Race Report: Hamilton wins a tactical Spanish GP

Photo by: www.Kymillman.com/f1

In the last ten years, there have been ten different winners at the Spanish Grand Prix. If history had anything to say, Sunday’s race might be someone new. The first lap collision between Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen meant that the possibility, statistically, got better for a new winner and perhaps in the form of Valtteri Bottas who was involved in the collision but not damaged. History was beaten Sunday as Lewis won his 55th race.

The race could be reduced to a tactical nightmare for strategists on whether a 2-stop race or 3-stop race was the right call given the large pace delta between the soft and medium tire.

Lewis Hamilton dodged a bullet with a superior race strategy from Mercedes (soft, med, soft) to reduce the drivers’ championship to just six points with his win in Spain.


The race was always going to be a tactical nightmare for race strategists bit for Mercedes, they had to cover Vettel’s better long-run pace on the soft compounds and also manage the traffic when you stop and that’s where Lewis Hamilton and his race engineer pulled the race out of the bag. There’s nothing easy about race strategy and especially at this race so beating a faster Ferrari on softs is a big achievement.

A win for Lewis Hamilton who had to put in a grinding and gutsy drive to victory with a superior race strategy call from Mercedes. Could Mercedes have gotten their head around what plagued Lewis in Russia and their tire degradation issues? A few races ago, running that long on softs may not have been as easy as it seemed today.

A win for Daniel Ricciardo who gave Red Bull its first podium of the year finishing third by staying fast and in the hunt all race long.

A big win for Force India—or should I say Brabham…potentially—with both drivers in the points with Perez in fourth and Ocon, the rookie, in fifth. A great run for a team that NBC Sports said were moving backwards with their upgrades…apparently not. The best team result for the team this year. It was Sergio Perez’s 15th points finish in a row! Esteban Ocon had his best finish in fifth in his fifth race for the team. A terrific performance for Ocon.

A win for Daniil Kvyat who started at the back of the grid and finished in the points with an aggressive drive forward in a car that he said he didn’t like at all on Saturday. His teammate, Carlos Sainz, who also had a great day finishing ahead of Daniil in 7th.

A big win for Ferrari and Kimi Raikkonen who invited the little race fan into the pits to meet his hero. Poor little guy was in tears and inconsolable when Kimi was out at turn one and Ferrari took the time to make his day a little brighter. Great job Ferrari!

A win for the Mercedes quality desk that Toto Wolff pounds on relentlessly.

A huge win for Pascal Wehrlein to score points for Sauber in 8th giving the team a seriously needed points haul with a very spirited drive. The one-stopper paid dividends coupled with a great drive.

A win for Haas F1 to get Grosjean in the points but it could have been a dual-points finish if Magnussen hadn’t had the tire puncture.


A fail for Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen for exiting the race in turn one. It may not have been totally their fault as Bottas pressed both but failing to finish the race is an overall fail and Ferrari could have really used Kimi tactically in the race.

As much as Mercedes and Hamilton’s correct read on the traffic and race strategy, Ferrari just missed out on the right call with Sebastian Vettel left on medium compounds to the end fo the race. The traffic, as well as Bottas, put just enough of a drag on Vettel’s race to relegate him to second. This is also where Ferrari could have used Kimi Raikkonen to run blocker and neutralize the impact Bottas had on Vettel’s race.

A fail for a blown engine for Bottas but with all deference to the team, it was an older engine.

A gutting fail for a small puncture late in the race for Kevin Magnussen who was beating his teammate, Grosjean, all weekend and left him out of the points. Kevin tried a pass on Kvyat but hit the Russian causing a puncture.

A fail for Jolyon Palmer who’s teammate muscled his way up to 6th place giving Renault points while Palmer could only manage 15th. Sirotkin may be looking better and better.

A fail for Williams for both cars being out of the points. It may not be a track that flatters the car but they need the points because Force India is becoming the best of the rest. Williams now slide behind Toro Rosso in the points. 

A fail for Honda who couldn’t give Fernando Alonso the shove to capitalize on his qualifying result as they finished in 12th and outside the points. Alonso was positive and said reliability was improved.


