2017 Spain Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: Liberty Media continues to improve the fans' experience one small step at a time. The racing continues to be entertaining even at places it's least expected. And the top two teams continue to be very even.
TRACK: It almost was the Spain of old. But, the 2017 regulations came to the rescue.
EVENT: Formula 1 debuts their first Fan Experience. And a hit it was.
QUALIFYING: Hamilton is back on top, Vettel is back splitting Mercedes, Alonso thrills the home crowd, Haas is disappointed, Palmer flounders, and Kvyat is terribly slow.
START: The Finns (once again) come together causing the DNFs of Raikkonen and Verstappen, two former teammates come together causing Alonso and Massa to lose many positions, all the while Vettel jumps Hamilton and runs away.
RACE: Admit it. You watched the excitement of the first lap, saw Vettel start pulling away, and figuring this was Spain, propped the pillow up and leaned back on the couch to catch some Z's. We did. Of course, while catching those Z's, we had no idea the race was far from over.
HAMILTON: A patient (even if his radio communications didn't sound like it) race paid off in the end.
BOTTAS: The dutiful teammate did his job making it tough for Vettel which ultimately allowed Hamilton to win the race. But then the engine let Valtteri down.
MERCEDES: In strategy we trust.
VETTEL: Didn't really do anything wrong. But didn't win the race either.
RAIKKONEN: Well, that didn't last long...
FERRARI: Can't blame them for any kind of strategy gaffe. More like they were unlucky with the timing of the virtual safety car.
RICCIARDO: Sort of backed into a podium, but Daniel will take it.
VERSTAPPEN: One year ago, he was on top of the F1 world. This year, the only number one he got was one lap completed.
RED BULL: Didn't get all the updates they were hoping for. And it showed.
FORCE INDIA: Consistency. No team has shown that more than Force India this year with both their drivers scoring points in every race.
PEREZ: And no driver has shown consistency like Sergio -- 15 consecutive point finishes and 35 consecutive finishes.
OCON: The rookie has shown his own consistency as well, getting better and better each race.
HULKENBERG: A strong points getting effort for Nico and Renault.
PALMER: Just not showing anything in a car capable of scoring points.
WEHRLEIN: An excellent drive by Pascal. No need to doubt him anymore.
KVYAT: Daniil drove a fantastic race, especially after such a horrid qualifying.
SAINZ: A good, strong drive by Carlos.
HAAS: The American team definitely seems to be hitting a crossroads in performance, reliability, and results. Which way will that road go?
ALONSO: Despite the amazing qualifying effort, despite finally finishing a race, not lasting three corners on the first lap of the weekend is what Fernando is going to remember the most as he heads off to Indy.
MCLAREN: Quick, who's the only team not to score any points? We're sorry. That was way too easy!
STROLL: Finished his second race in a row. But, Lance sure was slow.
NUMBERS: Many years ago, Bernie gleefully bragged about how you could not see the numbers on the cars. He never cared about the fans at the track. Never. Liberty Media is making so many strides forward in enhancing the experience of fans, even if it's just a simple thing like highly visible car numbers.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Rawest.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 8 -- The number of seconds Vettel couldn't figure out how he lost after the second round of pit stops.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: At the top (or is that bottom) of most lists for the worst F1 teams in history is Andrea Moda Formula. They were so bad in 1992 (using a 1991 car), they became the only team to ever be banned by the FIA for bringing the sport into disrepute. In 13 races, Andrea Moda qualified for just one race (Roberto Moreno at Monaco who lasted only 11 laps). They sent drivers out on wet weather tires ... in the dry. They released their driver out of the pits 45 seconds before qualifying ended. The owner was arrested at Spa for allegedly forging invoices. Things aren't really all that bad for McLaren-Honda ... relatively speaking.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Mark Webber summarized the whole McLaren-Honda debacle the harshest when commenting on Jenson Button returning to the cockpit at Monaco, "It's a non-story. He'll drive, have problems with the fuel system, qualify 16th, retire after 12 laps or whatever. What's the point?"
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Then Fernando Alonso gave his zinger after lasting barely three corners on the weekend's first out lap, "It's not my reputation, it's theirs [Honda's] -- and it's their money, and their image. I try to drive as fast as I can but it's a much bigger problem for them."
SCHEDULE: Don't make the same mistake twice and catch some Z's after the first lap, even if it is Monaco. You never know this year...
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