Spanish GRAND PRIX 13.05.18
Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
“This is more like it” (Lewis Hamilton)
1. LEWIS HAMILTON (Mercedes)
2. VALTTERI BOTTAS (Mercedes)
3. MAX VERSTAPPEN (Red Bull)
4. SEBASTIAN VETTEL (Ferrari)
5. DANIEL RICCIARDO (Red Bull)
6. KEVIN MAGNUSSEN (Haas)
7. CARLOS SAINZ JR (Renault)
8. FERNANDO ALONSO (McLaren)
9. SERGIO PEREZ (Force India)
10. CHARLES LECLERC (Sauber)
Driver: Daniel Ricciardo for Red Bull
Lewis Hamilton took his first convincing win of the season today in Spain, his second win in a row - extending his lead in the championship to 17 points. Mercedes took a 1-2 on the podium, while Ferrari had a difficult day with Vettel slipping to 4th and Raikkonen failing to finish. Red Bull kept the 3-team Formula One championship fight alive with 3rd and 5th place.
Despite damaging his front wing mid-race (after a collision with Lance Stroll) Max Verstappen drove well, holding off pressure from Vettel and making a spirited challenge for 2nd – finishing 3rd - taking his first podium so far this season.
Vettel began in 3rd place on the grid, overtaking Bottas at the start to take 2nd. However, he dropped to 4th when he made a necessary, but ill-timed pit (his second) for fresh tyres on Lap 42 and emerged behind Verstappen.
“We were going through the tyres too quickly, so we were not able to stay out for another 23 laps.”
Raikkonen had also been in 2nd place when he suffered an engine failure on Lap 24 – forcing him to retire.
A multi-vehicle crash at the start was caused by Haas’ Romain Grosjean losing control of his car, then spinning several times. Hulkenberg had done his best to avoid the car, but his rear wheel was caught, then Pierre Gasly crashed into the side of the Haas – putting them all out of the race - leaving the rest of the drivers with debris and the safety car. Grosjean received a 3-place grid penalty for the next race for causing the crash.
Hulkenberg was unimpressed by Grosjean: “Generally he likes spinning, but on the first lap is not a good time to do it with everyone there. He has to look at it and do some work on himself.”
Hamilton, avoided the chaos at the start, making an impressive ‘get away’ and achieving a 1.4 second lead by the end of the first racing lap. Though he wasn’t the only success of the early safety car restart; Alonso, with his new turbocharger, made the overtaking pass of the race, passing Ocon around the outside of the fast Turn 3, he then fought past Sauber’s Leclerc for 8th place. Leclerc finished 10th - in the points for the second time in his debut season.
The Spanish Grand Prix is the point of the first car upgrades; Ferrari now have wing mirrors on the halo, Red Bull have re-sited radiators and reprofiled sidepods (Ricciardo “if it is not faster, at least we’re going to look cool!”) and McLaren have a radical new ‘nose’ design. Mercedes have made some important refinements, believed to aid with downforce – but these are not obvious - according to Toto Wolff “Sometimes what looks funky isn’t the biggest contributor in terms of downforce.”
It is too soon to judge the success of these upgrades – perhaps we’ll learn more in Monaco?
Next up Monte Carlo!!
Our next great adventure after Monaco is at the British Grand Prix on the 8th July 2018, we hope to see you there.