2020 Spanish Grand Prix Blog
Another Sunday, another demolition performance by Mercedes. There was talk before the race that Max Verstappen could pose a serious threat, however that never materialised and Lewis Hamilton said afterwards that he “touched perfection” on his way to an easy victory in the Spanish Grand Prix.
Toto Wolff summed up Mercedes performance, saying: “A massive well done to all the people at the factory and here at the track for their hard work. Everyone pulled together and overcame what we have seen as our biggest weakness. Lewis was in a league of his own today; he controlled the race very well and did a brilliant job. He managed the tyres extremely well,”
Neutral fans would perhaps like to see closer racing at the front of the pack, but as in any sport, you cannot have a nail biting finish every time. Mercedes had the best car at Circuit de Catalunya and Lewis Hamilton was their best driver. Valterri Bottas got away to a poor start and he was always playing catch up from there on. As for Red Bull, they didn’t have a bad race, but they just couldn’t match the pace of Mercedes around a circuit which did less damage to the tyres than we saw last weekend at Silverstone.
The front runners may have been clear, but we enjoyed some superb racing amongst the middle order of the pack. Charles Leclerc caught the eye racing wheel to wheel with Lando Norris. He was unfortunate to suffer an engine failure on lap 36. The Monegasque driver managed to restart the car but he had taken his seatbelt off whilst trying to do so, and was ultimately forced to retire. “It’s a shame,” said Leclerc afterwards. “I think the one-stop strategy was working very well on my side. We managed very well the soft tyres but unfortunately we couldn’t finish the race today.”
Ferrari can still take heart from the race with Sebastian Vettel claiming a seventh-place finish. They would not be Ferrari though without a dose of drama and Vettel’s race strategy was questionable to say the least. Having asked what pace was expected of him on his current tyres Seb was told to push for three laps. Having completed these the team then came back on the radio to say: “Can you get to the end?” The reaction from Vettel was explosive but understandable: “I just f****** asked you that and now I’ve been pushing for three laps.” Martin Brundle summed up Vettel’s predicament at Ferrari, saying in commentary: “It’s just not a happy camp, is it? Seb just doesn’t feel like they’re on his side any more – it’s tetchy to say the least.”
Racing Point had a satisfying afternoon with a P4 and P5 finish. The team have recently been deducted 15 world championship points and fined €400,000 after FIA stewards upheld Renault’s protest about the legality of the design of their RP20 car. This punishment does not actually seem too bad when put into context with their points haul from Spain. Otmar Szafnauer said afterwards “The team called the race very well today… The 22 points scored – our best result of the season – take us into third place in the championship.”
Lastly, Carlos Sainz deserves a mention for a solid drive to bring his McLaren home in sixth place. Sainz has had his share of bad luck this year, and this result will do wonders for his confidence. He said afterwards: “A very good day for me and the team. To finally get a good result after the issues of the previous four races feels great and I honestly think we deserve it.”
After the second ‘triple header’ of the season F1 will have a well-deserved week off now and will return for the Belgian Grand Prix on 30th August. Spa-Francorchamps is the favourite circuit on the calendar for many of the drivers and always throws up exciting racing. We can’t wait.
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