18-08-2020

Lewis Hamilton Touches Perfection in Spain

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Welcome to the 6th round of 2020 world championship, the Spanish grand prix at the circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya.

Did you know???

Most Successful

Michael Schumacher is the most successful driver in Spanish Grand Prix history, with six wins between 1995 and 2004, all at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Schumacher also posted the largest winning margin at the circuit when he won in 1995 by 51.988 seconds from team mate Johnny Herbert and lapped everyone up to fourth place! The most successful constructor in Spain is Ferrari with twelve wins, followed by McLaren and Williams with eight wins.

Youngest Race Winner

Max Verstappen became the youngest winner in F1 history (at the age of 18 years, 228 days) by some margin when he won the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix on his race debut for Red Bull Racing. Verstappen took the record from Sebastian Vettel, who won the 2008 Italian Grand Prix aged 21 years, 73 days. Vettel still holds the record as the youngest Grand Prix pole sitter, which he also achieved at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix.

Now it is time for the anthems and some camera shots of Barcelona from the TV helicopter, after Lewis Hamilton and roughly half the rest of the drivers on the grid took a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Here we go then. The warm-up lap has begun, those enormously powerful engines - and the drivers - are as ready as they are ever going to be for this. Who will be leading at the end of Lap 1? My money is on Hamilton.

This Sunday we saw Lewis overtake Michael at the top of all-time list of F1 podiums with 156 top-three finishes after comfortable Spanish Grand Prix triumph.

The six-time world champion continued his fine start to the season by winning in Spain, finishing a comfortable 24 seconds ahead of second place Max Verstappen.

The result was the 156th Grand Prix podium of his career in just his 256th race, with Schumacher only recording 155 in his career. (It was very hard for me to write this being a die-hard Ferrari fan)

Formula 1’s sole tyre supplier Pirelli believes a variety of two-stop strategies would be the fastest way to approach the sixth round of the 2020 World Championship. According to Pirelli, a one-stop race is going to be very marginal no matter what compound choices are made by the teams.

What a start it was for Max who overtook Bottas in the start. It was clear that there will be only 3 cars in realistic contention at the Spanish Grand Prix: Two Mercedes and Max Verstappen’s Red Bull. The rest were all a staggering 100 seconds or more behind at the end of 66 flat-out laps of the Circuit de Catalunya.

To put it another way, Lewis Hamilton pulled away from everyone who wasn’t Verstappen or Bottas at an average rate of more than one-and-a-half seconds per lap.

They are off! Hamilton gets a great start (as usual) and leads into the first corner. Lance Stroll fights down the inside and overtakes Bottas who had a poor start - he was also overtaken by Verstappen. Bottas looses 2 places at the start, but Lewis get a spot on for silver arrows. At the end of lap 1 Max is second, and Stroll from Racing point is third followed by Bottas. Like Bottas, Lando Norris of McLaren also lost two places on the opening lap. It’s difficult for Bottas to get past what is essentially a 2019 Merc in its design,” observes Brundle. Interesting!

On lap 5 Bottas overtakes Stroll and took his place.

Meanwhile, Verstappen and Red Bull are showing all the signs of pushing Hamilton all the way. Hamilton is 1.6secs ahead.

Lights out!

It’s all looking very good for Hamilton after an accomplished start. What Brundle refers to on commentary as a ‘chess match’ has begun, with Hamilton driving a bit slower than flat-out, and letting Bottas in third catch up so - in theory - they can gang up on Verstappen. Verstappen is 1.5sec behind Hamilton right now.

In the view of extreme heat, the teams are particularly cautious of tyre temperature.

From Lap 12 to 22 Lewis had opened the gap between him and Max to 10 seconds.

On lap 21 or 22 Both Lewis and Max pitted to get new set of tyres. A 1.9 sec pit stop for Red Bull-Impressive stuff. And Verstappen will be happier now that he’s been able to change his tyres. Verstappen comes back out in third place, behind Bottas and of course Hamilton.

A 4.3 sec pit stop for race leader Hamilton puts him back on track 5 secs ahead of Verstappen! Bottas also pits and the team sends him back out in under three seconds...

Further ahead, Verstappen has a go at his team over the radio over this tyre strategy. I thought he’d be a bit happier after the pitstop but I was wrong. “How about we just focus on our job and do our race instead of focusing on Lewis?” asks Verstappen. “Get your head down Max, please,” comes the reply.

In between Charles Leclerc was attempting to do the same, and looked in good shape, when a strange combination of a kerb-induced electrical fault and the driver’s decision to loosen his seat belts made him the race’s only retirement. There was no chance of rejoining the race. The engine switched off and wouldn't start.

On the other hand, it was an insane one stop strategy at Spanish GP for Vettle’s Ferrari as he finished the race in P7, running on soft tyres that were 37-38 laps old. Vettel pulled off a risky strategy as they had nothing to loose, to pit only once. It was his best chance of achieving a point’s finish this race.

The 4-times World Champion’s tire management left both fans and rivals stunned. In fact, Red Bull’s Alex Albon couldn’t even fathom the possibility.

Albon learned about Vettel’s achievement on his team radio. His race engineer informed him about the top 10 finishers and also stressed on Vettel finishing the race on 37 lap old softs.

Albon was left shocked when he learned about it. He reacted by saying, “There’s no way! Our tires are gone after seven laps.”

Albon, like Vettel, was also given a one-stop strategy. However, unlike the German, Albon’s strategy didn’t pay off.

The German rightfully won ‘Driver Of The Day.’ He managed his soft tires immaculately, keeping them intact for an incredible 37 laps! In the blazing heat of Barcelona, no less.

He was quite pleased with that showing and the call to stick to a one-stop strategy.

Others were less successful in their attempt to one-stop. The Renault pair did it, but neither came home in the points. Haas duo Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean both suffered degradation in the second half of the race, the latter pitting for a fresh set of rubber.

In contrast McLaren went all-in on the two-stop strategy, committing to it fully by running the soft tyres for the first two stints. This worked well for Carlos Sainz, who held his position at the start and passed Vettel for sixth in the closing stages. But Lando Norris admitted he was too timid on the run to turn one, lost two places, and could only salvage one point from his afternoon.

In the end Bottas mad the fastest lap of the race clocking 1.18.183, but it wasn’t enough to catch Max and his teammate Lewis.

It was a perfect race for Lewis Hamilton who started from pole position and finished the race P1 and stretch his lead in Formula One driver’s championship by 37 points from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Well we have a one-week break for the next race at the circuit de-Spa-Franco champs-Belgium.

Stay Tuned with us………

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About Author
Farzad Bhagat
Farzad Bhagat

It is said that Parsi's are born with a different vein for cars, however Farzad, was born with a different vein for F1. F1 is in his bloods, and he is someone who can constantly chatter about races and evolution of F-1. 

He started watching races in the early 2000's and has been an ardent Ferrari Fan, like any one of us. While, he has a soft spot for German Drivers, the best driver on the grid undoubtedly is legendary Micheal Schumacher 

 




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