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Notebook – Spanish Grand Prix – Review

Lewis Hamilton put in a dominating drive to take back to back wins after holding off his teammate Valtteri Bottas to take a second win at the Spanish Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver looked to control the race start, as he built the lead from then on.

Hamilton wins with higher temperatures

Lewis Hamilton says that his dominant win in Barcelona was because of much higher track temperatures, saying that will also be a factor at the next race in Monaco.

Hamilton took victory by over twenty seconds over his teammate Valtteri Bottas, believing that it was s more to do with the higher temperatures and understanding of his car than being track specific.

“I don’t think it’s solely the track, I think obviously testing was quite good here, everyone had a reading of what the track was like,” said Hamilton.

“I think the fact that the sun was out mostly this weekend, and the track temperature, if [that] is 25 and above, it’s definitely a little bit better than it has been in the previous circuits that we’ve been to.

“But I would say a small percentage was down to this track and the way it is, and obviously the following tracks will really kind of give us a much better understanding of if it is just the circuit”

No option but to double stop

Sebastian Vettel says that Ferrari had no choice but to make the stop which cost him the podium. After jumping Bottas at the start, Vettel looked able to follow Hamilton home following the first round of stops.

However, Ferrari brought the German in for another stop, following the virtual safety car appeared just past half-distance, dropping Vettel from second to fourth.

Asked by Sky Sports F1 if he felt that was the right tactic, Vettel replied: “Yeah, because the advice was it was not an option to stay out. We were going through the tyres quicker than the others, though obviously it looks different and looks wrong.”

“We were just not quick enough. Even at the end I was not in healthy shape with the tyres despite the fact mine were the newest. It’s been a decent weekend, we just need to understand what to do with the tyres. We need to have a look.”

Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff agreed that Ferrari had been in worse shape for tyre wear, and said it had been a concern for his team too.

Vettel made his first pitstop to change from softs to mediums after just 17 of the 66 laps, with Hamilton coming in eight laps later.

“Sebastian’s front left was really bad, they needed to pit, and we were a little bit worried that structurally we could have a failure, so that’s why we decided to pit Lewis as well,” said Wolff.

Start midfield carnage

Three drivers Romain Grosjean, Nico Hulkenberg and Pierre Gasly all retired on the opening lap of the race after a first lap crash. Lewis Hamilton got the better start, as Sebastian Vettel looks at going down between the Mercedes. Hamilton leads into the first corner, with Vettel slightly ahead of Bottas.

Then at Turn Three, is when the incident unfolded Grosjean spins off in the middle of the pack. Then there’s this like wall of smoke from the locked rears as Hulkenberg tries to avoid goes off onto the grass as Gasly appears to clip the rear of the Renault. All drivers appeared unhurt, but Grosjean was sent to the medical centre for a precautionary exam.

The stewards have awarded Grosjean a three place grid penalty for the incident and two penalty points applied to his super licence, taking him to five for the 12-month period.

Explaining the crash to Sky F1, Grosjean said: “I lost the rear end of the car and I tried to put it back as long as I could but it just didn’t work. I don’t think there was much I could do. If I had braked, the car would have slid the same way.”

“I tried to stay on the throttle to spin it to try not and face other people. It didn’t work but I don’t think there was anything different.

Verstappen surprised by little impact from damage

Max Verstappen says he was surprised by how little the front wing damage from his clash with Lance Stroll hampered his Red Bull. The Dutchman clipped the rear of Stroll’s lapped Williams as they prepared for the restart from a virtual safety car period.

Despite the damage, Verstappen remained ahead of Vettel and took his first podium of the season. He explained “I was trying to be as close as I could to be just on the positive side [of the VSC delta] and I was quite close behind Stroll. I felt that he braked a bit and I was really close, so I just clipped him.”

“Luckily it was only the outside bit of the wing so I could continue, I just had a bit more understeer in the high-speed corners. I managed to solve that with some tools and it was OK.”

Asked by Motorsport.com if he had expected the damage to cause him more problems, Verstappen replied: “Initially I thought so. I kept going and felt a bit more understeer in Turns 3 and 9 and was maybe braking a bit deeper into hairpins but it was not too bad to be honest.

Tweets

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, P1 “What a feeling. It’s been an awesome weekend, the car felt incredible! I can’t thank the team enough for the hard work. To my fans, your energy was with me today as always, you guys are amazing! Looking forward to the next one 🙌🏾🙌🏾💥 📷 Vid Vorsic @MercedesAMGF1 #TeamLH #F1”

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, P2 “1-2 for us today 🏆🏆 The car was really strong and the team did all the right calls with the strategy. Well done everyone @MercedesAMGF1 💪🏼 #VB77 #F1 #SpanishGP”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, P3 “I’m very happy with this podium! 👊🏻 The car was working really well, even with a missing piece. A big thank you to @redbullracing #keeppushing #givesyouwings #SpanishGP”

Charles Leclerc, Sauber P10 “Yepaaaa ! Again in the points !!! P10 today. Happy with today, always very difficult to keep this guy behind… But learning twice as much racing with such a driver.”

Fred Vasseur, Sauber “Words from Frédéric Vasseur: “We leave Barcelona feeling positive. We had a very strong rhythm at a certain stage of the race and scored one point, which we did not anticipate before arriving here.” 👍”

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Jack Fielding
Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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