Lewis Hamilton Leads Dominant Mercedes 1-2 As Ferrari Suffers More Pain In Spain
Pre-season testing is never an accurate form guide and securing pole a dominant pole position on Saturday is never a guarantee of securing a win on Sunday. That is the Ferrari Valtteri Bottas conundrum that unraveled at the 2019 Spanish Grand Prix. If Bottas had a teammate other than Lewis Hamilton he would have easily won the race. However, Hamilton is more than just natural ability and speed. He raises his game when the competition gets tougher and his normal game is already at a high level.
Sunday was a demonstration of the second tier of Lewis Hamilton. Bottas deservedly secured pole, Hamilton second. As the red lights went off Hamilton got the better start, both Mercedes drivers were side by side going into turn 1. Vettel was flanked on the outside, three cars going for position.
Hamilton had the inside line, was just ahead of Bottas and therefore got into the lead of the race. It was game over for Bottas from that point onwards Hamilton was never again troubled for the lead. Bottas stayed close but Hamilton had his teammate covered.
Ferrari’s only slim chance to win was at the start. Vettel was narrowly ahead as he went side by side with both Mercedes. It was impossible for Vettel to get into the lead as Hamilton and Bottas had the inside line and first-rights to the turn 1 apex.
But Vettel being a racer saw an opportunity to get into the lead. It appears his plan was to brake as late as possible. And he did. But on relatively cold tyres and brakes, he locked up causing a cloud of tyre smoke and a massive flatspot on his right front.
Vettel’s lockup bulked both himself and Bottas but while Bottas retained second Verstappen slipped into third. Vettel had flat spotted his tyres and this affected his pace, as a result, his race strategy was also affected. Vettel would ultimately finish fourth, behind the Red Bull Honda.
In truth Ferrari had no answer to Mercedes, indeed they were fighting the with the Red Bull Honda of Verstappen. The Spanish Grand Prix is a power circuit. Ferrari has the most powerful engine right now, but evidently not the complete package to beat Mercedes.
Not even a safety car at period towards the end could alter the inevitable. Hamilton and Mercedes had all their bases covered.
As for Valtteri Bottas, just as he was beginning to think he had worked out Lewis Hamilton, Hamilton raises his game by just a little bit more. And that will play on Bottas’ mind for the rest of the season. It’s not just in the details it’s about finding the inner peace.
2019 Spanish Grand Prix Results, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona
|3||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||66||+7.679s||15|
|6||10||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Racing Honda||66||+19.576s||8|
|7||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||66||+28.159s||6|
|8||55||Carlos Sainz||McLaren Renault||66||+32.342s||4|
|9||26||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||66||+33.056s||2|
|10||8||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||66||+34.641s||1|
|11||23||Alexander Albon||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||66||+35.445s||0|
|14||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||66||+41.803s||0|
|15||11||Sergio Perez||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||66||+46.877s||0|
|16||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||66||+47.691s||0|
|17||63||George Russell||Williams Mercedes||65||+1 lap||0|
|18||88||Robert Kubica||Williams Mercedes||65||+1 lap||0|
|NC||18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||44||DNF||0|
|NC||4||Lando Norris||McLaren Renault||44||DNF||0|
Note – Hamilton scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race. Hulkenberg started from the pit lane as penalty for a change of front wing specification following qualifying.