RACE REPORT AND DRIVER INTERVIEWS – 2018 Spanish Grand Prix

formula-1-spanish-grand-prix-report

RACE REPORT AND DRIVER INTERVIEWS – 2018 Spanish Grand Prix

Location: Spain

Circuit: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

We saw the tables turn at the 2018 Spanish Grand Prix – with the first front-row lockout for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas team and after a dreadful start to his season, Max Verstappen in P3.

The race started off well – Hamilton maintained his position and pretty much controlled the whole race. His direct championship competition, Sebastian Vettel also had a good start – picking up a two from both Mercedes drivers at the start to make his way past Bottas.

As the race continued we had a few disruptions with ongoing battles resulting in the Safety Car which was then followed by the VSC (Virtual Safety Car) and this is where everything changed for the Ferrari team, who brought in Sebastian Vettel for another tyre change but due to a delay – didn’t get back out in front of Verstappen.

(Following the race, Vettel said that his tyres were not great and despite being on fresher tyres, he was still struggling towards the end.)

Max Verstappen, despite the damage, brought his car home to claim P3 – a great result following the start of his season, not forgetting the Azerbaijan Grand Prix which saw him and Daniel Ricciardo come together.

Daniel Ricciardo on the other hand had a positive race overall however mentioned that the car was very inconsistent and uncomfortable to drive – finding bursts of power for a good lap and then not-so-much.

The two Spaniards, Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz Jnr also had positive races – they seem to get such a boost from the fans, the atmosphere and support. Fernando Alonso suffered yet more damage after being hit at the start but again, managed to get through the race.

Here’s what the drivers had to say following the 2018 Spanish Grand Prix.

MERCEDES – 2018 Spanish Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton – 1st

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Lewis Hamilton: “I’m really, really happy. I had no idea how the race was going to play out. We got the qualifying right yesterday, but the temperatures were going up and down today, clouds were coming over and we didn’t know if it was going to rain or not. But I got a good start and after that the others didn’t have the pace to keep up with me.”

“I was pulling away almost a second a lap and I was thinking “Yes, let’s keep this up!” – and it stayed that way for the rest of the race. To get our first 1-2 of the season here is a really great result for the team.”

“Everyone’s worked so hard, we had a great pit stop and great strategy. I said that I wanted to come win the way that I won and when I was coming across the line I was just happy that I did as I planned to.”

“The team have been working very hard to understand the tyres and how the car works, so I think it all came together this weekend. We definitely go to Monaco on a high note, but we know that we still have a lot of work to do.”

“It’s really important that we all continue to push and work as hard as we have done during this first part of the season.”

Valtteri Bottas – 2nd

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Valtteri Bottas: “This is a perfect result for us as a team. I was in a difficult situation after the first stint because I was stuck behind Sebastian.”

“We knew that we had a strong car with a lot of pace and I think that we were quicker, but it is so hard to overtake here at this track. But we made the right choice when Sebastian pitted under the VSC and decided to stay out.”

“Before the race we thought a one-stop would be nearly impossible, but when we saw the tyres were holding up better than expected we changed our strategy.”

“Of course I would have rather won the race, but the team did a really good job today and their decision secured this 1-2 for us. It’s great to get a lot of points for the team today.”

“The next race in Monaco could be difficult for us; I think Red Bull will be really strong and Ferrari was on pole last year. So we need to keep working hard and believe in our ability to improve things.”

Toto Wolff – Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

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Toto Wolff: “That was a great result but there was no point this afternoon where it felt as comfortable as it might have looked from outside. Lewis did a fantastic job this afternoon: a great start, impressive pace in the opening stint and perfect management of the medium tyre.”

“For Valtteri, we tried to overcut in the first stint and just missed out on passing Vettel. Then when Sebastian took the chance to pit again under the VSC, we decided to do the opposite and take the medium tyre to the finish.”

“That involved running the tyre a long way, a little bit into the unknown with over 45 laps to do on it, and we had our hearts in our mouths in the final laps as there were some vibrations on the front axle as well.”

“Valtteri did the perfect job to manage the load on the left front and the falling tyre temperatures on old tyres, and sealed a really special one-two finish.”

