead of the second, Lewis Hamilton, and asked him to brake. And what did Verstappen do? He stepped on the accelerator like crazy, set a record in one of the three sectors and achieved the fastest lap. "Okay, man, now you can be calm and finish the race," his engineer told him over the radio, Gianpiero Lambiasand, then, when Hamilton snatched the fastest lap, he did not dare to tell him.

Sainz's first corner

"Driving this car is a great pleasure. I think we have always followed the right strategy. Winning here is always magnificent," said Verstappen, who celebrated the first victory of his life in Formula 1 at this circuit, seven years ago, just as he jumped from Toro Rosso to Red Bull. "The three warnings for exceeding the limits of the track are things that happen. The team has informed me, but they don't know how fast I can go and I could really go faster without leaving. So that's what I've done. When I finished that fastest lap we all laughed, "said the reigning champion, with total control of what happens on the asphalt. In fact, if there was an instant, a single moment, in which he could be overtaken was in the first corner, when Carlos Sainz, in second place on the grid, was placed right next to him to threaten him. "I went out on harder tyres, I knew I had to defend the position and I did it," he said.

With his win, five in the first seven races, even better than last year, Verstappen dominates the World Championship with 53 points ahead of his teammate, Checo Pérez, and 71 points over Fernando Alonso, who remains third. There are some other circuits ahead that choked him in 2022, such as Silverstone, Singapore or Sao Paulo, but in his current form it seems unlikely that he will lose the title.

  • Max Verstappen

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