What did we learn? Well, we learned that Motor Racing is dangerous, especially if you are in the pit crew, after one of the Ferrari mechanics was hit by the equipment being used to change one of the rear wheels. The driver (Raikkonen) was given the “go” signal but the left rear wheel was stuck on the hub. The mechanic has fractured his lower leg (both bones) and will be out of action for three months. Ferrari has been fined 50,000 euros following the unsafe release of Kimi Raikkonen. I’m sure the mechanic is delighted.
However, it was Ferrari’s night with Vettel getting the finger out again after securing pole position and then the race. Second placed Bottas (Mercedes) ran him very close at the end, Vettel’s soft tyres being at the end of their usable life. Third placed Hamilton (Mercedes) had come from 9th on the grid and his finishing position was a combination of some excellent driving and some excellent luck.
This race was a fine example of the fact that you don’t win the race on the first lap, you only lose the race. Force India’s Perez saying afterwards, “We knew how important it was to stay out of trouble, but there was nothing I could do to avoid what happened. I made a pretty good start, but Brendon lost control of his car and spun me around. I had a lot of damage to the floor and that cost me performance.
Another early lap loser was Verstappen (Red Bull) who attempted to shoulder Hamilton out of the way, but ended up with a puncture and had to retire, all the while complaining about Hamilton.
Hamilton graciously put on his ‘elder statesman’ hat, saying, “He’s a young driver with fantastic pace, but he’s still learning and he doesn’t always make the right decision. Red Bull has a car that should be getting good results, and I’m sure if either Fernando Alonso or I was in it today, we would have scored good points. I went through that stuff when I was younger, so I know how it is.”
The front running Red Bull of Riciardo lasted two laps before it switched itself off. “I get really fired up for Sundays so now I’ve got two hours of adrenaline stored up inside me and I don’t know what to do with it. This sport can rip your heart out,” said the (un)happy Aussie.
Star of the race was rookie Pierre Gasly in the Honda engined Toro Rosso with a well driven 4th place. He led the middle pack beating Magnussen in the Haas, Hulkenberg (Renault), Alonso and Vandoorne (McLarens) and Ericsson (Sauber).
Once again, the results were dependent upon tyre choices. Perhaps this is old school, but I really want to see drivers in cars of similar performance battling it out, not rushing into the pits for softer rubber to “undercut” to gain an advantage.
1 S Vettel Ferrari
2 V Bottas Mercedes
3 L Hamilton Mercedes
4 P Gasly Toro Rosso
5 K Magnussen Haas
6 N Hulkenberg Renault
7 F Alonso McLaren
9 S Vandoorne McLaren
10 M Ericsson Sauber