I’m not quite sure why, with over a minute to Ricciardo, Ferrari didn’t gamble and pit for softs to make a run at Lewis. Perhaps they were banking on Hamilton hitting the wall with their known tire degradation and running long on softs but it seems that Mercedes have possibly solved their tire degradation issues…in Spain at least.

A WTH for Stoffel Vandoorne who clouted Felipe Massa at turn one. Not sure how he didn’t see Massa there and it ended the McLaren’s race.

A WTH moment for Haas F1 race engineer who was very animated on the radio to Kevin Magnussen and then told Kevin to calm down…problem was, Kevin was totally calm. Very funny moment.

Spanish GP Results:

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1h35m56.497s
2Sebastian VettelFerrari3.490s
3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault1m13.978s
4Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes1 Lap
5Esteban OconForce India/Mercedes1 Lap
6Nico HulkenbergRenault1 Lap
7Pascal WehrleinSauber/Ferrari1 Lap
8Carlos SainzToro Rosso/Renault1 Lap
9Daniil KvyatToro Rosso/Renault1 Lap
10Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari1 Lap
11Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari2 Laps
12Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/Honda2 Laps
13Felipe MassaWilliams/Mercedes2 Laps
14Kevin MagnussenHaas/Ferrari2 Laps
15Jolyon PalmerRenault2 Laps
16Lance StrollWilliams/Mercedes2 Laps
Valtteri BottasMercedesPower Unit
Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren/HondaCollision
Max VerstappenRed Bull/RenaultCollision
Kimi RaikkonenFerrariCollision

Drivers’ Championship:

1Sebastian Vettel104
2Lewis Hamilton98
3Valtteri Bottas63
4Kimi Raikkonen49
5Daniel Ricciardo37
6Max Verstappen35
7Sergio Perez34
8Esteban Ocon19
9Felipe Massa18
10Carlos Sainz15
11Nico Hulkenberg14
12Pascal Wehrlein6
13Romain Grosjean5
14Kevin Magnussen4
15Daniil Kvyat4
16Marcus Ericsson0
17Lance Stroll0
18Fernando Alonso0
19Antonio Giovinazzi0
20Jolyon Palmer0
21Stoffel Vandoorne0

Constructors’ Championship:

3Red Bull/Renault72
4Force India/Mercedes53
5Toro Rosso/Renault19
Overall Race
race-report-hamilton-wins-a-tactical-spanish-gpIt was a fun race to watch in a grand prix that can be processional. It turned into a tactical race that kept me on my toes and really had me on my seat-edge trying to figure out how Mercedes would cover Ferrari. A lot of fun and some great drives from all.
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Junipero Mariano

Big fail for NBCSN this week. Three major events during the race missed due to commercial, with the third being Hamilton’s pass on Vettel. All they would do is cut the break short, apologize for missing it, and wait for the world feed to review it. You’d think after the first time or at least the second time, they’d take a breather and edit in the occurence in time for the scheduled break to be over.


Why are you still watching NBCSN? I gave up watching F1 through any US TV carrier years ago. Watch SkyF1 through the internet. Even if is not an HD stream, watching SkyF1 in 480p is better than the crap from NBC in 4K

The Captain

For me it’s because 1. I go out and stay up late on sat nights and will never wake up early to watch a race so I record NBC on my DVR and watch it when I do get up (or latter in the day if the girl wants to do something). And 2. I didn’t buy one of the last giant HD plasma TV’s to watch my favorite sport on a laptop at a crappy 480 stream. So I suffer the NBC broadcast because either way I’ll end up mad at the product I just saw so I might… Read more »

Guy Fawkes

I’ve developed a trick: There’s an Android app called “Tunity”. It allows
you to listen to certain TV stations over the app. You simply snap a pic
of the screen with the app and it finds the station. I tune into the
NBC coverage, snap the pic, then tune into Univision, which shows flag
to flag coverage without commercials. I get the audio from the incessant
NBC commercials but the commentary in English. Univision’s coverage is
leaps and bounds better than NBCSN. Too bad they don’t have an English
second language channel.


