Formula 1 Racing

Sainz leads Leclerc home for Ferrari 1-2, Verstappen retires early

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20 the field at the start

After he took the lead from Verstappen on the second lap with a pass around the outside at Turn 10, Sainz maintained the lead throughout the entirety of the race – and his victory in the 58-lap race was enshrined a lap early when George Russell crashed out at Turn 6 to produce a virtual safety car.

A mere two weeks after having his appendix removed which caused him to miss the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Sainz returned to the top step of the podium for the third time in his F1 career, following his victory in Singapore last year.

Although Verstappen had preserved the lead off pole, waving away any wafts of a move from Sainz in the opening lap, the championship leader was unable to break out of DRS range after the first lap and thus gave the chasing Ferrari momentum.

Complaining that he’d ‘lost the car’ for a moment on the second lap alongside the Lakeside Drive section of the circuit, Sainz was able to barrel past the Red Bull with DRS open and collect the lead for his efforts.

Verstappen reported further issues with his Red Bull, which had started to precipitate the emergence of smoke from the back, which intensified around the rear-right corner of his car.

He then began to slow significantly as it became apparent that his brakes had caught fire, and he trundled back to the pits as the hub started to shed debris to retire.

This blew the race wide open, although Sainz had already taken the initiative and started to break-build to atone for missing out on pole on Saturday, putting a gap over Lando Norris to ensure he had breathing space when it came to the opening pitstop phase.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20 the field at the start

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Norris had been under fire from Leclerc but, as the Ferrari driver stopped at the end of the ninth lap, focused on retaining tyre life and hung it out on the mediums until the end of the 14th lap.

This gave Leclerc the undercut, putting the Ferraris in the top two positions; Sainz pitted at the end of lap 16 to ensure he maintained the lead over his rapidly chasing team-mate.

A virtual safety car shortly after Sainz’s stop, produced for a slowing Hamilton as the Mercedes driver suffered an engine problem, brought Leclerc close to Sainz and with a sniff of making a move at the restart, but the Spaniard kept him at arm’s length before restoring his advantage.

Sainz got his lead up to 8.7 seconds before Leclerc stopped for a second time on lap 34…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at – Formula 1 – Stories…