by F1 correspondent Michael Butterworth
BEIJING, June 4 (Xinhua) -- Red Bull's Max Verstappen scored his third consecutive win in the 2023 F1 World Championship, taking a dominant lights-to-flag victory in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.
Having topped all three practice sessions and qualified on pole position with ease, Verstappen was the hot favorite for victory on Sunday, and the Dutchman duly delivered, heading off the threat from Carlos Sainz at the first corner to take a comprehensive win and extend his commanding lead in the Drivers' Championship.
"It's a big pleasure to drive with a car like this. I think it showed again today," said Verstappen, who also took home the bonus point for fastest lap.
"We had quite a lot of different strategies out there. For most of the race we were on the right one but a win here, it's incredible.
"I had the harder compound so I knew the start would be a bit tricky. Going around the outside at Turn One is always quite difficult but luckily nothing happened.
"We had another strong weekend and that's what I like to see from myself and the team, so hopefully we can keep that up throughout the year."
Behind Verstappen, the two Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished a solid second and third, with the Silver Arrows' revised W14 working well around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Outside the top three, Verstappen's teammate Sergio Perez salvaged fourth after starting only 11th following a poor qualifying session, and the Mexican's slim chance of challenging Verstappen for this season's Drivers' Championship already looks to be gone after two underwhelming weekends in a row.
Ferrari's Sainz took fifth at his home Grand Prix, but will be disappointed about not having achieved more after starting the race from second on the grid.
The two Aston Martins of Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso took sixth and seventh on an off-day for the Silverstone outfit, with Esteban Ocon eighth for Alpine.
Alfa Romeo's Zhou Guanyu finished a solid ninth for his second points finish of the season, with Ocon's teammate Pierre Gasly rounding out the top ten.
For the second time so far this season, there were no retirements, with all 20 drivers seeing the chequered flag.
Verstappen's fifth win of the season sees him extend his lead in the standings, and the Dutchman now sits on 170 points. Perez stays second on 117, with Alonso third on 99 points.
In the Constructors' Championship, Red Bull's commanding lead now stands at 287 points. Mercedes' strong result sees them consolidate second place on 152 points, with Aston Martin third on 134.
The eighth round of the 2023 F1 World Championship is the Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal on June 18.