Following a frenetic 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone, Mercedes returned to its dominant form at today’s Spanish Grand Prix by overtaking the entire field bar Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
The fantastic Barcelona track does not always provide thrilling races due to its layout and today was a race without a real competition at the front. Tyres were expected to spice things up, but they held on fairly well, making it very difficult for drivers to execute overtaking manoeuvres.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton cruised to an easy victory with his team-mate Valtteri Bottas finishing third following a dismal start. Last weekend’s race winner Max Verstappen squeezed out pretty much everything of his RB16, but even so he could only finish second, over twenty seconds behind the reigning champion.
"This feels absolutely incredible. I was just in a daze out there, I didn't even know it was the last lap in the end, that's how in the zone I was. I can't remember the last time I felt like that. It was really special and a real surprise after our recent tyre problems. We brought all of our learnings from the previous weekend into this one and that enabled us to do well today. A fantastic effort from everyone in the team, I'm so grateful for all their hard work and for continuing to push, so a huge thank you to everyone at the factories. I got the perfect start and then it was all about tyre management. It was so hot out there and very demanding, but I was just focused on protecting the tyres and bringing the car home. What an incredible result."Valtteri Bottas
"Of course, this is very disappointing, I'm not here to finish third. The start was really the key point for my race - it just wasn't good enough, so I lost a few positions. We'll have to look into what happened, but ultimately the guys behind me got a good tow and were able to overtake me. On a track like this, where overtaking in the race is so difficult and track position is everything, your race becomes very tricky if you lose places. So, I think with a different start the end result would have been very different. In the first stint, I had to push hard to make up ground which worked fairly well. In stint two, I was pretty much right behind Max all the time, but it is so difficult to overtake here, and you need a really big time difference. We had a free pit stop at the end, so I could pit for fresh tyres and got the fastest lap. Overall, it wasn't the race I had hoped for, but sometimes that's just the way it goes. We'll analyse everything from the race and move onto the next one."
Red BullMax Verstappen
“It’s a great result for us to split the two Mercedes cars today after they have been so quick and I’m very happy with that. Overall, it’s been another strong weekend with a good amount of points which we should be happy with. I made a good start and it was important to get past Valtteri early, which I did. I tried everything to stay with Lewis in the first stint but overall their car was faster and Lewis was a bit too quick today. From then onwards we focused on our own race and the car felt good. I expected some trouble from Valtteri towards the end when he pitted but I was happy with my tyres and he wasn’t catching. Second is of course good but that’s not why we are here, we are here to win so you can never be fully satisfied unless you do that. At the moment we’re in-between the two Mercedes cars and of course we’d like to push Lewis harder but you have to be realistic as they still have the faster car.”Alex Albon
“It was a hard afternoon and I’m not happy with my race. It was really tricky out there and I just didn’t have any grip on any tyre compound. Each stint I was nursing and looking after the tyres but after six or seven laps I just had no grip. It was frustrating and the opposite to Silverstone last week. No matter what we did we just really struggled to keep the tyres alive. It hasn’t been an issue this year so we’ll need to look at the data and see the reasons behind it because at the moment we just have question marks. I was struggling in sector three mostly, I couldn’t stay close enough to cars ahead so I couldn’t overtake and I was kind of a sitting duck. Now we need to understand why today was so different to last weekend in the race so we can come back stronger and improve for Spa.”
Racing PointSergio Perez
“I had a difficult start today and lost a place to Lance, but we were able to recover and have a strong race. I think it was on the edge to make a one-stop work, but we managed to do it, which took a lot of tyre management, and great work from the team to make it happen. It was also fun to battle Lance, but the priority was to save the tyres. I’m disappointed to have got a five seconds time penalty: I don’t think it was fair considering the first opportunity I had to get out of Lewis's way was into Turn 1. But the main thing is that we were able to hold onto P5, and we scored a lot of points for the team today. It’s been a positive comeback for me and I want to thank the team for their help in getting me back up to speed so quickly.”Lance Stroll
“I had a great launch off the line and I was able to pass Checo and the Mercedes of Bottas, which set me up for a good race. It was a great feeling to race a few laps in third, even if we knew we weren’t racing the Mercedes – P4 was the maximum today. It was good to battle with Checo on track for a bit too, even if it probably gave Otmar a few more grey hairs! We changed to a two-stop in the race, but I was able to make up places, and I managed to overtake Vettel late on, and I gained a place through Checo’s penalty too. Today was all about managing the tyres, which was difficult in the heat – but we made it work. The dark clouds arriving late in the race were a nice relief from the sun! The team did a great job today and I’m happy we scored some big points. I’m excited to get to Spa now because the track should suit our car and we can aim for more points.”
“A very good day for me and the team. To finally get a good result after the issues of the previous four races feels great and I honestly think we deserve it. We put in a very good fight with the Racing Points and defending from the Red Bull after the pit-stop was key. It’s a pity that I got lapped by Max [Verstappen] at the end of the race and lost a couple of seconds, because Checo [Perez] had the time penalty and I think we could've finished in front of him. But anyway, the mechanics did a good job today, with all four pit stops under three seconds, and we managed to get both cars in the points. This has been a confidence-building weekend for the team and hopefully a turning point in my season.”Lando Norris
“A tough race. We had really good pace in the car but, as usual in Spain, it was very difficult to overtake. You can only really overtake in one corner, and if the car in front gets a good enough exit out of the final corner and there is a train of cars, then it’s pretty much impossible even if you are quicker. It’s a shame – because the car felt good. It came alive a lot towards the end. It would’ve been nice to use a little bit more but tenth was, I think, the best we could’ve done today, so I’m happy to be in the points.”
