THE MOST IMPORTANT POINTS FROM THE SPANISH F1 GP 2020
Lewis Hamilton dominated, but he wasn’t the only driver with a lot to be proud of in the Spanish Grand Prix. We pick out the other stars, and those who’ll be glad to leave Barcelona. Lewis Hamilton dominated the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday to extend his advantage at the top of the Formula 1 standings to 37 points over Max Verstappen.
The most important points from the Spanish F1 GP 2020 – The Red Bull driver managed to split the two Mercedes after a lightning start put him ahead of Valtteri Bottas at the first corner, a position he would not relinquish.
Bottas also fell behind the Racing Point of Lance Stroll at the start to further compound his misery, but the Finn would recover this position to finish third, a result that saw him slip drop three more points to Verstappen and Hamilton in the title race.
Those are the facts of the race, but what were the main talking points to come out of the Spanish Grand Prix?
Mercedes – What temperature issues?
“Bring on the heat!” Toto Wolff playfully gloated when chatting to Christian Horner beneath the podium.
In a sense, this race was sweet revenge on Red Bull for Mercedes. So much was made of their weaknesses in hotter temperatures following the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, and even Toto Wolff said after qualifying on Saturday that Verstappen was the favourite for victory.
As things transpired however, Verstappen failed to provide the promised challenge. Hamilton controlled the opening stanza of the race and managed the gap back to the Dutchman, keeping it around the two-second mark.
As a result, Verstappen burned through his soft Pirelli tyres faster than he had hoped – the situation a complete role reversal from Silverstone a week previous.
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Ferrari – The amicable breakup that is becoming an angry, messy divorce
Following the opening five races of the 2020 season it would have been an understatement to say that Ferrari and Vettel struggling to get along. Well, in Spain things took a turn for the worse with Vettel being left dumbfounded by some of the questions and instructions he was receiving from the pit wall.
On track, Sunday was a much improved day for the German. Expertly managing his soft tyres across an incredibly lengthy second stint to make a one-stop strategy work.
The problem with this strategy became evident when, 20-laps into the stint, Ferrari informed Vettel of the fact that there was no plan to stop again.
Vettel was baffled when asked if he thought he could manage the tyres to the end as he had already been on the radio asking what the team wanted him to do pace-wise.
He explained he was told to manage, then to push as his rivals pitted and then finally asked if he could manage the tyres again. Vettel told them “we have nothing to lose” – that’s right, a Ferrari with nothing to lose. How the mighty fall.
When Vettel told Sky Italia he “no longer has an opinion” on the team’s problems, Mattia Binotto fought back by saying “it is in line with his disappointment of not being part of Ferrari in 2021.”
Alex Albon – Strategy ruins another afternoon
If there was one area you could never normally be critical of Red Bull, it would be strategy. The number of race victories and podiums they have stolen through clever pit-stops and tyre strategies is absurd, which is why we always fix our eyes to whatever Verstappen is doing when battling the Mercedes’.
So how can the best strategic team in Formula 1 ruin one of their drivers’ race two weeks in a row by doing exactly the same thing?
Okay, Albon should be qualifying up with team-mate Verstappen by now, so he is shooting himself in the foot in that respect. Sixth in qualifying was a marked improvement but he still had to ruin his tyres behind the Racing Points.
Unable to pass Perez in the early stages, Albon was comfortable in matching the Mexican’s pace, but Red Bull pitted the Thai-British driver into a whole world of traffic.
Clearing the pack cost Albon around five seconds and to rub salt into the wound, he had been put onto the hard tyre, a compound described as “horrific” and “garbage” by drivers across the weekend.
He lost positions to McLaren driver Carlos Sainz and the one stopping Vettel, coming home eighth.
Racing Point – Finally hitting its stride
For whatever reason, Racing Point has shown fantastic pace in 2020, but the team had so far failed to string together a complete performance across a race weekend.
Starting fourth and fifth with Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll, team principal Otmar Szafnauer had said ahead of the race he would be happy if these positions could be retained at the chequered flag.
Retain them they did, although the positions were reversed come the end of the race.
Racing Point was comfortably the best-of-the-rest in Spain.
Sainz was the closest challenger to them on a somewhat funky strategy, but in all honesty Stroll and Perez looked comfortable in their lofty positions.
Kimi Raikkonen – Two laps completed… of Earth
A somewhat honorary mention, the final point goes to Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn has endured his worst start to an F1 campaign while competing in an underperforming Alfa Romeo, but has now claimed the honour of completing more racing mile than anyone in the history of Formula 1.
Crossing the previous record of 53,099 miles on lap 37, Raikkonen’s otherwise forgettable drive to 14th is one record even Lewis Hamilton may have trouble toppling.
THE MOST IMPORTANT POINTS FROM THE SPANISH F1 GP 2020 THE MOST IMPORTANT POINTS FROM THE SPANISH F1 GP 2020
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