With good qualifying results for both Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc on Saturday, the pair hoped to move forward from fifth and seventh in the race.
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Photos: Scuderia Ferrari.
As the lights went out both Ferrari drivers tried to make ground but ultimately held position, while pole sitter Ma Verstappen lost the lead to Hamilton after a mistake at the first corner. Carlos looked to challenge Sergio Perez for fourth, while Charles was busy holding off the Alpine of Fernando Alonso.
Throughout the opening laps Carlos and Charles had the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly in between them, who was able to keep within a second of Carlos’ fifth place. By lap 13, the two McLaren’s of Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris had caught up to Charles in seventh.
As drivers started to struggle on the Medium compound tyres, Charles dropped to eighth as Ricciardo got by. Charles then pitted for hards at the end of the lap, the first car to pit.
Re-joining the track in nineteenth, Charles now looked to make up some ground on fresher tyres. Sainz went a little longer into the stint, pitting on lap 18 for hards, re-joining in 15th, behind Ricciardo. After getting ahead of Ricciardo with the earlier stop, Charles now found himself in 13th.
Up front, Perez stayed out to take the lead, while Verstappen was able to get ahead of Hamilton thanks to an earlier stop than the Mercedes.
On lap 22, Charles got back into the points with a move for tenth on Kimi Raikkonen, before Ricciardo was held up by the Alfa Romeo. Both drivers were back in the points by lap 28, Charles hoping to jump the two Aston Martin’s in front who had yet to stop.
With Charles now beginning to struggle on the older Hard compound tyres, Carlos moved up into eight and set after Ricciardo’s McLaren. Charles then dropped down to eleventh, while Carlos had Gasly behind for company in ninth, losing out on lap 37.
Opting for a second stop on lap 40, Leclerc re-joined in 16th, while Carlos kept going in ninth. Up ahead, Verstappen was pushing on his second set of medium compound tyres, splitting the Mercedes and going after Hamilton’s lead, as Perez looked to close on the final podium position.
Unfortunately, as the race came into the closing stages, Carlos was outside the points in eleventh, while Charles could not improve from 16th.
At the end, Verstappen claimed the win for Red Bull after a late charge on a struggling Hamilton, while Perez took the final podium position ahead of Bottas in fourth.
A challenging day for the team on a circuit that took all the teams by surprise thanks to the high tyre wear.
Written by Cóilín Higgins.