The 480p was a joke, but I do watch in almost hd quality, if I don’t get up early, there are places in the web that you can watch the Sky broadcast in HD

Richard Bunce

Connect a PC to your giant HD plasma… you can watch Sky F1 HD for a small fee if you search the internet. You can watch foreign language video and BBC audio using your browser

Junipero Mariano

Actually I attend a meetup -Shout out to East Bay F1!- that hosts viewings of the races. If it was me individually, alternative methods like straming through a VPN would work.

But in a group, it proves too unreliable, you kind of just want to get on with your day and watch the race, rather than wait for other guys to fiddle with the settings to get it just right.

charlie white

I totally feel your pain. I only hope Liberty Media examines the way its newly purchased sport is presented to its small American audience and hopefully press down new broadcast requirements on the next broadcast contract. I stopped openly complaining about NBCSN last year because it simply made no difference to their COMCAST overlords. Maybe cutting the cable and dropping their service just might get their attention.

Zachary Noepe

I’ll leave Leigh Diffey out of this and just ask Why why why cant they run it on a five minute delay and choose where to put the commercials?

Daniel Johnson

What I really want is for them to negotiate a deal to use NBC Gold like they have for cycling and a few other sports. For the Tour de France they have commercial free coverage and you don’t need to actually have cable. If they could do something like that where the hardcore fans could get the FOM feed and even their off mic commercial breaks I think that would be worth every cent they’d charge.

Zachary Noepe

1) a quality win for Williams yes the car was slow but think how many times Massa’s car got walloped and finished the race! 2) i dont think Ricciardo’s podium was red bulls first this season 3) i think turn one came down to Bottas backing out of his advantageous position inside Lewis – and into a three -wide behind him. It was distasteful because you could see his orders – you get to turn one with Lewis, you back off. Between that and holding Vettel back, it was like Lewis had 2 cars in the race. Yuck. Which brings… Read more »

Tom Firth

On a note away from the race:

The two seater rides, they gave to VIP’s at the track this weekend, all fits nicely into F1 history. The cars are the two seater Minardi’s Paul Stoddart created in 2001 and runs as a commercial venture now, they were liveried now to F1 experiences, but apparently it has been a feature at the Australian GP for VIP’s for a few years and they’ve run in various liveries.

He was running them this weekend. The drivers – Zsolt Baumgartner and Patrick Friesacher.


I recall seeing (and hearing) the two seater at Melbourne in 2013. It would be out blazing around the track from early morning each day, calling all the faithful to the circuit. Much cooler than an alarm clock, and fast laps in an Aussie V8

Bruno Tattaglia

Couple of ideas: 1) Ferrari big mistake. The race was looking good with VET ahead HAM. The choice of SSM instead of SMS was really expensive at the end. Maranello usually gets it right. Not this time. The 2 place is on the wall, not on VET (brilliant overtake on BOT) 2) Superb weekend for Sauber. Yes…3 top finishers cars were out….still…..8 and 11…..WOW. Ahead 2017 Ferrari Haas…..ahead Toro Rosso….I wonder what can Sauber can do with a 2017 engine. Next …Monaco. More points? Great drive by WEH. 3) ALO does not understand why doesnt Ferrari and Mercedes want him.… Read more »


Ferrari was in a tough spot with tire choice. If they put VET on mediums for his 2nd stint, he may have struggled even more to pass BOT and lost more time to HAM on that rotation.

Ferrari really needed RAI in the race to disrupt BOT and block HAM on that stint.

Max Johnson

Wow you gave this race a 3.5?

This is the first gran prix that had real racing since Brazil 2012. That was totally raw like Hammy said, reminds me of Schumacher vs Hakkinen. It’s not about constant over takings that make good race, but a ferocious close fight between the two top drivers from the two top teams. Haven’t had that in a very long time.

One negative about the race though is it reveals how ridiculous farther ahead are Mercedes and Ferrari compared to the rest.

Salvu Borg

“how ridiculous farther ahead are Mercedes and FERRARI”.
Riccardo in 3rd was 75 seconds behind number 44, everyone from 4th back was lapped. and I personally think that’s not a good situation for F1.

Zachary Noepe

Well good thing its not about constant overtaking, since theres been none at all in a month.

