Well, we learned that the young cloggy (Max Verstappen – Red Bull) is fast, has an old head on his shoulders and deserved his maiden win in Spain. Holding off both Ferrari drivers and his team mate (Ricciardo) he did not put a wheel wrong in an excellent drive. Congratulations Max, now the youngest driver to ever win an F1 Grand Prix.
One catalyst in bringing about the circumstances for a Red Bull win was the first lap collision between the two Mercedes drivers (Hamilton and Rosberg). It was unfortunate that they didn’t read my piece on how races are not won on the first lap – they are only lost on the first lap!
In essence, Rosberg having got the drop on Hamilton, was covering his position on the right side of the track. Hamilton, with an obvious red mist in his eyes went for the gap that wasn’t going to be there. A quick lift of the accelerator would have seen Hamilton slotted in behind Rosberg and ready to attack later.
Many armchair experts out there, many showing national bias, with Martin Brundle as the standard bearer amongst the British contingent, claiming that Rosberg was in the wrong, but I am more impressed with Niki Lauda’s judgment. “It’s very simple for me,” said Niki, Mercedes’ non-executive chairman. “It was a miscalculation in Lewis’s head, I blame him more than Nico. But for the team and for Mercedes it is unacceptable. Lewis was too aggressive to pass him and why should Nico give him room? He was in the lead. It is completely unnecessary and for me the disaster is that all Mercedes are out after two corners.”
The Mercedes duo now being out of the event left the race a straight Red Bull/Ferrari contest and after the first round of tyre changes the order was Verstappen (Red Bull), Raikkonen (Ferrari), Vettel (Ferrari) and Ricciardo (Red Bull). As the race went on, it became obvious that the best tyre strategy was a two stopper (Verstappen/Raikkonen) with the three stoppers (Vettel and Ricciardo) able to see the action up front, but not enough opportunity to pass them. This left Verstappen in the lead with the two Ferraris filling the minor podium positions.
As well as being on the wrong tyre strategy, Ricciardo also had his left rear tyre self destruct leaving Vettel unchallenged for third, while Ricciardo was able to pit and rejoin still in fourth.
I am noticing a tendency for world champions to feel they should not be challenged on the track, because they are the best. Hamilton and now Vettel having a whinge when he was attacked by Ricciardo. Sorry chaps, but there is no hook for your FIA medal in an F1 car! You’re on your own!
I also believe that Pirelli has far too great an influence on the racing and it is interesting to know that the cars will have transmitters to monitor the tyre pressures from the Austrian GP onwards. Reading between the lines, Pirelli is shifting the blame for exploding tyres back to the teams. My simple mind would suggest that Pirelli might try making stronger tyres instead of the eight lap specials they currently supply.
Not a bad Grand Prix, but the Catalunya circuit is known as being very difficult for passing. Not as exciting as the previous GP’s this year.
The next GP is May 29 at Monaco, a circuit where passing is almost impossible.
Top 10 finishers:
1 M Verstappen Red Bull
2 K Raikkonen Ferrari
3 S Vettel Ferrari
4 D Ricciardo Red Bull
5 V Bottas Williams
6 C Sainz Toro Rosso
7 S Perez Force India
8 F Massa Williams
9 J Button McLaren
10 D Kvyat Toro Rosso