Grand Prix 2019 Spanish Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

When my mind turned to the Spanish gp I was thinking that Fernando Alonso was of course the big name there. Then I tried to think of other successful Spanish drivers and I drew a blank. I can name other Spanish drivers of course, but not one who was what you might call successful. So I got auntie google to give me a hand and I was surprised to find that there hasn't been another Spanish F1 champion, ever, not even another gp winner which astounded me to be honest.

However Spain has had lots of F1 races at various different tracks over the years, indeed in 2013 they celebrated their centenary of hosting F1 races, yet apart from Fernando Alonso they haven't managed to produce an F1 champion. Then again they've never produced a winning team either, their only team entry being the HRT Team, formerly Hispania Racing and Campos Meta 1 (no, I don't remember them being called Campos Meta either). Sadly the team, started by a former F1 driver who had an unsuccessful F1 career in the 1980s, Adrian Campos, didn't last long and didn't make much of an impression on F1 in their brief stint from 2010 to 2012, though they had some decent drivers. The best result they could manage came in the Turkish gp in 2011 when Vitantonio Liuzzi finished as high as... 13th. Not even in the points, bless them. Even Daniel Ricciardo couldn't get them into anything like contention for a shoey. There was almost a second Spanish F1 team when in 2009 Joan Villadelprat announced his Epsilon Euskadi team, but they never actually made it onto the grid despite doing their best to get there over a couple of seasons. For one reason or another the FIA never granted them the chance to even turn a wheel in anger despite them having a team, a car, a budget, even a wind tunnel and solid plans in place to compete for up to four seasons according to them.

Google and I did some more digging then and I found that although we've had other Spanish drivers in F1 they really haven't done that well despite being in some decent cars over recent years, Carlos Sainz Jnr. just hasn't had the impact of his former team mate Max Verstappen, though many say he's his equal if only he'd been given the same chances. Pedro de la Rosa and Alfonso de Portago (mid 1950s) are the only other Spanish drivers to ever to grace an F1 podium. Marc Gene hardly shone in the sport and Jaime Alguesauri, who at that time was the youngest driver in F1, had a lacklustre time at Toro Rosso before he was dropped and that was the end of his F1 career. There were several other Spanish F1 drivers over the years but none of them really made much impact. Most didn't score a single point, one never even got beyond qualifying. Only Paco Godia who raced intermitantly in the 1950s managed a grand haul of 6 championship points. Back then points were much harder to get as we all know so he did fairly well, these days all you need is a 7th place finish and you've equalled his no doubt hard won 6 points. Emilio de Villota was entered for fourteen races over four years and only managed to start two of them which just shows how tough it was back then to even make it to the starting grid.

Maybe it is just a lack of interest by the country as a whole in F1 that has held them back, or perhaps it's a lack of money. Other sports seem more important to them like football, basketball, tennis, cycling and golf. They have produced some magnificent football teams and some fine champions in other sports over the years, they've done well in everything they take part in it seems. Everyone has heard of Alonso, also Nadal, Sanchez Vicaria, Sainz Snr., Ballesteros, Olazabal, and Garcia to name but a few. The Spanish football team have won the Euro's three times in all and in 2010 the World Cup as well. The Spanish Roller Hockey team has had even more success, they have won the world championships fourteen times and been second twelve times having done equally as well in the European Championships with fourteen wins and fifteen second places. So it's odd to me that a country of that size, and one that is clearly interested in a varied range of competitive sports, has had so little influence in F1 over the years.

There's no doubting that Alonso has been one of those characters that divides the fans. He made several questionable choices and moves in his career and I came to realise he's another one of those Marmite drivers, most people either like him or loathe him. However you feel about him he's currently the only winner of an F1 race in a country the size of Spain with the long F1 history it has. I still find that amazing.

To more current matters now. In 2018 your pole sitter was Hamilton and your podium was 1st Hamilton, 2nd Bottas, 3rd Verstappen. Who will be standing there this year? Daniel Ricciardo already has a 3 place grid penalty for his little incident in Baku with Daniil Kvyat, naughty Daniel. Based on last years results it's likely to be another 'exciting' Mercedes one, two result unless Ferrari can finally find that testing form which promised so much but has delivered so little so far.
 
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Ruslan

Podium Finisher
Sadly you're probably right, and we're more than likely to have another year of this before maybe, but only maybe, we might get something different in 2021.

It appears that if a top team has an unlimited budget, then they (theoretically) can remain on top forever. Obviously it will not be corrected under the current rules or current system. Mercedes 1-2 for 2019 and for 2020. Once the new rules and budget cap kicks in for 2021, we shall see if this changes the pecking order.

The only question now is can Bottas, who won 3 races in the last two seasons, beat his teammate Hamilton, who won 20 races in the last two seasons.

Anyhow, great lap from Valtteri. He was untouchable today.
 

