Team Talk and Driver Interviews following the 2020 Spanish Grand Prix which saw Lewis Hamilton take the win – along with overtaking Michael Schumacher’s podium record to become the driver with the most podiums in F1 history!
Throughout the 2020 Spanish Grand Prix, we had close battles but we can clearly see the gap between the pack and the front three drivers – which at the moment consists of Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas.
For Mercedes, the closest competitor isn’t Red Bull Racing – it’s Max Verstappen, as a driver, who’s bringing the team to the front of the pack. His team-mate Alexander Albon is, at the moment, the number 2 driver and not yet showing the full potential of himself, or his car.
Ferrari, oh Ferrari!
It’s terrible to see such a team go from what they were and ‘could be’ to what they currently are and it’s even worse to see how the team are treating (and handling) the situation with Sebastian Vettel.
From Vettel’s side, we’ve definitely seen a more mature approach – he’s speaking to the media whilst still defending the team and not giving too much away.
From Ferrari’s side however, he’s not getting the same support and it doesn’t look good for Ferrari as a team.
We’ll be sharing much more about Ferrari and Vettel in another post…
Lewis Hamilton, 1st
Lewis Hamilton: “This feels absolutely incredible. I was just in a daze out there, I didn’t even know it was the last lap in the end, that’s how in the zone I was.”
“I can’t remember the last time I felt like that. It was really special and a real surprise after our recent tyre problems. We brought all of our learnings from the previous weekend into this one and that enabled us to do well today.”
“A fantastic effort from everyone in the team, I’m so grateful for all their hard work and for continuing to push, so a huge thank you to everyone at the factories. I got the perfect start and then it was all about tyre management.”
“It was so hot out there and very demanding, but I was just focused on protecting the tyres and bringing the car home. What an incredible result.”
Valtteri Bottas, 3rd
Valtteri Bottas: “Of course, this is very disappointing, I’m not here to finish third. The start was really the key point for my race – it just wasn’t good enough, so I lost a few positions.”
“We’ll have to look into what happened, but ultimately the guys behind me got a good tow and were able to overtake me.”
“On a track like this, where overtaking in the race is so difficult and track position is everything, your race becomes very tricky if you lose places. So, I think with a different start the end result would have been very different.”
“In the first stint, I had to push hard to make up ground which worked fairly well. In stint two, I was pretty much right behind Max all the time, but it is so difficult to overtake here, and you need a really big time difference. We had a free pit stop at the end, so I could pit for fresh tyres and got the fastest lap.”
“Overall, it wasn’t the race I had hoped for, but sometimes that’s just the way it goes. We’ll analyse everything from the race and move onto the next one.”
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
“I’m very happy for the team. To have understood the difficulties from Silverstone, recover from them and come back with a great set-up and fantastic tyre management – that just shows the strengths of this team. A massive well done to all the people at the factories and here at the track for their hard work. Everyone pulled together and overcame what we have seen as our biggest weakness. Lewis was in a league of his own today; he controlled the race very well and did a brilliant job. He managed the tyres extremely well and ultimately his call to go to mediums for the last stint was the right one. Valtteri unfortunately suffered a tricky start and lost a few places which is a shame, because he had the pace to finish second. The soft tyre wasn’t the best compound to attack Verstappen in the end, so we need to understand why that was the case. But overall, first and third and the extra point for the fastest lap makes for a great recovery after Silverstone and an almost perfect result.”
Red Bull Racing
Max Verstappen, 3rd, 1:16.292
Max Verstappen: “It’s a great result for us to split the two Mercedes cars today after they have been so quick and I’m very happy with that.”
“Overall, it’s been another strong weekend with a good amount of points which we should be happy with. I made a good start and it was important to get past Valtteri early, which I did. I tried everything to stay with Lewis in the first stint but overall their car was faster and Lewis was a bit too quick today.”
“From then onwards we focused on our own race and the car felt good. I expected some trouble from Valtteri towards the end when he pitted but I was happy with my tyres and he wasn’t catching. Second is of course good but that’s not why we are here, we are here to win so you can never be fully satisfied unless you do that.”
“At the moment we’re in-between the two Mercedes cars and of course we’d like to push Lewis harder but you have to be realistic as they still have the faster car.”
Alex Albon, 6th, 1:17.029
Alexander Albon: “It was a hard afternoon and I’m not happy with my race. It was really tricky out there and I just didn’t have any grip on any tyre compound.”
“Each stint I was nursing and looking after the tyres but after six or seven laps I just had no grip. It was frustrating and the opposite to Silverstone last week.”
“No matter what we did we just really struggled to keep the tyres alive. It hasn’t been an issue this year so we’ll need to look at the data and see the reasons behind it because at the moment we just have question marks.”
“I was struggling in sector three mostly, I couldn’t stay close enough to cars ahead so I couldn’t overtake and I was kind of a sitting duck.”
“Now we need to understand why today was so different to last weekend in the race so we can come back stronger and improve for Spa.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal
“Once again Max extracted the absolute maximum from the car today and to split the Mercedes, which was the faster race car, it’s the best we could have hoped for. After making a good start, using the slipstream and getting ahead of Bottas into Turn 1, Max settled into the race and on a two-stop strategy he pushed as hard as he could to keep the pressure on Lewis and stay ahead of Valtteri. For Alex, he made a good start but got boxed in at the first corner behind Valtteri and he then seemed to struggle with degradation on all tyre compounds. P8 was the outcome of that and now we’ll need to go through all the information from the race to try and understand what created that degradation on the three compounds of tyre. The mechanics did a standout job once again today with more sub-two second pit stops and now I’m sure they are all ready for a well deserved weekend off before we head to Spa.”
