Spanish GP in Barcelona produced another race winner for the 10th time in a row in last 10 years once again. But this time, it is real surprise: The youngest race winner of the history broke the record with 2,5 years and in a race where he broke the record of youngest driver who led a lap in a race! In short, nobody expected him to break both records such quickly! In fact, it was Mercedes itself who produced this surprise. Hamilton started to race very aggressive as he has seen that title is fading away by giving first 4 race wins to fellow team mate. Especially, when he lost his place after start, he panicked and pushed hard, which caused him mistakes and then double DNF’s for himself and teammate. Thus, this presented us a very surprise race result. I wanted to comment about the race and answer your questions here in this article.
Question: Who was to be blamed for the incident? What should we expect from now on between Hamilton and Rosberg? Season will be more exciting? (Ataberk Ergun)
I think it was definitely Hamilton whom we should blame. But this was not something that could require a penalty, it was more like a race accident. Regulations give right for single line change but not more, Rosberg used it by selecting right side. Lewis should have used left hand side for any attack but he hurried up, didnt expect Rosberg to close the line, therefore found himself on grass and bingo!
What kind of relationship will they have? Let me give examples from F1 for relationship degrees and classify their recent relationship.
Very warm: Raikkonen-Vettel
Ice cold: Alonso-Hamilton
Before the race, their relationship was Cold, now it will be more of an Ice Cold. Recently, not fully Ice Cold, because team has zero tolerance for his! I see totally formal relationships, bloody competition on the circuit and unlimited ambition on Lewis side! For sure the season will be more excited, we we know that Lewis will win races, this will give chance following teams to keep points gap lower. However, I dont see these two guys racing in the same team next year.
Question: Hamilton’s title chance now very low. Especially, after this race team will reject him take risks. How is his chance? (Erşan Selçuk Karagöz)
If we are talking about Lewis Hamilton, nothing is impossible. I disagree that his title chance is very low now. There are 16 races ahead and Mercedes is not bulletproof this year. Troubles have not met with Rosberg so far, but they will. Therefore, standings can change a lot in upcoming months. Lewis has only one big rival: his own ambition and fury. If he will keep his temper, i see his chance 49%. That 1% goes to Rosberg’s 43 points advantage and recent momentum, but not more!
Question: Did Red Bull use Ricciardo as Guinea pig in order to give Verstappen a race win? (Aykut Turgut)
If you ask me who worked most in Spanish GP, my answer could be strategy experts of the teams! In this race, Ferrari and Red Bull strategy teams got tired a lot, because after double Mercedes DNF, smallest mistake could lead to loss of a potential win. Therefore, not surprisingly both teams differentiated strategies. Red Bull built the main strategy on Ricciardo, while Ferrari did the same on Vettel. When the pits started, there was Ricciardo-Verstappen-Vettel-Raikkonen order, therefore Red Bull and Ferrari built their so-called “winning strategies” on front running drivers. These two guys raced with 3 pit stops strategy and thus used softer compound on extra stint. In other words, actually Red Bull didnt use Ricciardo as Guinea Pig, in contrast he was teams potential race winner candidate. As the strategies got differentiated, Ferrari and Red Bull put 2 pit stops strategy for Raikkonen and Verstappen respectively. What spoilt the plans was Barcelona’s solid track surface and Verstappen’s talent. No one expected win from Verstappen (including Max himself) except one person: Jos Verstappen. We used to race here with hard and medium tyres, Mercedes used softs just for Show of during winter tests. They even didnt test supersoft. We understood why: medium-soft performance difference was very small, as it even didnt produce an extra pit stop time advantage. It is why 2 stops handed race win without any troubles. Had Raikkonen overtaken Verstappen, winning strategy again could be 2 stops strategy.
Question: Can Raikkonen take the title? (Levent Oğuzhan)
I take this question first for Ferrari, can Ferrari take the title? I get this question very frequently on Twitter. Unfortunately, Ferrari has smaller chance for title this year than last year. They took many risks, made radical changes. Every of us agrees that car has big potential, but they are yet to unleash this potential by reaching optimum engine, chassis, aerodynamic set up. In the engine side, Mercedes excelled more, whereas in the aero side even Red Bull looking to have surpassed Ferrari. IT will be a miracle if Ferrari turns this situation and clinches the title. Raikkonen has a brilliant momentum this year, with a better car he can win races but it will be a surprise for me if he will be champion with Vettel racing on the other Ferrari.
Question: Any news about Raikkonen’s 2017 deal? What could be the result? (Enes Demircioglu)
Raikkonen’s 2016 performance increased his chance of retention for 2017. Iceman can lose his seat to only a younger and high potential driver, who are Bottas and Rosberg only. If these two guys retain their seats, then Kimi will continue. I dont think Ferrari will risk team balance by taking Hamilton onboard. Because, Hamilton-Rosberg relationship will not be worse than Vettel-Hamilton one. The strongest probability is Kimi’s retention in Ferrari (for the moment)
Some words for Verstappen…
I want to say some words for Verstappen in order to contribute to history making while evaulating Spanish GP. Formula 1 opened its scenes to many talented and fantastic drivers to show themself. Lots of these crowned their shows with titles while few of them came to sport at the wrong time (Gilles Villeneuve as an example) and passed away. The best side of this sport is, we have never experienced lack of talent. Every time, there have been super talents rounding around the circuit and new talents were added alongside them. The newest star of these kind of talents (even the youngest ever) presented himself to whole World in Barcelona last weekend. You can have an idea about the future of a driver in his debut year. Look at debuts of Senna, Schumacher, Stewart, Jim Clark, Alonso, Raikkonen, Hamilton and Vettel, you will definitely have clues about their future. Now, Verstappen is a member of this premium club. Sometimes, you can watch these drivers passed by team mates. But your instincts suggest you that this guy is better. For example, Alonso was once explaining Tonio Liuzzi, by saying that every one was tipping Tonio as future champion. Yes, Liuzzi was defeating them but Alonso wrote the history, while Liuzzi couldnt have even a podium. Yes, Verstappen was being passed by Sainz sometimes, but our instincts suggest that the Dutch is the star. Moreover, I hope that Sainz will not make an Alguersuari or Kvyat in his career.
Verstappen is newest star of Formula 1 world, if there are fresh fans of F1 among the readers of this article, my friends, you are very lucky, because you will tell your grandsons that you remember shining of this star very well from the very first days.