F1Brits_90

Champion Elect
The only question now is can Bottas, who won 3 races in the last two seasons, beat his teammate Hamilton, who won 20 races in the last two seasons.

thats the million dollar question, because post summer break last season he was dreadful & tailed off massively, finishing 5th in that car last season was unacceptable. but bottas just needs to take it race by race
 

olegg

Race Winner
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Il_leone

Champion Elect
It very much depends who cracks first . I think if Hamilton starts really firing on all cylinders then he was usually unstoppable. What Bottas will need along the way like all drivers is a bit of luck , last year I think the comments about wingman really affected him and he lost his motivation. If Hamilton starts feeling Bottas is getting too much then he might go for moves he would not do . The team radios might get a tetchy and edgy between the drivers.

Right now Mercedes are ahead and don;t have to fight Ferrari as hard as they expected. It is when Ferrari or even Red Bull put a sustained challenge that things may get even more tense in Mercedes especially over tyre choices and pit strategy

I was not surprised Mercedes are still in front because it is really repeating previous seasons where they've been dominant at the track.
 

Ruslan

Podium Finisher
Interesting race, but not a great one.

1. Hamilton: two good starts in two races in a row. This used to be his weakness. Clearly demonstrated on the first couple of laps of the race and the first couple of laps after the safety car, that he can be faster than Bottas when he needs to be.
2. Bottas: We shall see if he can sustain a fight with Hamilton for the rest of the season. I have my doubts.
3. Verstappen: Good drive.
4-5 Vettel/Leclerc/Ferrari: They kind of didn't really do what they were supposed to do. Vettel's start was a little hair-raising. Team management seemed confused. Hard to say what was going on with "team orders" but it appears to be working against them. As it is, Verstappen is now ahead of both their drivers in the points. Ferrari clearly has a better engine, this should not be a contest.
6. Gasly: Solid result. May have saved himself for now.
7: Magnussen: This guy is ruthless. Not sure if Haas should commend him or replace him.
8-12: All good races by all of these guys.

Driver of the day: Either Hamilton, Verstappen or Kvyat, depending on your biases.
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
There was a lot said about Stroll yesterday during quali and lets say he has not enhanced his credibility any further today

Ferrari have got a dilemma - they are not going to catch Mercedes unless they start backing 1 driver but they don't seem to be fully sure how to manage this

Renault - they are slower than Mclaren so its clearly the chassis that's the issue but how much has the off field rumblings about Carlos Ghosn upsetted the F1 operations. There was hope that they would be getting closer to the front this season

Hamilton - good start but that period after safety car - he seems to be most switched on driver being able to blitz the field in doing so. It has happened a few times this season already

Bottas - back to v1.5 again

-----------------------

Is it a two horse race ? - 5 1-2's is ridiculous performance but a few mediocre races from Mercedes could change all that. Next race was arguably one of the worst tracks Mercedes performed on last year and the Red Bulls were dominant and should have had a 1 -2.

I am expecting the Haas to struggle there and Mclaren might be higher up than they ought to be
 
4-5 Vettel/Leclerc/Ferrari: They kind of didn't really do what they were supposed to do. Vettel's start was a little hair-raising. Team management seemed confused. Hard to say what was going on with "team orders" but it appears to be working against them. As it is, Verstappen is now ahead of both their drivers in the points. Ferrari clearly has a better engine, this should not be a contest.
.

I think that Vettel's start was quite good, what I can't quite understand about his race is why he was so slow on turn 3, he got there right behind Bottas and by the end of the turn he was way off Bottas and had lost a position to Verstappen.

Today I think that Vettel was slightly faster than Leclerc.

Regarding Ferrari IMHO they made a few mistakes, with both drivers for that matter, because either you let the faster pass the slower staight away or you let them race. On both occasions they waited a few laps, probably in order to see if the drivers could sort things out on track, and then imposed an order. Also I think that Leclerc slamming the door on Vettel wasn't super smart, escecially considering that up to the stage of the race Vettel had moved out of the way to let him pass.

But that wasn't the end of Ferrari's problems because Leclerc with white tyres couldn't get to the end of the race, when the SC was deployed Verstappen was 3 seconds off him and closing fast, and the same applies to Vettel. IMHO Leclerc was lucky with the SC because otherwise I fear that he would have had to stop for fresh tyres and he would have likely lost 5th to Gasly.

It seems that at Ferrari they don't take some time to check how the various tyres will perform in race conditions, putting hard tyres on Leclerc didn't make much sense as he was very slow and he couldn't get to the end of the race anyway

But that is nothing compared to Ferrari's problems in the last sector, they were hopelessly slow on the last couple of corners. Vettel had a very difficult second to last corner exit. A powerful engine means nothing if you can't get out fast from the last corner before a straight
 

Titch

World Champion
Premium Contributor
Watching the highlights at the moment. It occurs to me that not only is Ferrari not living up to its promise, but the number one driver is not on top form either.
 

Titch

World Champion
Premium Contributor
There are an awful lot of add breaks on the highlights programme !
:o.
Maybe I’ll tape Sky next time.
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
Ferrari aint going to do things properly running the Italian way period . If Ferrari had Ross Brawn right now they would be serious challengers even without the fastest car.

