Nick van der Meulen, takes a look back at the most recent Formula One Grand Prix in his report F1 Review Spain 2022.

The sixth round of the 2022 F1 World Championship took place in Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain. The circuit is popular with the drivers, as they enjoy the long straights and the mixture of slow and fast corners. However, it is difficult to overtake and qualifying is important. Tyre conservation is generally a challenge. Once again this proved to be the case in qualifying, as well as the race due to the sweltering heat.

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A little TOO similar…

There were a couple of stories making headlines in the week leading up to the Grand Prix. The biggest of these were the upgrades made to the Aston Martin machine. The AMR22B looked remarkably similar to the Red Bull racer. There were a number of Red Bull employees who had been headhunted by Aston Martin and this was the reason provided for the similarity.

The Red Bull team, however, showed their disdain in a passive aggressive manner. Several teams members had cans of Red Bull Green Edition on display in Free Practice 2. It is clear that the “Green Bull” racer was not yet ripe, as both Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll failed to graduate from Qualifying 1 and did not bother the scorers on race day.

Click here to read about Lewis Hamilton’s call to host an F1 race in South Africa.

Charl… Charl… Chaaarrrllll

Another story making the headlines was Charles Leclerc’s disastrous run at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix. A brake disc of the Ferrari 312T (driven by Niki Lauda back in the day) he was piloting shattered. This pitched the Monegasque tail first into the outside wall at the Gasworks hairpin. Click here to watch the incident.

Leclerc came into the Spanish Grand Prix weekend with that hanging over his head, but brushed it aside with style, topping every time sheet going into qualifying. He made a mistake in Q3, spun his mount while accelerating from the final chicane. This left him with only one chance to post a quick time. He did so in style and blasted to pole position.


The Monegasque did everything right in the race, taking the lead at the start and easing away from his rivals. He looked to win comfortably, but his machine cried enough on Lap 27 and the Monegasque pulled into the pit box to retire. Despite his disappointment, he still took the time to console his team shortly afterwards. Teammate Carlos Sainz, despite being overshadowed by Leclerc at his home circuit, gave his legion of fans something to cheer about by finishing a distant fourth.

Handed victory

World-title holder Max Verstappen picked up the pieces following Leclerc’s retirement and cruised to his third victory of the season. He did have assistance from teammate Sergio Perez to make it happen, as George Russell (Mercedes) had proven to be feistier than expected. The Dutchman didn’t have an easy weekend, however: he had a power issue in qualifying (Q3) that may have cost him pole position. He also had a DRS issue early in the race which sent him through the gravel, indicating that the Red Bull machine is not yet invincible.

Perez played the team game and the team was rewarded with their second 1-2 of the season. But the Mexican was not too pleased and indicated over the radio that there be a discussion over the team dynamic behind closed doors. Obviously, he felt he could have won the race. However, being 38 points behind Leclerc and 19 points behind Verstappen coming into this round, it is clear who the team is favouring in the attempt to reclaim the world championship – and rightfully so.

On the up?

Mercedes had a slight resurgence at the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, with their upgrades bearing fruit. Both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell showed signs of improvement, with Hamilton being upbeat. The two Englishmen showed decently in qualifying, however, it was Russell who outshone his illustrious teammate throughout the weekend.

He ran a strong third for most of the race and spent time leading the race, robustly defending his position against Verstappen. The pit stops, though, made the difference and the Red Bull racers could keep Russell at arm’s reach. Hamilton had to work hard in the race, following an ambitious passing attempt by Kevin Magnussen (Haas-Ferrari) on Lap 1. The Dane clumsily tripping over the Englishman and forced both to pit.

Hamilton worked hard to move up to fourth position on the penultimate lap, before both Mercedes drivers received radio messages warning them of overheating issues “with DNF implications” on the penultimate lap. Hamilton backed off and Sainz pounced to take fourth position at the fall of the chequered flag.

Strong run

Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo-Ferrari) ran in a strong fourth position for much of the race, but did not stop for the third time for tyres, as his rivals had. As a result, he was lapping up to three seconds per lap slower than both Mercedes and Sainz, and had to be content with finishing sixth. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) finished an anonymous seventh ahead of Lando Norris (McLaren-Mercedes), Fernando Alonso (Alpine; who started last) and Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri).

New leader

Verstappen takes the lead of the world championship following his victory and Leclerc’s non-score, the Dutchman leads by six points. Perez lies 19 points behind Leclerc, while Russell is only 11 points behind the Mexican. Sainz rounds off the top five in the standings, nine points behind Russell.

The next round of the F1 world championship, at the legendary street circuit of Monaco, is barely a week away. It is the slowest circuit on the calendar and notoriously difficult to overtake at, however, the pizzazz surrounding the event makes it extremely popular with drivers and celebrities. Local lad Charles Leclerc failed to make the start last season after qualifying in pole position – will he finally be able to overcome the bad luck he has endured there?