Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc started on pole position, with Verstappen lining up alongside him on the starting grid. Both Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg both started from the pitlane after making changes to their cars.
Leclerc nailed the race start and was out front as the drivers crossed the line to complete the opening pal. Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, Mercedes’ George Russell, Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, Alpine’s Pierre Gasly and AlphaTauri’s Nyck de Vries all making good progress and climbing up the order.
But going into lap four, Verstappen overtook Leclerc on the straight in a very easy move to put the Red Bull back out front, showcasing its superior race pace. Just a few laps later, Perez also managed to get past Leclerc and create a potential battle between the two Red Bull drivers.
De Vries was the first driver to retire from the race, just a matter of seconds after Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton dived into the pitlane. The safety car was brought out and Verstappen had just pitted, dropping him down to third when the other cars around him too their ‘free’ stop.
On the restart, Perez was ahead of Leclerc, with Verstappen passing the Ferrari swiftly afterwards.
At the halfway point, Perez remained in the lead of the race, just over a second ahead of Verstappen. Leclerc was a further 12 seconds back from Verstappen, with a battle with Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso for third looking more likely than a battle for second.
Not much happened in the second half of the race, the highlight being McLaren’s Lando Norris getting past Hulkenberg for the final points paying position in the tenth.
There was almost a disaster at the end of the race as Alpine’s Esteban Ocon dived into the pitlane to make a pitstop, with team personnel and photographers freely walking around and rushing to get out of the way of Ocon. Luckily, nobody was injured.
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