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5 talking points from the Spanish Grand Prix

An intriguing battle between Hamilton and Bottas continues, Verstappen stars as Ferrari falter once again, Honda continues to do well, plus more talking points from the Spanish Grand Prix weekend.

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5 talking points from the Spanish Grand Prix
Fuente imagen: Jerry Andre - MotorLat

A fascinating duel between the Mercedes drivers 

The momentum continues to swing between Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton in what's proving to be another dominant season for their team.  

Bottas put in a stunning lap on Saturday to take pole position by over 0.6s from his British stablemate; a very rare accomplishment for any driver who has been a team-mate to Hamilton. 

However, Hamilton struck back in the race. He got the better start for the third consecutive event, took the lead into turn one and never looked back. The reigning champion built a 10-second lead before the opening round of stops over the Finn to show his superiority yesterday. Taking the fastest lap leaves him with a 7-point lead after Spain. A great Sunday for him.  

With two of Hamilton's strongest tracks coming next if history is anything to go by, it's an important period for Bottas to keep the pressure on.  

Verstappen takes advantage of Ferrari's poor performance 

It was another Sunday that turned into a terrible day for Ferrari, once again. The pit wall and drivers continue to make errors in 2019.  

It all started in qualifying as Leclerc's messy Q2 (not the first time this year) meant he could only do one run in Q3 on new tyres. He ended up only P5. Race day was equally bad.  

Vettel got a good start and tried to challenge the Mercedes - but he failed to get through. As he rejoined the circuit, it compromised Leclerc and Verstappen swept past both of them to take T3.  

Following that attempt at T1 where he flat-spotted his tyres, he let Leclerc through on lap 11, but it should have been done much sooner as Verstappen pulled away comfortably thanks to the German's tyre issues.  

Then later in the race with Vettel on softer tyres and on a different strategy, got stuck behind Leclerc. Again, the Ferrari pit wall took far too long to ask Leclerc to move over. Ferrari's main issue is a lack of pace, but a lack of clarity in their decision making is quite incredible. They look very dysfunctional on the outside 

Verstappen's terrific performance deserves credit, too. He split the Ferraris in the race and got his second podium of the season. The Dutchman has scored double the points he had at this stage last season (66 vs 33). More maturity and calmness behind the wheel is really paying dividends. 

Haas return to form - but it should have been better 

Struggling with the Pirelli tyres and getting them to work has really hurt Haas so far in 2019, but they were right on the pace at the Circuit de Catalunya.  

Grosjean and Magnussen annexed the fourth row as Haas were best of the rest in qualifying. 

It looked set to remain that way until a late Safety Car hurt them more than anyone else.  

Magnussen overtook Grosjean on the restart for P7. Grosjean then tried to get the position back a few laps later but the Dane defended aggressively and fairly. The Frenchman got swallowed up by Kvyat and Sainz in the closing laps to finish P10.  

Nonetheless, Haas will be happy to have rediscovered some pace in the race thanks to getting the tyres to work. We'll see if that continues in the upcoming events. 

The harsh reality of the midfield for two 2018 winners 

We saw a huge amount of driver changes heading into the 2019 season. Daniel Ricciardo moved to Renault following his decision to leave Red Bull Racing, while Kimi Räikkönen joined Alfa Romeo after Ferrari decided not to renew his contract. The Spanish Grand Prix weekend was a big struggle for both men.  

The Aussie and Finnish stars did outperform their team-mates and Ricciardo did a superb job to make Q3 - but the packages they had were simply not quick enough. It's not great for the sport when two extremely talented pilots are in cars that are struggling to be in the top 10.  

It looks it could be a long year for the pair on the basis of what happened at the weekend. 

Honda's fantastic start to the year 

Following their return to Formula One in 2015, Honda went through an incredibly difficult period as a plethora of problems hurt them during their time together with McLaren. However, on the basis of this year, it would be wrong to completely blame them for that mess 

This year has been going incredibly well for the Japanese manufacturer to this point.  
They've powered Max Verstappen to two podium finishes that sees the Dutchman up in P3 in the drivers' championship. 

Across all four cars they power, there have been no issues across any of the five races so far - and Honda deserves huge credit for that.  

Ferrari and Mercedes may have more power at the moment, but Honda has taken a step forward in performance and reliability. It's great to see them looking so solid and competitive. 


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