Barcelona-Catalunya GP Highlights
Hamilton keeps the lead
Just one day before the race, Lewis Hamilton manages a huge milestone with 100 pole positions on Qualifying. Following him were Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas. Seems like the first three positions will be taken a lot from those three racing drivers.
Just before the race start Pierre Gasly didn't position his car well on the starting grid and he was under investigation from FIA stewards.
Lights out and away we go
From the start of the race it was important who will lead the race and Verstappen managed to take the early lead after Turn 1, almost hitting each other. As Hamilton backed out, his teammate also slowed down and as a result, Leclerc stole the 3rd position from Bottas. Meanwhile, on the back, Carlos Sainz lost two positions from Ricciardo and Perez who both passed Ocon and were battling for 5th place.
As Verstappen and Hamilton were battling for the lead Leclerc was keeping behind Bottas who the latest wanted to pass the Monegasque as soon as possible.
On the back, Mick Schumacher was battling George Russell who also had a bad start.
Lap 8 & Safety Car
On lap 8 the Safety Car had to make its appearance again as Yuki Tsunoda with power failure stopped just at the outside of turn 10 and couldn't rejoin the race. This was a chance for both Mercedes drivers to catch up and even overtake their opponents.
Meanwhile, Antonio Giovinazzi was the first to pit stop but after discovering a problematic tyre at the latest moment they had to use a used tyre set. With such a slow pit stop Giovinazzi had to rejoin the race on the back of the grid.
On lap 11 the race went on and Leclerc had an opportunity to overtake Hamilton but with an easy defending move the 7-time world champion managed to keep his position. A few places behind Pérez was fending off Ocon who was being chased by Sainz. Stroll also managed to gain a place from P11 to P10 after overtaking Alonso who tried his best to keep him behind.
At the same time Gasly was given a 5-second penalty.
In the front positions, it was important who would do the best job at conserving the tyres and who would pit in the right moment. Leclerc in the meantime was keeping behind Bottas who on lap 24 pit stopped and changed to medium tyres while Hamilton was given the order to push Verstappen.
Verstappen was ahead of Hamilton and the earlier was the first to decide to box. However, Red Bull in this case didn't manage to make a quick pit stop and cost Verstappen valuable time. On the next lap team principal, Toto Wolff warned the race control to give extra blue flag warnings to Mazepin, who could compromise the pace of Hamilton.
It was in lap 29 that Hamilton boxed and changed to medium tyres and was 6 seconds behind from Verstappen. Meanwhile, in second place Leclerc had to pit stop giving an opportunity to Bottas to overtake him and picking up the pace.
Back at the front in just 4 laps Hamilton closed the distance with leading Verstappen.
At the back of the grid Alonso overtook Giovinazzi from the outside of turn 1, coming from behind it was Vettel who was about to be surpassed by Gasly, but the German driver managed to retain his position as he had a greater exit from turn 4 and even overtake Giovinazzi from the inside of the next turn.
At the front of the grid Hamilton couldn't overtake Verstappen...
And on this lap that Hamilton decided to change plans and pit again. He was dropped 3rd and he was 22 seconds behind his rival, but with a fresh set of tyres he managed to increase his pace by a lot. A strategic move that Red Bull was unaware of.
Lap by lap Hamilton was recording fastest laps gaining on Verstappen and closing the distance 1.5 seconds per lap.
An impressive move from Sergio Pérez as he late braked Ricciardo . The Australian who is famous for his late braking technique was shocked as Pérez did the same to him on the outside on turn 1.
"Let me copy you for a moment"
And speaking off overtaking McLaren drivers on the main straight Sainz was to the slipstream of Lando Norris who tried to defend his position, but with an elusive move to the left gained him P8 just before turn 1.
As Hamilton was picking up the pace he was now behind his teammate who was given the order to let him pass. However, he wasn't willing to give his position without a fight. At turn 10 Hamilton overtook his teammate, almost touching each other, and was now free to catch Verstappen.
On the last few corners Hamilton was now in DRS range from Verstappen who was now struggling with his tyres. Verstappen on the main straight wanted to avoid give extra slipstream to Hamilton and maneuvered but it wasn't enough. Just before turn 1, Hamilton regained the lead and sealed his victory.
The moment that sealed the deal
From P13 Pierre Gasly made his move. Overtaking Raikkonen was then hunting Alonso who was overtaken by Stroll. With much better exit from turn, 3 Gasly overtook Alonso and was now hunting Stroll for P10.
On the main straight it was the French that overtook Stroll who tried his best to fend off the Alpha Tauri driver. Gasly surpassed Stroll's defenses and at the start of turn 1, he was the winner of the battle between them and was now in points reach.
And finally at lap 66 the chequered flag made its appearance with Lewis Hamilton winning the Spanish GP with 98 wins.
So what were the outcomes for the teams?
