Thursday, January 20

Formula 1 | Spanish GP: Hamilton has no competition in Barcelona


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As if he were going out to the garden of his house, Lewis Hamilton exhibits himself imperial in Barcelona. It is his talisman track, five consecutive wins with this Sunday. “I feel great here, I want to say hello to the fans first, it’s a joy to have you here,” says the Brit, raising his hand to the stands at Montmeló, the first race with fans. Few times a pilot (Michael Schumacher in Magny Cours) is able to show such hegemony. Tactical race, boring, tires and stops, in which the Spanish were not happy. Carlos Sainz finished seventh, one worse than his starting position, and Fernando Alonso collapsed in the final stretch, without wheels and with poor fighting strategy. Seventeenth.

The Montmeló circuit has been on the calendar for thirty years, the organization is exemplary, the pilots are seduced by Barcelona and the Mediterranean sun, they feel comfortable and grateful in Spain, but it must be agreed that the design of the track It is one of the biggest hits in the World Cup.

Year after year, the same sequence of comments is inevitable. Impossible to overtake, only with the strategy, the mission at the stops, there is no way here … Comments from the pilots regarding the options of this track, which for whatever reason does not allow the fun of animated races.

The race consisted of two points, the start and the tactic. An invitation to glanders if something special didn’t happen at the start. Italian party, ‘catenaccio’ pure and simple, and a certain drowsiness waiting for the mechanics to hit the guns, the elevators, the pulse of the tires. And, above all, that the brains of the strategy hit with the wear of the wheels and the entry into the garages.

Verstappen provided the expected incentive of his energy and youth in an impetuous staging, which could take Hamilton ahead. He remained calm, the British veteran after all, so as not to cut off his afternoon in a fit of rage.

The safety car for the Tsunoda incident did not alter much the leaden afternoon, which looked to be resolved in the pit lane, according to the designs of engineers and telemetries, and not on the track, as is liked by the fans.

Carlos Sainz did not have a good first lap and his desire to dream of the podium, or at least climb behind Red Bull and Mercedes, was frustrated. Ferrari soon realized that a single stop was a suicide due to the wear of the yellow tires and that way the Spaniard stayed in that central wagon, in which neither chicha nor limoná.

Fernando Alonso had to deal with fresh tires of Stroll, whom he controlled from the beginning to spot a tenth or ninth position at the end of the afternoon that would report points and confidence. The Asturian was in those positions until lap by lap decreed that it was impossible to maintain positions until the end with the yellow wheels. At the last minute, when he was tenth, the Spaniard lost everything he had achieved due to the late reaction on the Alpine wall. Ocon also foot: he came out fifth, he finished ninth for the same reason.

The victory in Barcelona was elucidated in the same terms. Mercedes realized that you had to stop more times to go faster, and at the second stop, on fresh tires, Hamilton ate Verstappen with ease. The Dutchman, however, disagreed with this view. “Any strategy would have mattered. The problem is that we were very slow ». Due to failure, it failed up to the speed of the mechanics changing wheels (four seconds).

Good performance from Leclerc, solvent at Ferrari, especially on Saturday, key to finishing fourth today. And the same for Ricciardo, who finally wins over his teammate Norris with the McLaren.

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