“It feels like a long time since we had a 1-2 finish, so there’s definitely a measure of relief in how we asserted ourselves today. But we know as well that this was a good circuit for us and the temperatures fell in our favour as well. So we need to stay calm and humble, because it can be a different ball game again next time round.”

“We will savour the result this evening – but our thoughts are already turning to Monaco, to the struggles we had there last year and to how we can make sure not to suffer a repeat.”

FERRARI – 2018 Spanish Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel – 4th

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Sebastian Vettel: “Our tyres didn’t last as long as for the others, so we couldn’t follow the same strategy. We had to stop again and we obviously lost two positions, and also a bit of time during the pit-stop itself. But staying out was not an option today.”

“We had problems finding the right balance of the car and we were struggling with the front tyres. Maybe the changes for this weekend had a bad impact on us, worse than the one the others had.”

“So, I am happy to go back to ‘normal’ tyres in Monaco as we seemed to struggle a little bit more than the others. Today we just didn’t have the right pace, Mercedes was faster than us and we hadn’t many chances.”

“We tried our best, but something was missing and we need to improve on this. During the whole weekend it has been tough to find the right balance on these new tyres. But I see no reason for not being optimistic for the next race.”

Kimi Raikkonen – DNF

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Kimi Raikkonen: “My race was going pretty ok today, I was in a decent position and the speed was good. I was running smoothly and saving the tyres.”

“Everything could have been alright, but unfortunately it did not happen. At one point I started losing power; I managed to drive around but obviously not at full speed anymore, so I drove back to the garage.”

“We don’t know more than that about the issue we had, we need to take the car back to the factory and check what happened. Looking at the Championship, this result is far from ideal, and I’m pretty disappointed.”

“There is nothing we could have done differently today, but we need to try and keep pushing.”

Maurizio Arrivabene – Team Principal

“In many ways, this is a weekend in which nothing went right. Now, calmly and with accuracy, we need to analyse the reasons, and they are various, which prevented us from exploiting the potential we demonstrated in the previous races. Then we will prepare for the upcoming Monaco Grand Prix, in a professional, determined and confident manner.”

RED BULL RACING – 2018 Spanish Grand Prix

Max Verstappen – 3rd

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Max Verstappen: “I always feel quite good on this track and today has been a nice turning point after the first few races where it hasn’t gone to plan. To come back and get on the podium is really nice.”

“The car behaved really well all race on both soft and medium tyres. It felt balanced and had good pace so I was confident I could push on and achieve a good result. We lost a bit too much time at the beginning behind Kimi and it would have been hard to overtake him.”

“We got a bit lucky with him having the problem and therefore allowing us to get an extra place and increase our speed. After that I could settle down and concentrate on my own race. I saw Sebastian approaching but I knew I had relatively fresh tyres so it would be hard for him to overtake, this allowed me to manage the situation quite well. I had some damage to the front wing which luckily didn’t affect the performance too much.”

“The piece fell off and it only meant a small amount of oversteer so I was able to keep a solid pace and bring it home in third place. We were quick here in the last sector which is all low speed corners so looking ahead to Monaco we can hope for a good result.”

“We will concentrate on the set-up, get a good balance and hopefully put ourselves in with a real chance.”

Daniel Ricciardo – 5th

Daniel Ricciardo: “It was certainly a strange race. At the beginning we had good pace and it seemed like Kimi was a bit slower than Max and myself.”

“I thought I was faster than them but then once they picked up the pace I wasn’t really able to go with them. When we pitted for the medium tyre we came out in traffic and lost some rhythm. I also had a spin on the VSC re-start, struggling to keep heat in the tyres, which really put me out of the race.”

“Fortunately there were no walls but it put me in no-man’s land. There were moments where the car was really fast but it was just too difficult to get it every lap. I would set the fastest lap and then the next lap I would nearly spin.”

“There is potential but it’s just hard to extract consistently at the moment, so we have some more to learn with this new package.”

“In the end, it was a pretty boring race but I’m going to take some positives from the potential we have. Monaco should be our strongest circuit to date on raw pace so I’m looking forward to getting there in a few weeks.”