Carlos Sainz, 6th
Carlos Sainz: “A very good day for me and the team. To finally get a good result after the issues of the previous four races feels great and I honestly think we deserve it.”
“We put in a very good fight with the Racing Points and defending from the Red Bull after the pit-stop was key. It’s a pity that I got lapped by Max [Verstappen] at the end of the race and lost a couple of seconds, because Checo [Perez] had the time penalty and I think we could’ve finished in front of him.”
“But anyway, the mechanics did a good job today, with all four pit stops under three seconds, and we managed to get both cars in the points.”
“This has been a confidence-building weekend for the team and hopefully a turning point in my season.”
Lando Norris, 10th
Lando Norris: “A tough race. We had really good pace in the car but, as usual in Spain, it was very difficult to overtake.”
“You can only really overtake in one corner, and if the car in front gets a good enough exit out of the final corner and there is a train of cars, then it’s pretty much impossible even if you are quicker.”
“It’s a shame – because the car felt good. It came alive a lot towards the end. It would’ve been nice to use a little bit more but tenth was, I think, the best we could’ve done today, so I’m happy to be in the points.”
Sebastian Vettel, 7th
Sebastian Vettel: “Today we tried something different and it paid off. I was struggling in the first stint, even on medium tyres, while in the second one I felt a lot better, despite having the soft tyre for many laps.”
“There was some rain forecast at some stage so we extended our stint on softs. In the end we were in a position in which we had nothing to lose, so we took the risk and decided to try and make it to the end.”
“Luckily it worked and this result reflects the maximum we could do today with the car.”
“There is still lots of work to do, but at the moment this is our true pace, that’s why sometimes we have to take some risks in order to have more or different options to finish ahead of our competitors.”
Charles Leclerc, DNF
Charles Leclerc: “It’s a shame that we couldn’t finish the race today. I think we had a good chance to finish around P6 or even higher.”
“We were very competitive on the softs and were also quick on the mediums, which we couldn’t fully show because of traffic. The plan was for me to do a one-stop and it was going quite well.”
“Unfortunately, we had an issue around midrace. Suddenly my screen and engine switched off and the rear wheels locked. We are not yet sure what happened and are investigating the cause.”
“The car eventually started up again, but it was already too late to continue because I had undone my seatbelts and had to return to the pits.”
“Although this year is a little bit tougher than last, we are all motivated to bring home the best results possible for the team and we will keep working hard to achieve this.”
Mattia Binotto, Team Principal
“A very disappointing weekend, not just because of the result, but also because of the way we managed it. In qualifying yesterday, we didn’t make the most of the potential at our disposal and we know how important grid position is on this track where overtaking is so difficult.
“Despite that, in the race we had a genuine chance of fighting for fourth place with Charles, but a reliability problem put him out of the running. A malfunction in an electronic control unit resulted in his car shutting down, causing him to spin, effectively ending his race.
“Sebastian moved up the order well, showing great tenacity and driving very cleanly: doing a 36 lap stint on used Soft tyres is quite something. The same observation goes for him as well as for Charles: starting further up the grid he could have aspired to do better than seventh.
“We have dropped out of third spot in the Constructors’ classification, even if by just a few points. We must always get all the potential out of our car if we want to achieve this goal and we must continue to work hard to close the gap to those who today were out of reach for us, namely the only three cars that completed all the laps of this Grand Prix.”
Daniel Ricciardo, 11th
Daniel Ricciardo: “It was tough today and certainly not where we want to be. At every race up until now, we’ve had at least one car in the points, so this is the first one without it.”
“It was a pretty difficult race and making the one-stop work was difficult. Obviously, it’s a bit disappointing as we came here expecting much more, especially after two decent races last time out.”
“We didn’t expect to have a difficult weekend, but it was very tight out there.”
“We were close to the top ten in qualifying and in the race, so we’ll try and find out where we lost those couple of tenths and move on to the next race.”
Esteban Ocon, 13th
Esteban Ocon: “There wasn’t much more we could have done today. As a team, we struggled for pace this weekend. The car didn’t behave how we wanted, and we lacked grip and balance.”
“From the beginning of the weekend, we felt the car didn’t behave like at Silverstone, so we have more work to do in some of those areas.”
“We have a week off to analyse it and come back stronger. I had a couple of fun battles on track today and made a few overtakes, so that’s one positive we can draw upon.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal
“We concluded our first weekend of the year without scoring any points. This is not for a lack of effort or execution from the race team and I believe we extracted all we could from the car this weekend.”
“Put simply, the car is not good enough at a track like this one. Barcelona is a good test when it comes to the aerodynamic efficiency of the car, so it says something about the areas we have to improve.”
“We’ve made some steps in the winter, but not enough to be on the leading side of the midfield here. It’s all very tight; two tenths yesterday in qualifying made a big difference and, again, it was tight today in the race.”
“That’s not an excuse, though. We should be at a point where we could be doing better than that. We have a clear area of focus and we will be pushing to accelerate the next upgrades on the car.”
Kimi Raikkonen, 14th
Kimi Raikkonen: “The car had a really good pace in the final stint, on the soft tyres, and I wish we had another set to use as they worked really well. Unfortunately we didn’t, so the end result is a bit disappointing as I felt we could have had a bit more.”
“All in all, I think we were a bit better this weekend: we have to keep trying new things to maximise our car’s performance and find more speed.”
“We need to keep improving in this direction.”
Antonio Giovinazzi, 16th
“We have some positives to look at today. In the end it was a difficult race but, starting from the back, I think we achieved all we could from this Sunday.”
“We finished ahead of our direct rivals in the championship and we showed good pace, especially in the final stint on softs.”
“Of course, we still need to do a lot of work but we can get some encouragement from today.”