Monaco next race could be a real indication of Ferrari's problems with the car... we know in previous years Mercedes struggled on this track and Red Bull were the fastest but Vettel could have won last year when Ricciardo had an engine issue. So we know Ferrari have been strong and Mercedes haven't

Surely another Merc 1-2 is out of the question
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
Mercedes vs Ferrari - It is the sum of the individual parts which is greater than the individual parts themselves which is why Mercedes are miles ahead of Ferrari at the moment
 

Ruslan

Podium Finisher
I think that Vettel's start was quite good, what I can't quite understand about his race is why he was so slow on turn 3, he got there right behind Bottas and by the end of the turn he was way off Bottas and had lost a position to Verstappen.

It was a good start, and then it kind of went astray after that. I don't know if you saw the in-camera car from Bottas, but if he had not suddenly backed down, it could have been a three-car accident at the start. Pretty risky stuff.

Today I think that Vettel was slightly faster than Leclerc.

I think so, and I think he has been more often than not. As good as Leclerc is, I do think people are little quick in wanting to replace Vettel with him.

Regarding Ferrari IMHO they made a few mistakes, with both drivers for that matter, because either you let the faster pass the slower staight away or you let them race. On both occasions they waited a few laps, probably in order to see if the drivers could sort things out on track, and then imposed an order. Also I think that Leclerc slamming the door on Vettel wasn't super smart, especially considering that up to the stage of the race Vettel had moved out of the way to let him pass.

Very nice summary of the problems. It was a weird time strategy and in the end, Verstappen got 3rd. Not sure that would have happened if they done something or other different than what they did do.

But that wasn't the end of Ferrari's problems because Leclerc with white tyres couldn't get to the end of the race, when the SC was deployed Verstappen was 3 seconds off him and closing fast, and the same applies to Vettel. IMHO Leclerc was lucky with the SC because otherwise I fear that he would have had to stop for fresh tyres and he would have likely lost 5th to Gasly.
It seems that at Ferrari they don't take some time to check how the various tyres will perform in race conditions, putting hard tyres on Leclerc didn't make much sense as he was very slow and he couldn't get to the end of the race anyway

I assumed when he stopped for whites...that they were doing a carefully calculated stay out strategy and doing a split strategy. So much for careful calculations.

In the first five races, how many of those races has Ferrari thrown away a position or a win? Three?
 
Ferrari aint going to do things properly running the Italian way period . If Ferrari had Ross Brawn right now they would be serious challengers even without the fastest car.

I hope that you don't mind if I say that I find this post silly and crass... apart from the fact that a considerable number of the guys running Ferrari are not Italian, if they had Ross Brawn at the helm they would probably be cheating in some sort of way, Ross brawn has an illustrious career running, more often than not, on the wrong side of the regulations.
 

Angel

Race Winner
Contributor
There are an awful lot of add breaks on the highlights programme !
:o.
Maybe I’ll tape Sky next time.
Sometimes they're more interesting than the races lately. :rolleyes:

Once again we saw the first few corners and the result was pretty much destined from that point on. A safety car did nothing to liven things up really. One of the more 'exciting' parts was the Haas guys having a bit of a battle between them, imagine if they'd have taken one another off!
 

Angel

Race Winner
Contributor
It was a good start, and then it kind of went astray after that. I don't know if you saw the in-camera car from Bottas, but if he had not suddenly backed down, it could have been a three-car accident at the start. Pretty risky stuff.


In the first five races, how many of those races has Ferrari thrown away a position or a win? Three?

Yes that was a hairy moment for Bottas there, they did well to keep all three cars on the road. See, Vettel can do it when he tries!

In answer to the second point, too many :bawl:
 

Ruslan

Podium Finisher
Yes that was a hairy moment for Bottas there, they did well to keep all three cars on the road. See, Vettel can do it when he tries!

I think Bottas gets most of the credit here. I think Vettel was overly aggressive and took a high risk attempt that did not cost him.

In answer to the second point, too many :bawl:

Sorry. Looks like Mercedes dominance through 2020. And then.......how will Ferrari work under a budget cap and who will benefit the most?

It is beginning to look like, Vettel, after winning four championships in his first six seasons in F1, may never win another. Wrong place wrong time.

It is not too late to become a Hamilton fan ;)
 
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Angel

Race Winner
Contributor
I think Bottas gets most of the credit here. I think Vettel was overly aggressive and took a high risk attempt that did not cost him.

It is not too late to become a Hamilton fan ;)

Bottas was just the meat in the sandwich, much like Zonta all those years ago ;) See Vettel got complaints for backing out of moves like that before. I think he had to try that move the way things are (DC agreed with me as it goes). Thankfully he didn't ruin his race or anyone else's.

Me become a Hamilton fan? How very dare you? :spank::p
 
Bottas was just the meat in the sandwich, much like Zonta all those years ago ;) See Vettel got complaints for backing out of moves like that before. I think he had to try that move the way things are (DC agreed with me as it goes). Thankfully he didn't ruin his race or anyone else's.

I think all of them must be praised for taking that turn in anger without going off their respective lines, IMHO Bottas had a great car control when he got on the power, Hamilton didn't miss the apex (easy in such a situation) and Vettel kept it neat and tidy despite having to brake with his front left fully loaded
 
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