Christian Horner – Team Principal

“A solid performance today, picking up a podium, and our 150th podium which is notable and deserved achievement for the team. It is also Max’s first podium of the season which will be a good confidence boost for him after enduring a tricky first four races.”

“We had strong pace in the race today and managed to make the soft tyre go pretty much to half distance. The pit stops got us onto the medium tyre which was always going to put us in better shape for the last 25 per cent of the race.”

“Unfortunately Max sustained some damage in contact with the Williams of Lance Stroll under the Virtual Safety Car but even with that damage he had enough pace in hand to maintain track position ahead of Sebastian and make the podium. Daniel had some consolation in his race with the fastest lap proving the strength of the upgrades brought to Spain this weekend.”

“Unfortunately he lost a bit of ground with a spin during the VSC period but once again we’ve seen that we have a competitive race car.”

MCLAREN – 2018 Spanish Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso – 8th

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Fernando Alonso: “We started on the Supersoft tyres today because of yesterday’s qualifying, so the plan was to gain some positions in the first couple of laps and then stop very early to change tyres.”

“Instead, we found ourselves losing several positions in the first lap because of the incident at Turn Two, so at that point I thought it was impossible to get any points today. But, luckily, we had a good race, we had a good strategy with a good call for only one stop on the Medium tyres, and we took those four points.”

“During the race, I was concentrating more on the sky than the cheering grandstands, as in some corners there were very dark clouds. I thought maybe some rain could have helped us, but unfortunately it didn’t come in the end.”

“It was difficult to overtake today – I was behind Leclerc for a long time – as we are still lacking some straight-line speed to be able to pass.”

“This is something we’re working on; we know where our car’s weaknesses lie and hopefully we’ll find a solution quite soon. We made a good step forward here, but we know it’s going to be a tough battle until the end of the season.”

“It’s important to score points every race and we have done so far for five consecutive races. I’m happy right now.”

Stoffel Vandoorne – DNF

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Stoffel Vandoorne: “It was an unfortunate end to the race. I felt that the race was going to come towards us at the end, we had a one-stop strategy and extended the first stint to go very long on the Soft tyres.”

“We had managed the tyres well and we wanted to create a big tyre delta to the others. It’s always hard to predict exactly where we would’ve ended up, but I feel at the end we could’ve had some more chances to overtake.”

“We had a good launch for the first time this season! The first corner was all about avoiding cars in slippery conditions with a lot of cars spinning off. It was difficult to keep the car on the track, especially at the beginning.”

“We don’t know yet exactly what the problem was that ended our race early, but it looks like the gearbox as I lost drive completely. It’s a shame because we had reasonable pace.”

“The upgrades we brought here are definitely a first step forward. We’ve been able to make progress especially for qualifying, but there’s still a long way to go and we need to keep improving, and keep bringing some new parts to every race.”

RENAULT- 2018 Spanish Grand Prix

Nico Hulkenberg – DNF

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Nico Hulkenberg: “It was messy into turns one and two but in turn three it got a lot messier. I saw a car spin in front of me and a lot of smoke.”

“It happened very quickly so I couldn’t avoid Grosjean spinning backwards into my car. It’s a pity as we were competitive, we have good pace so it’s frustrating not to have shown that yesterday and today.”

“It’s difficult to swallow – especially when it’s not your fault. We’ll have to try again in two weeks.”

Carlos Sainz – 7th

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Carlos Sainz: “I think it’s a very positive result for me and the team. We can be very proud of what we’ve achieved this weekend as this track was not ideal for us.”

“We turned things around well since Friday, did a very good start and managed to finish seventh which I think was the best we could hope for. It feels great to get another good result at home and I hope the fans have enjoyed the race.”

“Many thanks to all for their support! It’s good progress for the midfield fight and important points for the team. We have areas to work on, but we are making good progress – Let’s keep pushing!”

Here are some photos from the weekend!

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Hamilton-bottas-press-conference

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sebastian-vettel-2018

kimi-raikkonen

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The Formula 1 Girl 🙂

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