I don’t know how any Grand Prix was supposed to follow what Miami did a few weeks ago, but it was up to Spain to try. I guess you’d have to ask someone who was there about the atmosphere, but from the other side of the television screen, I can tell you that Spain definitely matched (maybe exceeded) Miami in terms of weather.
It was a hot one. Like, “eat your ice cream sandwich before it melts” hot.
1. Max Verstappen – Red Bull
2. Sergio Perez – Red Bull
3. George Russell – Mercedes
4. Carlos Sainz – Ferrari
5. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes
6. Valtteri Bottas – Alfa Romeo
7. Esteban Ocon – Alpine
8. Lando Norris – McLaren
9. Fernando Alonso – Alpine
10. Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri
11. Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin
12. Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren
13. Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri
14. Mick Schumacher – Haas
15. Lance Stroll – Aston Martin
16. Nicholas Latifi – Williams
17. Kevin Magnussen – Haas
18. Alex Albon – Williams
19. Zhou Guanyu – Alfa Romeo (DNF)
20. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari (DNF)
1. Handling The Heat
If there’s one thing I wouldn’t want to do, it’s sit in a Formula 1 car for almost two hours, when it’s 37 degrees Celsius. Between the fireproof clothing (which I hear is breathable, but still), helmet, and being stuffed into the car like a sardine – no thanks. Just count me out.
It’s not like the drivers can blast the air conditioning, either. They’re attached to a water bottle, but I’d imagine it’s like drinking fire.
To battle the heat, we saw Sergio Perez take an impromptu shower on the grid before the race. The classic “cold water bottle over the head” technique. We also saw Max Verstappen with, what I assume were, cooling packs on his chest and back. He wore it like an unwashed pinny that you would wear in gym class.
A few drivers held umbrellas during the national anthem, to hide from the sun. That being said, the umbrellas seem to come out quite a bit, even when the sun isn’t trying to melt a hole through everyone’s forehead.
The track temperature was 49 degrees Celsius.
It really is amazing no one passes out from dehydration.
The bottom line is this: F1 drivers are incredible athletes.
2. Bottas is Always There
When Valtteri Bottas transitioned from Mercedes to Alfa Romeo this season, there was an expectation that we wouldn’t see him racing near the front anymore. I thought he’d struggle to crack the top 10 just because of the team he was with. I mean, it’s not like Alfa Romeo has been a threat to do much in recent years.
And yet, when the race ends, Bottas is always in the mix. He has finished 5 of 6 races and has placed in the top 8 in all of them. Bottas is occupying spots normally reserved for drivers on second tier teams. It’s remarkable what he’s doing.
At this point last season, he had 45 points with Mercedes. This year, he has 38 points with Alfa Romeo.
He’s the Michael Myers of F1. Always lurking.
3. Hamilton Felt Defeated
After an early incident left Lewis Hamilton in P19, he went on the team radio and pondered if it was wise to save the engine and retire the car. The team said no, that he could finish P8. Well, he ended up in P5.
I don’t know if I’ve ever heard defeat like that from Hamilton before. And maybe it wasn’t defeat, as much as it was a legitimate question? All I know is that in the past, when Hamilton has had to make his way through the field, his mentality immediately goes to attack mode. He takes it as a challenge.
So, it was weird for me to hear him not do that right away.
4. 26 Laps Left
With 26 laps left in the race, there weren’t any close battles on the track. Everyone was just driving on their own, until they showed the battle for second-last place. I chuckled. We never really see those cars, unless they crash, or are lapped. So, good for them for getting some screen time when nothing else was going on!
The next race is…tomorrow! Sunday, May 29 in Monaco!