Formula 1’s visit to Spain delivered more of the same unrequited hopes of a Ferrari revival. Once again, rivals Mercedes-AMG scorched the field and romped to an incredible fifth consecutive 1-2 finish, with Lewis Hamilton jumping teammate Valtteri Bottas at the start to claim victory and return to the lead of the Drivers’ Championship standings.
Despite bringing a wealth of upgrades and a new engine development to Spain, Ferrari found itself seemingly further behind the Mercedes runners and worryingly falling into the clutches of Red Bull Racing. The red cars finished fourth and fifth on the road, with Mac Verstappen getting his Red Bull Honda ahead at the start to complete the podium places.
The race was won at the start by Hamilton who, despite starting on the dirtier side of the grid behind teammate and pole-sitter Bottas, got the jump on the Finn who faltered off the line with a stuttering clutch. Bottas tried to fend off Hamilton but it was all over before Turn 1 as Hamilton doggedly held the inside line to claim the lead.
Vettel made a fast start from third place and loomed alongside Bottas’ left on the approach to Turn 1. He left his braking a little too late, locking up as he tried to make the corner and flat-spotting his left-front tyre in the process. As he rejoined the circuit he got in the way of teammate Charles Leclerc, who had to lift off to avoid hitting the sister Ferrari and in turn that allowed Verstappen to emerge from the scrum in third place.
Overtaking, let alone following another car closely, was proving almost impossible under heavy fuel. as the two Mercedes’ pulled away, it was clear that fifth-placed Leclerc was quicker than his teammate Vettel, and so the telephone call came from the Ferrari pit wall for their driver to swap places. It made no difference, and later in the race when they were on different tyre combinations, the call was made again for Vettel to get back in front of Leclerc.
What will quite possibly be the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya’s swansong Grand Prix proved to be a total fizzer. There was a little bit of excitement added with twenty laps to go when Lando Norris punted Lance Stroll into the gravel at Turn 2, triggering a full Safety Car so both drivers’ cars could be safely retrieved.
That bunched the field and gave hope of a tight battle to the finish line, but once again Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen pulled clear of each other and the rest of the field.
There was some action in the closing laps as the two Haas teammates of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen waged a fierce battle for seventh place. This was resolved in the Dane’s favour, but only after he had rubbed wheels with Grosjean and forced the him through the Turn 1 run-off. This probably caused damage to Grosjean’s car, leaving the Frenchman to unsuccessfully fend off the chasing Carlos Sainz Jr. and Daniil Kvyat, who both managed to slip ahead into eighth and ninth place respectively.
|FORMULA 1 EMIRATES GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA 2019 – FINAL CLASSIFICATION (66 LAPS)|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Laps||Result||Pts|
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||66||1:35:50.443||26|
|2.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG Motorsport W10||66||+ 4.074||18|
|3.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing RB15||66||+ 7.679||15|
|4.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||66||+ 9.167||12|
|5.||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari SF90||66||+ 13.361||10|
|6.||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Racing RB15||66||+ 19.576||8|
|7.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team VF-19||66||+ 28.159||6|
|8.||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||66||+ 32.342||4|
|9.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||66||+ 33.056||2|
|10.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team VF-19||66||+ 34.641||1|
|11.||Alexander Albon||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda STR14||66||+ 35.445|
|12.||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team RS19||66||+ 36.758|
|13.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault F1 Team RS19||66||+ 39.241|
|14.||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||66||+ 41.803|
|15.||Sergio Pérez||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||66||+ 46.877|
|16.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing C38||66||+ 47.691|
|17.||George Russell||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||65||1 lap behind|
|18.||Robert Kubica||ROKiT Williams Racing FW42||65||1 lap behind|
|Not Classified||Team / Entry||Laps||Reason|
|DNF.||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team MCL34||44||Collision|
|DNF.||Lance Stroll||Racing Point F1 Team RP19||44||Collision|
Points are awarded to the top 10 classified finishers on a 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 scale.
Lewis Hamilton is awarded an additional 1 championship point for posting the fastest lap of the race by a points’ finisher.
Images via Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport