By the end of the second lap of the Spanish Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton had a 1.9 seconds lead over the pole sitter Valtteri Bottas. By lap 55 (2 laps after a Safety car incident ended) Hamilton had a 4 second lead over second place man Bottas. No one viewing the race would dare predict anyone other than the reigning champion would win the race. As the flag fell that was indeed the case and Mercedes’ dominance continued with yet another 1’2 for the reigning constructor champions. This was not a classic race by any stretch of the imagination and if it is the last one at Barcelona, I cannot imagine many people will be disappointed to see it leave the calendar.
A victorious Lewis Hamilton was told on his team radio:
“Get in there Lewis, what a race drive that was, awesome day.’’
Hamilton however did not have any comments shared to the viewing public, maybe because none came and he knew, like the many watching, that once he got in front (barring mechanical issues) he would be the victor. Such predictability, as commented on by Sergio Perez on Friday, is damaging the sport.
Max Verstappen, prior to standing on the all too familiar third step of the podium, announced:
‘It was a hectic first corner…I could do my own pace and we were competitive.”
Following this third place, Verstappen now sits third in the Constructor’s Championship and if the tension encountered previously between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton rears its head again with Bottas and Hamilton, you can be sure that Max will be ready to pounce.
As for the pole sitter, Valtteri Bottas was confused as to why his W10 had not responded as expected when the lights went out.
“It was pretty tight, I lost it on the start as there was some strange behaviour on the clutch…as a team it is incredible, I got some good points. I am just keen to find out why the start was so bad.”
Much was made of the battle between Toro Rosso and Haas…but the real tussle was between the pair of Haas drivers:
Kevin Magnussen came home in 7th: “it is good to have a good result. Obviously, an eventful race and good to have that safety car for me. There was contact between me and Romain but nothing intentional. I am glad we have both cars in the points.’’
As for Toro Rosso, Daniil Kvyat came across the line in 9th: “It was a very exciting race…but unfortunately we lost more in the pits and could have scored a bit more points today.
Kvyat found the race exciting and of course there were some good moments but is fair to say that once Hamilton had achieved the jump on Bottas shortly after the lights went out, not a great deal happened.
So, what may Zandvoort bring next year instead?
Well, the Zandvoort circuit is uniquely positioned among sand dunes on the North Sea coast The facilities may indeed be stuck in the past but the circuit itself is a combination of fast curves rising and falling across the natural topography, plus a long straight followed by a hairpin. It was a much loved venue for Formula 1 racing between 1952 and 1985. However, as Max Verstappen announced on Saturday after qualifying he is clearly excited by the prospect of racing in the Netherlands but he is also aware that changes need to come:
“That means I will have 2 Grand Prix. Surely they need to do some changes to the track, as there it is like the 80s”
If handled correctly, Zandvoort could be to Formula 1 what Phillip Island is to the Moto GP and the 160,428 in attendance today
The Government of Catalunya want the Grand Prix to stay but the 160,428 in attendance need to be treated to a much greater spectacle if that is the case. Not to mention, the millions watching across the world.