Rate the Race and Driver of the weekend – Round 5, Spain, 2017
Mean Reader Score: 7.65
OK this race didn’t score as highly as last year (8.65) when we had the jaw dropping spectacle of the two Mercedes drivers taking each other out, leaving the path clear for the newly promoted Max Verstappen to romp to his first ever F1 victory in his first ever race for Red Bull, BUT we did get a pretty good start with Vettel stealing the lead from Hamilton before the first corner. Bottas clipped Raikkonen who then barrelled into last year’s winner ending not only his own race, but Verstappen’s (extremely slim) hopes of repeating his performance from last year (can’t help but smile here, as three into one still doesn’t go, even if the boot is on the other foot.) Alonso took a trip across the gravel and the Supermagnet which was Massa picked up a puncture for his efforts joining Kvyat in the pits for new tyres.
Wehrlein stretched his first stint to 33 laps, resulting in Sauber’s first points haul this season (even with his five second penalty) and pummelling McLaren firmly into last place in the constructor standings. Alonso’s ‘fabulous’ P7 qualifying came to naught as he finished out of the points (but he did at least finish this race.) Bottas proved he really is a team player, Vettel proved he really can overtake, Kimi proved he really can smile (when he was kind to a disappointed young fan,) Perez and Ocon both brought home points for Force India and after some pretty good wheel to wheel action with Vettel, Hamilton romped home not only to win the race but also our Driver of the Weekend accolade.
Driver of the Weekend: Lewis Hamilton: 25.70% of reader vote.
Pity we don’t have an award for ‘Team of the Weekend’ as Mercedes played a blinder in Spain on Sunday. ‘We win together, we loose together’ was certainly true as the Mercedes team pulled together on all levels to guarantee a win for Hamilton and secure their place at the top of the constructor standings. Hamilton topped the leader boards in FP1 and FP2 and took pole position come race day. He didn’t get the best start, but managed to hold onto P2 until Mercedes duped Ferrari into an early pitstop when he took the lead. After Hamilton’s fist pit stop, Bottas stayed out far longer than was good for his race but he kept Vettel at bay for long enough for Hamilton to catch up, before his race-weary engine expired and Bottas retired scoring a very eurovision ‘null points.’ Unlike Ferrari, Mercedes got the timing of Hamilton’s second pit stop (at the end of the virtual safety car period) spot on, which lead to some dramatic action at the exit to the pit lane as Vettel emerged from his woeful pitstop marginally ahead of Hamilton. A very easy overtake on Lap 44 saw Hamilton take the lead and stay there to the end of the race, which he won, making it his 55th so far.