"Today we tried something different and it paid off. I was struggling in the first stint, even on medium tyres, while in the second one I felt a lot better, despite having the soft tyre for many laps. There was some rain forecast at some stage so we extended our stint on softs. In the end we were in a position in which we had nothing to lose, so we took the risk and decided to try and make it to the end. Luckily it worked and this result reflects the maximum we could do today with the car. There is still lots of work to do, but at the moment this is our true pace, that’s why sometimes we have to take some risks in order to have more or different options to finish ahead of our competitors."Charles Leclerc
“It’s a shame that we couldn’t finish the race today. I think we had a good chance to finish around P6 or even higher. We were very competitive on the softs and were also quick on the mediums, which we couldn’t fully show because of traffic. The plan was for me to do a one-stop and it was going quite well. Unfortunately, we had an issue around midrace. Suddenly my screen and engine switched off and the rear wheels locked. We are not yet sure what happened and are investigating the cause. The car eventually started up again, but it was already too late to continue because I had undone my seatbelts and had to return to the pits. Although this year is a little bit tougher than last, we are all motivated to bring home the best results possible for the team and we will keep working hard to achieve this.”
“It was a great race and I’m happy to get another two points for the team this weekend. We had a good start and I managed to pass Charles and Lando in Turn 1 which put me in eighth position. We got held up a bit in the second stint behind other cars in a train of DRS, so we didn’t make full use of the prime tyres, which was a bit of a shame. However, I think there are a lot of positives to take away from Barcelona, which is quite a challenging track in terms of car performance, and it was nice to be in the mix with the McLarens for most of the race. We can be pleased with our result today and now we start focusing on Spa.”Daniil Kvyat
“I can’t say it was a satisfying race as it was quite frustrating. I wasn’t as comfortable in the car as I usually feel on Sundays. We still need to look into the details and try to understand why - maybe our tyre usage wasn’t optimal. I was happy with my initial start, I had some nice battles with Ferrari and Ricciardo, so I thought there was more for me to take today and finish in a better position. I think there are a few things we can learn from this weekend and we should be able to do well in the next races.”
“It was tough today and certainly not where we want to be. At every race up until now, we’ve had at least one car in the points, so this is the first one without it. It was a pretty difficult race and making the one-stop work was difficult. Obviously, it’s a bit disappointing as we came here expecting much more, especially after two decent races last time out. We didn’t expect to have a difficult weekend, but it was very tight out there. We were close to the top ten in qualifying and in the race, so we’ll try and find out where we lost those couple of tenths and move on to the next race.”Esteban Ocon
“There wasn’t much more we could have done today. As a team, we struggled for pace this weekend. The car didn’t behave how we wanted, and we lacked grip and balance. From the beginning of the weekend, we felt the car didn’t behave like at Silverstone, so we have more work to do in some of those areas. We have a week off to analyse it and come back stronger. I had a couple of fun battles on track today and made a few overtakes, so that’s one positive we can draw upon.”
Alfa RomeoKimi Raikkonen
“The car had a really good pace in the final stint, on the soft tyres, and I wish we had another set to use as they worked really well. Unfortunately we didn’t, so the end result is a bit disappointing as I felt we could have had a bit more. All in all, I think we were a bit better this weekend: we have to keep trying new things to maximise our car’s performance and find more speed. We need to keep improving in this direction.”Antonio Giovinazzi
“We have some positives to look at today. In the end it was a difficult race but, starting from the back, I think we achieved all we could from this Sunday. We finished ahead of our direct rivals in the championship and we showed good pace, especially in the final stint on softs. Of course, we still need to do a lot of work but we can get some encouragement from today.”
“From lap one to the last lap, it wasn’t good. The car was a handful. I just can’t understand what has happened since Friday. Our long runs, short runs, everything was fast and competitive on Friday – everything was under control. I can’t explain why it was so good then, and not the rest of the weekend. It was just not fun today. It was a tough day at the office.”Kevin Magnussen
“I think we did everything we could today. On our side, I think we just missed some pace, which is of course a very crucial thing. In terms of driving the race, and strategy, everything we thought we needed to do before the race – we did. We made a one-stop work, got a good start, I overtook when I needed to, got the balance right in the car, and all the communication from the team to me went well. It felt like a good race, it’s just that the result isn’t so good. It’s just down to pace, I guess. Other than that, we did the best that we could.”
"The race was better than expected. I made a good start, overtook a couple of drivers and then spent the whole afternoon battling. I managed to overtake Romain (Grosjean) on track which was nice, then I had a nice little tussle with Kimi (Raikkonen). We used an alternative strategy to our main rivals and it didn’t pay off, but we had to in our position. There are definitely positives to take away, so I’m relatively pleased with this afternoon."Nicholas Latifi
"It was quite tricky. I got a good start but then struggled on the opening lap. For the first five or six laps I had no confidence and it undid my race in that first stint. We tried to do something alternative strategy wise, but it didn’t end up working out. My second and third stints pace wise were relatively not so bad but I think that’s all we could manage after the opening stint."