Well, usual Ferrari season lies ahead. A car and driver that can win pole at will and then fails to deliver on Sunday. A second driver that really is just that so a single car / driver combination against Red Bull with a lead driver backed up by a driver with pace that stays on the black bit and a Mercedes team that will soon have two drivers arguing over who will take the win.
Superb drive by George and some really strong placings by Lando, Bottas and Hamilton showed why he and Mercedes have dominated for so long.
I see today that some of the teams (the bigger ones with more funds available in the wings) are complaining they won’t make some races if the budget cap remains as is. Alfa’s Szafnauer put them in their place by saying if they can adjust for increased travel and secondary costs at the expense of development so can everyone else, meaning the field will stay closer for longer as RBR, Mercedes and Ferrari won’t just spend their way into the distance.
I thought it was a pretty decent Grand Prix, as Spanish GP’s go. It’s never going to suit wide, big-winged single seaters with the way that corners flow from one another and minimal braking. That being said, I thought that following another car was better. It was realistic to stay close to the pursuing car in the final sector, to get a good run onto the pit straight. There definitely was aero wash; it was never going to completely be eliminated. George Russell’s race craft was superb in turn 3, he made sure that Verstappen and Perez couldn’t get out of his dirty wake, forcing them to lift. He adjusted his line through the corner as the Red Bull duo respectively adjusted their line - stout, intelligent racing. Russell did a move in turns 1 and 2 that looked Verstappen-esque, he was being passed by Verstappen only for Russell to over-speed the entry to turn 2 to take the position back! It was an important battle for George against Verstappen; like all the greats, show them a wheel and get in their head. Or be like Sainz or Bottas, and be second-best.
Hamilton v Magnussen was correctly judged. A racing incident, but it was optimistic from Magnussen. Hamilton couldn’t have steered anymore right, usually in that situation the driver on the inside is trying to ease the car on the outside off the circuit. Magnussen with the softer tyre arrived so quickly around the outside; Hamilton didn’t even get that opportunity. A decent race from Hamilton, I really didn’t expect him to get up to fourth, back down to fifth because of the water leak.
Ferrari and Leclerc had great race pace yesterday, something that they lacked in Miami. They should take encouragement from that.
As for the budget cap, I can understand the likes of Frederic Vasseur not wanting the cap to be increased. The likes of Vasseur (not really a manufacturer team is Alfa, taking the position of a garagiste!) fear that by extending the cap, it will allow the bigger teams to spend money using the additional resources they have. What can’t be denied, though, is that costs have considerably increased since the budget cap was devised last year. I wouldn’t want the championship decided on budget caps, or lower-down teams hampered from competing for constructor places towards the end of the year. I would increase the cap slightly and allow the teams to have two extra engines per driver. Three engines per driver just doesn’t work, it’s not my opinion – barley anybody got through 2021 without taking on a fourth or fifth engine and taking grid penalties.
The sport can afford it; the excessive cost of these powertrains has been the R&D of them, not the supply – its silly virtue-signalling that doesn’t even work. Unless we want the drivers trundling about thinking about their engine allocation. And this wouldn’t be a return to the old days, where the teams were installing new engines virtually for every session. This is F1, its quite expensive, there is a lot of money in the sport, nobody cares if the drivers are using three or four engines per year. If such punitive rules start to damage the show, then there is a problem.
Really enjoyed the GP which was probably the acid test for the new cars. Every year we usually get Hamilton cruising to the win with zero overtaking so this was a massive improvement. Still Hamiltons fantastic recovery drive was something else so shows he's probably still the king of Spain. I do wish he wouldn't want to quit everytime he has a problem, I know its Spain but there were probably still a number of Hamilton fans in the stands who wouldn't want o see him park his car up after 5 laps just because he's had an off.
Russells dice with Verstappen was amazing. How he got back past without crashing I have no idea. Great stuff by both of them. I knew Russell was fast but wasn't sureon his race craft having had a few bumps in the past but he's put that doubt to bed.
Verstappen was fast as always, felt a little sorry for Perez but he should know he's never going to be given equal treatment in Red Bull and they were on different strategies so why hold Verstappen up. He would always have got past as some point. I don';t think the moaning will do anything for his contract negotiations.
And what of Ferrari? They should be well ahead in the championship on both drivers and constructors. They should have done a Brawn this season and ran away with the championship in the first half of the season and try and hang on. Sainz needs a serious result to get his confidence back on track. I think he's a fast guy and was always a safe pair of hands at Mclaren so no reason he can't repeat. The bigger concern is LeClerc who we know runs on emotion. If he can win at Monaco that would be epic but unfortunately I can only see him doing something dumb in Qualifying that puts him out of contention.