So, Formula 1 rolled into Barcelona at the weekend and once again it was a thrilling affair with plenty of highs and lows.
It was always going to be a race that Lewis Hamilton felt he would have a great chance of winning, with Sebastian Vettel looking to rival the Brit once again. Hamilton started on pole in what was an eventful race and dominated from start to finish, but the real action took place behind the Mercedes driver.
All four races of the campaign so far have been littered with controversy and collisions and it was no different at the Circuit de Catalunya. Max Verstappen has been involved in a lot of these situations in the opening four races and the Spanish Grand Prix proved to be a turning point for the Dutch driver. He managed to silence his critics with a drive which saw him make his first podium of the season as he secured third place ahead of Sebastian Vettel.
The race was another blow and a low point for both Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari. The German had been in second place, but Ferrari had deployed a two-stop strategy, and this backfired somewhat as he slipped back on the track to fourth. Teammate Kimi Raikkonen also faced disappointment as he ran into technical trouble late on in the race and therefore was forced to withdraw from the action.
The victory for Hamilton, his second in succession, has now seen him open up a 17-point lead over Vettel in the drivers’ standings and he will be looking to widen the gap even further with Monaco the next stop for Formula 1. Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton’s teammate, is now only 20 points behind the German in third and did his ambitions no harm when he secured second place in Barcelona at the weekend. So, while it was a great weekend for Mercedes, it was again yet more disappointment for Ferrari.
The start of the race was probably a sign of things to come as Sebastian Grosjean made a disastrous start. He seemed to lose control of his car before he then appeared to keep his foot on the throttle rather inexplicably. This led his car to spin back across the track and this caused both Nico Hulkenberg and Pierre Gasly to exit the race early. As a result, Grosjean ended up in the medical centre and was also handed a three-place grid penalty ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.
Next time out, we could see Red Bull become more of a force to be reckoned with, as they look to close the gap on both Mercedes and Ferrari. This will certainly make for an interesting affair as they will now be hoping that Verstappen can use his podium finish as inspiration for the rest of the campaign. This could really see things heat up in the drivers’ standings and Vettel will also be hoping for better luck in France too.