Racing teams are always looking for silver bullets to solve problems. Mercedes has been struggling to get comfortable with its 2018 car, while Ferrari and Red Bull have seemed more able to find performance. But, after the Spanish Grand Prix, in which Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas scored a solid 1-2 finish, to take the lead in the Constructors’ World Championship – with five Mercedes board members there to watch – Lewis said that he now feels he has got to a place where he is happy with the car. That’s bad news for his rivals.
The Spanish Grand Prix was an battle of strategy, with the teams juggling with tyres that were difficult to heat and compounds that were fairly similar. It was all about being on the right rubber at the right moment. Lewis did it perfectly, doing a one-stop race, starting on soft tyres and going to mediums on lap 25. Valtteri Bottas chose a similar strategy but pitted six laps earlier, in order to get ahead of Sebastian Vettel, who had managed to get ahead at the start. The German Ferrari star went for a two-stop race and after the second was down in fourth and unable to do anything. His team-mate Kimi Raikkonen went out with mechanical trouble. It was a bad day for Ferrari. Red Bull stepped in and Max Verstappen was a solid third, despite damage to his front wing after a collision with an errant Williams. Dan Ricciardo was a quiet fifth, never looking like a threat, while the rest of the field was lapped. The best of the rest was Kevin Magnussen for Haas, although his team-mate Romain Grosjean caused a significant crash at the second corner, picking a three-plce grid penalty for Monaco. This took out Nico Hulkenberg and Pierre Gasly. Magnussen drove a good race to led home Carlos Sainz’s Renault and Fernando Alonso’s McLaren, while Sergio Perez picked up points for Force India and Charles Leclerc showed well again for Sauber.
In GP+ this week, we talk to Fernando Alonso and Claire Williams.
We look at the Miami F1 project
We remember the mercurial Gunther Schmid, a team boss with a temper
DT explains why he was annoyed by Spain this year
JS explains how to catch team principals…
And Peter Nygaard records the event for posterity with his Nikons.
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