In the last ten years, there have been ten different winners at the Spanish Grand Prix. If history had anything to say, Sunday’s race might be someone new. The first lap collision between Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen meant that the possibility, statistically, got better for a new winner and perhaps in the form of Valtteri Bottas who was involved in the collision but not damaged. History was beaten Sunday as Lewis won his 55th race.
The race could be reduced to a tactical nightmare for strategists on whether a 2-stop race or 3-stop race was the right call given the large pace delta between the soft and medium tire.
Lewis Hamilton dodged a bullet with a superior race strategy from Mercedes (soft, med, soft) to reduce the drivers’ championship to just six points with his win in Spain.
The race was always going to be a tactical nightmare for race strategists bit for Mercedes, they had to cover Vettel’s better long-run pace on the soft compounds and also manage the traffic when you stop and that’s where Lewis Hamilton and his race engineer pulled the race out of the bag. There’s nothing easy about race strategy and especially at this race so beating a faster Ferrari on softs is a big achievement.
A win for Lewis Hamilton who had to put in a grinding and gutsy drive to victory with a superior race strategy call from Mercedes. Could Mercedes have gotten their head around what plagued Lewis in Russia and their tire degradation issues? A few races ago, running that long on softs may not have been as easy as it seemed today.
A win for Daniel Ricciardo who gave Red Bull its first podium of the year finishing third by staying fast and in the hunt all race long.
A big win for Force India—or should I say Brabham…potentially—with both drivers in the points with Perez in fourth and Ocon, the rookie, in fifth. A great run for a team that NBC Sports said were moving backwards with their upgrades…apparently not. The best team result for the team this year. It was Sergio Perez’s 15th points finish in a row! Esteban Ocon had his best finish in fifth in his fifth race for the team. A terrific performance for Ocon.
A win for Daniil Kvyat who started at the back of the grid and finished in the points with an aggressive drive forward in a car that he said he didn’t like at all on Saturday. His teammate, Carlos Sainz, who also had a great day finishing ahead of Daniil in 7th.
A big win for Ferrari and Kimi Raikkonen who invited the little race fan into the pits to meet his hero. Poor little guy was in tears and inconsolable when Kimi was out at turn one and Ferrari took the time to make his day a little brighter. Great job Ferrari!
A win for the Mercedes quality desk that Toto Wolff pounds on relentlessly.
A huge win for Pascal Wehrlein to score points for Sauber in 8th giving the team a seriously needed points haul with a very spirited drive. The one-stopper paid dividends coupled with a great drive.
A win for Haas F1 to get Grosjean in the points but it could have been a dual-points finish if Magnussen hadn’t had the tire puncture.
A fail for Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen for exiting the race in turn one. It may not have been totally their fault as Bottas pressed both but failing to finish the race is an overall fail and Ferrari could have really used Kimi tactically in the race.
As much as Mercedes and Hamilton’s correct read on the traffic and race strategy, Ferrari just missed out on the right call with Sebastian Vettel left on medium compounds to the end fo the race. The traffic, as well as Bottas, put just enough of a drag on Vettel’s race to relegate him to second. This is also where Ferrari could have used Kimi Raikkonen to run blocker and neutralize the impact Bottas had on Vettel’s race.
A fail for a blown engine for Bottas but with all deference to the team, it was an older engine.
A gutting fail for a small puncture late in the race for Kevin Magnussen who was beating his teammate, Grosjean, all weekend and left him out of the points. Kevin tried a pass on Kvyat but hit the Russian causing a puncture.
A fail for Jolyon Palmer who’s teammate muscled his way up to 6th place giving Renault points while Palmer could only manage 15th. Sirotkin may be looking better and better.
A fail for Williams for both cars being out of the points. It may not be a track that flatters the car but they need the points because Force India is becoming the best of the rest. Williams now slide behind Toro Rosso in the points.
A fail for Honda who couldn’t give Fernando Alonso the shove to capitalize on his qualifying result as they finished in 12th and outside the points. Alonso was positive and said reliability was improved.
I’m not quite sure why, with over a minute to Ricciardo, Ferrari didn’t gamble and pit for softs to make a run at Lewis. Perhaps they were banking on Hamilton hitting the wall with their known tire degradation and running long on softs but it seems that Mercedes have possibly solved their tire degradation issues…in Spain at least.
A WTH for Stoffel Vandoorne who clouted Felipe Massa at turn one. Not sure how he didn’t see Massa there and it ended the McLaren’s race.
A WTH moment for Haas F1 race engineer who was very animated on the radio to Kevin Magnussen and then told Kevin to calm down…problem was, Kevin was totally calm. Very funny moment.
Spanish GP Results:
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m13.978s|
|4||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|5||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|6||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||1 Lap|
|7||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1 Lap|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1 Lap|
|10||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|11||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||2 Laps|
|12||Fernando Alonso||McLaren/Honda||2 Laps|
|13||Felipe Massa||Williams/Mercedes||2 Laps|
|14||Kevin Magnussen||Haas/Ferrari||2 Laps|
|15||Jolyon Palmer||Renault||2 Laps|
|16||Lance Stroll||Williams/Mercedes||2 Laps|
|–||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||Power Unit|
|–||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||Collision|