Max Verstappen hoping for ‘clean start’ in Barcelona

Max Verstappen could take the championship lead at this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix should the result go in his favour.

Max Verstappen goes into this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix on the back of his third win of the season, after a dominant display at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix.

The Dutchman recovered from reliability issues during free practice to put his car in third spot for the race.

Verstappen started behind both Ferrari drivers, however, he was past Carlos Sainz by the time they reached Turn 2 on the opening lap.

By lap 9 the 2021 World Champion was into the lead, after overtaking title rival Charles Leclerc with ease.

READ: Mercedes run ‘high-load’ package at Paul Ricard ahead of Barcelona upgrades

His victory in Miami means he has staggeringly won every race he’s finished so far this season, having retired from the Bahrain and Australian Grand Prix.

Both of the Red Bull Racing driver’s retirements were down to reliability issues, not driver error.

Verstappen will be hoping for a “clean” weekend at the upcoming round; one that is incredibly special to the Dutchman.

Pole sitter Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari in qualifying parc ferme with third placed Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing. Miami Grand Prix, Saturday 7th May 2022..v1

The European leg of the season begins this weekend, with the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the circuit where back in 2016 Verstappen claimed his first-ever victory in Formula 1.

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The 2016 race is remembered famously for a number of reasons.

It was the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix where Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg crashed out of the race on the opening lap, after Hamilton spun into Rosberg having been forced off the circuit by the German driver.

This incident opened the door to Verstappen, who incredibly won his first race in Formula 1 in his first Grand Prix with Red Bull.

Verstappen was promoted to the team early in the season from Toro Rosso, after being swapped with Daniil Kvyat.

The Spanish Grand Prix therefore holds a very special place in the Dutchman’s heart, where he is hoping that the team can “keep the momentum going” from the previous rounds.

“We had an incredible week in Miami, I’ve had some time to rest with my family since and now I’m looking forward to driving in Barcelona again,” Verstappen said.

“I have a lot of good memories at the track, from my first win in Formula 1 back in 2016 when I was 18.

“Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is a track that we all know very well as a team, due to the amount of testing we have done there over the years so, unlike Miami, we have a substantial amount of data to use ahead of the race.

“Hopefully we can keep the momentum going from the last few races with a clean start from Friday onwards,” concluded the reigning World Champion