Spanish Grand Prix – Driver Interviews
Location: Barcelona – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
Race Weekend: Formula 1 Emirates Gran Premio De Espana Grand Prix 2019
The European part of the Formula 1 season has started with the Spanish Grand Prix and whilst many people are saying it wasn’t that entertaining – I have to disagree. I enjoyed the race and thought we had plenty of battles throughout, including a few silly mistakes here and there.
With Valtteri Bottas starting the race on pole, he was quickly overtaking by his team-mate Lewis Hamilton who had a great start – leaving everyone behind and creating a comfortable gap.
Valtteri Bottas at one point had a Ferrari on his left and a Mercedes on his right – closing him in slightly but offering a great start to the race. This made the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel go wide, outbrake himself and cause a lockup which affected his first stint.
Charles Leclerc in the meantime caught up to his team-mate and was stuck behind him for one too many laps before Ferrari stepped in – essentially ruining their drivers races. This is where I’d like to make a note about Ferrari and their strategies – they don’t act quickly enough, they don’t think about maximising their points…. they think about the championship only and this is affecting everything.
Today for example, Ferrari should have been quick on the mark, asking Vettel to let Lecerc go by quickly (seeing as he was faster) to try and catch up to the others and to potentially put the pressure on the front three drivers. They didn’t though, they let their drivers battle each other for a few laps and then made the call.
The same happened at the latter part of the race where Leclerc was ahead and Vettel was faster, again, instead of asking Leclerc to let his team-mate by quickly to see if they could bring back a podium – they let their drivers battle each other and in the end – they weren’t even on the podium.
For a team like Ferrari, there’s something seriously wrong with their strategies. They shouldn’t be throwing away opportunities, especially now when they need to be right on things in terms of the championship.
When you look at Mercedes – they seem to have an overall balance, a connection within the team and they take advantage of opportunities which come their way and whilst sometimes things don’t work out – normally, the risk works and they end up in a better position than originally thought.
Moving onto Red Bull Racing – prior to the race, Max Verstappen predicted a podium and that’s what he got. Right from the start, he seemed happy, comfortable and a lot more mature with his driving – holding back at the start and watching the front three drivers battle it out (Bottas, Hamilton and Vettel) and then taking his opportunities as they came.
McLaren again had a relatively good race despite an incident between Norris and Stroll – in my opinion, Stroll should have given Norris more room and it’s things like this which make me think that Stroll isn’t as good as he thinks.
For now though, lets take a look at what drivers had to say following the 2019 Spanish Grand Prix.
MERCEDES – 2019 SPANISH GRAND PRIX: DRIVER INTERVIEWS
Lewis Hamilton: “It’s been an incredible day for the team. We’ve brought an upgrade here and everyone worked so hard to make that possible. I’m very proud of everyone back at the factory and thankful for all their hard work. The guys here at the track are all performing at an extremely high level as well, thank you all.”
“When the lights went out, my initial getaway was quite good and we were very close all the way down into Turn 1. I think the Ferrari was alongside us at one point too, so it was a great battle and also a decisive moment in the race. After that I just had to keep my head down and focus on trying to deliver each lap.”
“I want to dedicate this win to Harry, a young kid who sent me a message today. He was my inspiration out there. He could’ve chosen any other driver, so for him in the most difficult of days to send a message like that is really humbling and much appreciated. I’m sending you love, Harry.”
Valtteri Bottas: “I had an issue with my clutch at the start, it was vibrating and it seemed like it was biting and releasing at a very quick frequency, so my initial getaway was really poor. Unfortunately that meant that all the hard work of the weekend was lost at the start, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. We’re a strong team and will investigate the cause of the issue to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future.”
“For me personally, it wasn’t the best of days, but from a team’s perspective it was a really good weekend. Congratulations to Lewis for the win, he had a strong race pace today. “
“The team is performing at an incredible level at the moment; hats off to every single member of the team, both at Brackley and Brixworth but also here at the race track. I’m looking forward to the race in Monaco; it’s such a unique track and a completely different challenge, so it’s difficult to say who will be the strongest team around there.”
FERRARI – 2019 SPANISH GRAND PRIX: DRIVER INTERVIEWS
Sebastian Vettel: “Today we more or less maximised our result. It was obviously a disappointing race for us as we were hoping to be a lot faster. After the start, I had a go at the cars in front, but flat-spotted a tyre and compromised my own race.”
“You don’t win the race at the first corner, I know, but I thought at least we can mix things up with Mercedes and have a bit more of a fight with everybody.”
