Charles Leclerc abandons his comfortable Spanish Grand Prix lead
BARCELONA, Spain — Charles Leclerc lost what looked like a routine victory at the Spanish Grand Prix when his Ferrari car lost power mid-race.
Leclerc was leading comfortably until lap 27, when his Ferrari slowed considerably.
Leclerc brought the car back into the pits to retire, opening up a huge opportunity for Max Verstappen and Red Bull to take the lead in both championships.
Before the race, Leclerc led Max Verstappen by 19 points in the drivers’ standings, while Ferrari were ahead of Red Bull by six.
Ferrari does not yet know what caused the power unit problem.
Before the retirement, an incredible drama had unfolded behind Leclerc.
First-seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and Kevin Magnussen collided on the opening lap, dropping them both to the back of the pack.
Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz then ran wide into the gravel at Turn 4, losing position, only for Verstappen to even several laps later.
Verstappen, whose car had intermittent problems with the drag reduction system overtaking assist, then spent most of the next stint trying to pass Mercedes’ George Russell, who returned the performance of his young career to keep the reigning world champion at bay for almost 15 rounds.