2018 Spain Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: It has become tradition that Lewis Hamilton turns it on during the European swing. And Mercedes domination in Spain has a familiar tone to it. But, it's a bit more complicated than that as this excellent ESPNF1 article explains.
TRACK: As expected, not much passing. Also, the fact this track is so known by the teams since they all test on it makes the situation worse. No one has a weak spot to exploit.
EVENT: The crowd did not appear to be at capacity, but Spain has always struggled. MotoGP is a much bigger deal in this country.
QUALIFYING: Hamilton gets the diva to work, Bottas ensures a Mercedes front row, Ferrari and Red Bull slot in behind, and the Hulk fails to make it out of Q1 for the first time since 2015 ... also at Spain.
RACE: We knew this was going to be a letdown after the last few races. So, let's just leave it at that.
START: Hamilton provides a tow to the wrong car, enabling Vettel to get past Bottas, while behind them Grosjean does everything idiotic, taking out two drivers along with himself.
HAMILTON: This is the way Lewis likes it. Not like Baku.
BOTTAS: Not even in the same zip code. But then, nobody was.
MERCEDES: They took full advantage of the different Pirelli tires for Barcelona.
VERSTAPPEN: Podium? Yes. Clean race? No.
RICCIARDO: Fastest lap? Yes. Clean race? No.
RED BULL Drivers behaved themselves? Yes. Competitive? No.
VETTEL: Frustrated. And suddenly, the points gap is now 17.
FERRARI: They took full disadvantage of the different Pirelli tires for Barcelona.
MAGNUSSEN: Kevin put the Haas right where most people expected at this track. Not like his teammate.
GROSJEAN: Good heavens! Can it get any worse for this dolt? First thing you learn in race driver's school -- keep the brakes locked when you are spinning off track. Instead, Romain doesn't just release the brakes, he nails the throttle, shooting himself across the track into the field and for good measure throws up a blinding tire smokescreen. Perhaps dotard is a better word for him...
HAAS: Jumps up to sixth in the points. Not bad when you consider just one driver is scoring points in what many believe to have the best of the rest car.
SAINZ: A fairly strong race.
HULKENBERG: Bad luck starting in qualifying.
ALONSO: Once again, performed better than the car because...
MCLAREN: ...the car still sucks even after all the updates and the "real" 2018 chassis making it's debut.
VANDOORNE: Sure, it's tough to have Alonso as your teammate -- just ask Massa and Raikkonen -- but Stoffel has got to perform better if he wants to stick around.
LECLERC: While Charles is performing a lot better now. If Ferrari thinks he is not ready for prime time next year, maybe they can get Haas to take him to replace a certain scoreless first lap, safety car wrecker.
HARTLEY: Sadly, Brendon's days in F1 may be numbered. Too many mistakes with the most impatient driver development team.
WILLIAMS: Technical heads are beginning to roll in this disaster of a season.
F1 TV: Fail!
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Smokescreen.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 0 -- The number of points Romain Grosjean has despite having the best car in his Haas career. Australia wasn't his fault, but the rest of the season is squarely on him.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: It is always amazing to think Pastor Maldonado actually won an F1 race. It happened exactly six years ago to the day of this year's Spanish GP. Maldonado inherited pole after a technical infraction on Hamilton's car. It was an eventful filled race which eventually saw Maldonado come out on top, becoming the only Venezuelan winner in F1 and the last time Williams won, all on Frank Williams 70th birthday. However, it was the post-race fire in the Williams garage that overshadowed it all. Thirty-one people were injured with seven taken to the hospital. Maldonado rescued his 12-year-old cousin who had a broken foot by carrying him on his back while others whisked Williams in his wheelchair away. (Some things never change -- Grosjean hit Perez at the third turn on the first lap.)
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Words other drivers fear when Lewis Hamilton says, "I think today has been a rejuvenating experience."
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Sometimes, direct and to the point is best. Sebastian Vettel after his uncompetitive race, "We didn't have winning pace today, that's why we didn't win. Why find excuses? The bottom line is we're not quick enough to win."
SCHEDULE: The last few years has seen some strange stuff at Monaco. We can always hope for that. Plus, there's always Verstappen on a tight street course to give us thrills. And we can't forget the suspense of a Grosjean start.
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