Their strategy paid off
Both drivers had bad starts, losing their places from someone but at the end of the race, they were the winners of it.
The strategic move of a second pit stop was effective for Lewis Hamilton who then had no problem hunting him down and overtaking him.
Valtteri Bottas also managed to regain his position but he seems to start getting really annoyed by the team orders. It is intriguing if he will start to ignore team orders and if it will affect Hamilton's championship position.
Their strategy didn't pay off
Excellent start for both drivers with one driver taking the lead and the other gaining two places. However, this race has left them behind from their competitors in both Drivers and Constructors Championship.
Max Verstappen's early lead was a huge advantage for him but a safety car, a bad pit stop, and a bad strategy kept him trailing Hamilton who is now winning 3-1. He has to keep his focus on the next race and try to fight back.
It was good race for Sergio Pérez with such a great start and many great moves. We would love to see him in a higher place than P5 (maybe even a podium). There is no doubt we will see more magic from him in the next races.
Good but not enough.
This race was a small victory for them but there was a chance that we could see one of their drivers on the podium. It seems they're still not good with strategic moves but they managed to win their rivals (McLaren) in this race.
Look how lonely he is
Charles Leclerc took the opportunity of Bottas braking behind Hamilton and gained his position, even defended it lots of times. However, with a much late pit stop, he had to stick in 4th place while having a lonely race at a point.
Not a great start for Carlos Sainz losing two places. He stills struggles to get used to the car and the pace mostly at the last few laps, great battles between him and the McLaren drivers.
Not a bad result
With not so good Qualifying positions McLaren had to fight to get a few positions and they actually did. While this is a good effort it is a small blow that they let Ferrari a few extra points who actually are trailing right behind them.
Daniel Ricciardo out-qualified his teammate and had a better weekend than the last one. He managed to keep behind Sainz until the end of the race and shows good promise of better performance in the next races.
We've seen great results from Lando Norris in the previous races and even keeping behind him both Ferraris but this time we didn't see that happen. While he had a good race, we know that one was a little setback.
Great qualifiying but not sticking to their performance.
For a midfield team P5 and P10 are great positions for Alpine who at the start of the season was struggling. However, they couldn't keep up with that performance.
Esteban Ocon lost 2 places from Ricciardo and Pérez and finished lower on his qualifying position. However, kudos to him for keeping up the pace and even actually pull a one pit stop strategy to gain few points.
On the other hand that strategy wasn't effective to pull for Fernando Alonso as he lost a lot of positions struggling with his tyres.
Fighting even for 1 point
Not a great afternoon for Alpha Tauri too, with one DNF and a penalty on the other driver but still they fought well even if it was just for one point.
Which fight was coming from Pierre Gasly, while he had a five-second penalty that didn't stop him to push the car. Excellent pace and bold moves actually stole the 10th place from Stroll (maybe even catching Ocon if he had more laps). For those who saw the race, you could see that he fought hard.
Not much to tell about Yuki Tsunoda however as the engine of his car shut off and had to retire from the track.
The struggle is real
With a phenomenal season last year it seems they still struggle to get just a few points.
While it is still unknown if Lance Stroll will receive a penalty on turn 3 incident, it was a rough race for him but with impressive overtakes.
A slight improvement was for Sebastian Vettel as race by race he is closing the gap with his teammate but it won't be enough if they want to take points for the team and themselves.
Ahead of the last teams but not ahead on the points
A good result for Alfa Romeo team and the drivers but not enough to gain the slight lead from Williams and Haas.
Starting on mediums Kimi Raikkonen pulled off a one stop pit strategy and combined with his experience he finished P12.
A disaster for Giovinazzi as he had the potential to finish on the top 10. A very poor and slow pit stop made him rejoin the race on the back of the grid. Made good progress overtaking others but with the cost to pit again and a poor finish for him.
Still could be worse!
Great performance on the drivers
But we can't say the same about the cars. It is a shame that such driving had to be restricted by the aero pack of Williams.
Passing Alonso was what was needed to get in P10 for George Russel and then keep it with everything he got. Following a double stop strategy he was the closest to making few points in Williams but the restrictions of the car kept him away from P10.
The same can be told for Nicolas Latifi. As he started in between the Haas drivers he managed to give a fight and finish ahead of them and Alonso.
Hard time for the rookies
In this race, it seemed that Haas' cars were struggling to even keep up with Williams.
Mich Schumacher had a few battles with both Russell and Latifi but there weren't sparks like the last race this time. It seems the cars weren't even good enough for the Spanish tracks
Moreover that wasn't Nikita Mazepin's week either. Suffering from 3 drop place penalty (even if he was last) and a point in his license, he was again the reason for blue flag call from Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff to the race control. While Mazepin is unpopular with the other drivers it won't be good for him to be unpopular with the team principals from the other teams.
What do you think about this race? Don't be shy and be free to express your opinions down in the comments!