Salvu Borg

“Young formulas 1 fan gets to meet his favorite driver after crying” just googol it like that, click on it and watch. We didn’t get to see the full extent of FERRARI because of tyre differential and the forced strategy. but you could tell by number 44 having overheating tyres that if he had a straight fight with number 5 he would have lost. To the attention of those interested (JAKO/MIE DONT MISS), amazing great graphic work of comparison, qualifying analysis (if not watched/seen already). GO TO “STRAMABLE COM/NVSMO”, What does it say about the engine power, traction and relative… Read more »

Zachary Noepe

agreed those graphics that lay each other’s lap over the other are so helpful, I’ve seen it on Olympic skiing as well. Love it.


It looks from that analysis that Ferrari had a lower drag (lower downforce) set up than Mercedes. This is the reverse of how the two teams set up in Sochi.
The other thing to bear in mind is that Hamilton was also faster through the first two sectors on his final lap in qualifying before losing the time in the final sector. These two cars do seem remarkably close given the regulation changes over the winter. Long may it continue.

Salvu Borg

MIE, “number 44 was also faster through the first two sectors” Best sector times:>. “FIA.com/file/56880/download?token=t8qnGw2n”.
Sector1:> Ria=21.616.
Vettel=21.626 (+0.010).
44=21.730 (+0.114).
77+21.752 (+0.163).
Sector 2:> Vet=29.44.
44=29.537 (+01.097).
Bot=29.543 (+0.103).
Ria=29.657 (+0.217).
Sector 3:> 44=27.647.
Bot=27.912 (+0.265).
Vrs=27.965 (+0.318).
Ria=28.055 (+0.408).
Vet=28.106 (+0.459).
Best combined lap:> 44=78.914.
Vet=79.172 (+0.248).
Bot=79.207 (+0.293).
Ria=79.323 (+0.409).

Salvu Borg

To me, the comparison says nothing more than:> Vettel did the better job in SI and S2, and number 44 seemed to enjoy more grip in S3 to recover what he lost. to me this all comes down to set-up bias, and the fact the softs couldn’t handle a full qualifying lap, so the driver/teams had to decide where to save the tyres. non of the top drivers could string their best 3 sectors together. the most anyone got was 2 sectors.

Salvu Borg

MIE, Re our discussion on the other page “Barcelona pole” FIA PU component use report. Do not take me wrong in my arguments with you, this report you put forward every race weekend is a must and is good information on a discussion forum, so your efforts should be appreciated by all on here. This “FIA race weekend report which contains among others the PU component use” something that I have been making use of since 2014 (against a fee/payment). Because I consider it exact and important information. What I was trying to say and of which I might not… Read more »


The FIA publish a report (free of charge) on the Thursday before each race of the elements used up until that point. An image of that report is in my article. They also publish a report each time during a race weekend that a new element is used. In Barcelona there were five such reports, dealing with the elements first used during: FP 1; FP 2; FP 3; Qualifying; The Race. The report for qualifying stated that Vettel fitted TC number four and MGU-H number three. That is how I have concluded that those parts were used in qualifying and… Read more »

Salvu Borg

The image of the report in your article which is now being published free of charge (PU ELEMENTS USE) FP1, FP2, FP3 QUALIFYING AND RACE is just one part of the FIA RACE WEEKEND REPORT.


I have never said that teams cannot mix and match power unit elements. I agree that Vettel used ICE number 1 in qualifying and the race (he fitted his second for FP1 as stated in the FIA report, and the team changed the complete ICE, TC, MGU-H and MGU-K sub-assembly between FP 3 and qualifying. As he didn’t use a new ICE, the only option was to re-fit the first one. Where you now seem to agree with me is that TC number four and MGU-H number three were fitted for qualifying, where a few days ago you were insisting… Read more »

Salvu Borg

MIE, “I am glad that you now agree with me”. MIE, no I do not, not at all.
In Barcelona “RACE” number 5 used the Sochi PU (A PU CONSISTING OF THE FOLLOWING COMPONENTS).
ICE (1) – TC (3) – MGUH (2) – MGUK (1) – ES (2) – CE (2).