“Charles and I tried not to interfere with each other and work together as much as we could. It’s still very early in the season and we are taking it race by race, but I think we can only come back from where we are now as the whole team is working flat out.”
Charles Leclerc: “It was a challenging race. The first stint was quite positive on my side, but then it became more difficult. We wanted to go to the end of the race on the hard compound, but when the Safety Car came out, we realised we would struggle at the restart and so I pitted for a set of mediums.”
“I struggled with the balance on the second and third stints, and lost a bit of confidence with the car.”
“We have a lot of work ahead of us and will push as hard as possible to close the gap to the front. We gathered a lot of data this weekend and will continue to do so at the test next week.”
RED BULL RACING – 2019 SPANISH GRAND PRIX: DRIVER INTERVIEWS
Max Verstappen: “I’m trying to maximise everything I have and I’m happy with today’s result. We’re P3 again which is pretty representative of our pace at the moment, and it’s great to score more good points. I knew we had a good chance in the race to fight with Ferrari and that’s what we did.”
“At the start it was quite hectic with three cars going into one corner, so I decided to back out of it, but actually in the end I had a good line out of Turn 2 into Turn 3.”
“To take P3 in that corner was very crucial as from there on I could do my own pace and strategy, which worked out well.”
“The Mercedes cars were out of reach, but we were very consistent and we’re of course happy to be on the podium. Everybody is very motivated to close the gap and we will try a few things in the test next week that can give us a better direction in which way to work.”
Pierre Gasly: “The first stint was ok but towards the end I started to struggle with grip and degradation. We had a lot of rubber debris in the front wing which meant I was sliding around so the pace just dropped from the second stint onwards.”
“I tried to push as much as I could but I couldn’t keep up with the Ferraris in front of me. At the Safety Car restart, I tried a move on Charles but I couldn’t make it stick.”
“It was a pretty good fight and I think at the start we actually touched in Turn 3. In the end, it’s good to score some points.”
“We have the test coming up on Tuesday so we can try some more things and keep pushing. Looking forwards, I think we have good potential on some of the upcoming tracks which should suit our car better.”
MCLAREN – 2019 SPANISH GRAND PRIX: DRIVER INTERVIEWS
Carlos Sainz: “Good result on home soil! Congratulations to everyone in the team for getting a points finish today because it was not an easy race for us. It was one of those well-fought points finishes.”
“We struggled for half the race but executed a good strategy, great pit-stops and I managed to do some good overtaking at the right moment to take our chances and finish eighth.”
“However, we need to analyse why the pace wasn’t there today and why I was struggling so much in the last sector. But for the rest, it was one of those races that, thanks to the crowd and thanks to the help of the whole team, we managed to get into the points. Thank you to all the fans for the great support the whole weekend.”
Lando Norris: “A disappointing race. I had a really good start but struggled around Turn 3, went wide and lost a lot of positions. That put me in a bad position for the whole race. It was unfortunate but I had good pace afterwards.”
“Later I tried to get past Stroll. I was on the inside and I don’t know if he just didn’t see me as he turned in but there was contact and it put me out of the race.”
“I didn’t want to just sit there and do nothing. In the end, the team result wasn’t bad with Carlos getting points.”
RENAULT – 2019 SPANISH GRAND PRIX: DRIVER INTERVIEWS
Daniel Ricciardo: “It was a frustrating race from my side this afternoon. In the first part, we had the pace on Sainz and at the end of that first stint I was able to take him. We then pitted and put the hard tyres on and he got me back quite quickly.”
“It was difficult to close the gap back, we had good pace in the final sector but couldn’t get the run on him out of the final corner. We were certainly quicker than 12th today and, in the end, it wasn’t a perfect Sunday. “
“The midfield is so close and everything has to be executed to the maximum for a strong result. We’ll regroup and look forward to the next one.”
Nico Hulkenberg: “It was always going to be tricky today starting from the Pit Lane. It wasn’t a great race as we didn’t score any points, but it was nice to have a normal race and grow the confidence back up.”
“Especially after a tough weekend, that’s a positive. I couldn’t quite fight for points in the end, we had 10-lap old softs running against others who had pitted for fresh tyres after the Safety Car.”
“I felt good and comfortable out there, which is promising heading into Monaco. I’m back in the R.S.19 on Tuesday, so we’ll be aiming for a productive day’s running.”
I have lots more posts on the way – especially in the run up to the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix so keep checking back for all the latest!