So are you suggesting that Ferrari did not tell the FIA when they first fitted TC number four and MGU-H number three?
As they informed the FIA that ICE number two was used in FP3, it seems odd that they didn’t mention the new TC and MGU-H, unless of course they weren’t used until qualifying.

Salvu Borg

The FIA PU component usage report cannot be wrong, It is its interpretation which can be wrong.
As I said, my information of which I stand with is that FERRARI car number 5 qualified and raced in Barcelona on/using power unit number 1 configured as raced in Sochi.
The FERRARI Sochi configured power unit as raced in Sochi consisted of the following mix and match components.
ICE (1) – TC (3) – MGUH (2) – MGUK (1) – ES (2) – CE (2).


And the source of your information is what exactly?
The FIA published six reports over the weekend covering power unit use:
Doc4 on the Thursday before the race;
Doc11 @ 10:06 on Friday (FP1);
Doc14 @ 14:26 on Friday (FP2);
Doc25 @ 11:10 on Saturday (FP3);
Doc27 @ 14:03 on Saturday (qualifying);
Doc35 @ 11:00 on Sunday (race).
If the situation is as you state, that Ferrari used TC number four and MGU-H number three earlier than qualifying, then they are not complying with the regulations.

Salvu Borg

The source of my information is my logic, common sense and experience in F1 matters. it shows the following. keeping things as simple as possible so as to prevent us pushing this discussion into circles any more, it says/shows the following. FERRARI car 5 ahead of the weekend Spanish GP, and into FP1 and FP2, ICE (1) – TC (3) – MGUH (2) – MGUK (1). FERRARI car 5 ahead of FP3, ICE (2) – TC (4) – MGUH (3) – MGUK (2). FERRARI car 5 ahead of qualifying as well as ahead of the race, ICE (1) – TC… Read more »


How did Ferrari use TC number four and MGU-H number three on Vettel’s car in Free Practice 3 without telling the FIA? Sporting Regulation 23.3 g states: “After consultation with the relevant power unit supplier the FIA will attach seals to each of the relevant components within the power unit prior to them being used for the first time at an Event in order to ensure that no significant moving parts can be rebuilt or replaced. ” Sporting Regulation 23.3 e states in part: “…A power unit or any of the six elements will be deemed to have been used… Read more »

Salvu Borg

There is only one way to stop yourselves going in circles, just cut copy and paste your “for free” 6 FIA published reports over the Spanish weekend covering power unit use (documents 4/11/14/25/27 and 36) and everybody will see what and when “new” elements were used. that will solve your problem/confusion re ICE (2) TC (4) and MGUH (3). What those reports will not show are used elements that has been re-used. As regards 23.3g and 23.3e do not waste your time, I know what they say. And, what and whom you chose to believe and that includes your own… Read more »


I did that already, here:
At the time you even agreed with the FIA that Vettel was using TC number four in the race, but since then you seem to have confused yourself.

Salvu Borg

What you did was copy cut and past “ONE” out of the “SIX” power unit element used reports (report 11may of Friday before FPI), which shows FERRARI car 5 going into FP1 with the Sochi configured power unit, configured as ICE (1) – TC (3) – MGUH (2) – MGUK (1). I went over the whole page/discussion and I could not find/trace were I agreed “with the FIA and or you ” that Vettel (car 5) was using TC number four (4) in the race. And no, I don’t believe that since then I have confused myself, in fact I… Read more »


Salvu Borg MIE
4 days ago
Your comment “Vettel is using his 4th TC BUT his 1st ICE FOR RACE” is where I take it that at the time you agreed that Vettel was using TC number four for race.

If you read the comments on that page, that is where I have detailed which new elements were fitted for each of the sessions. This information comes from the FIA reports, a fact that anyone can verify.

Salvu Borg

What was meant over that comment was that Vettel was actually now for qualifying using ICE number 1 and not as was being reported (he was using his third (3rd) ICE, Also that he had also used TC number 4, I admit that I did NOT explained myself correctly as to when he had used TC NUMBER 4, (My English is being not my mothers language). MIE, having said all that I am still expecting you to publish on here the remaining five (5) FIA race engine elements used reports which you didn’t, go ahead and make things a little… Read more »