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Fifth one-two win for Mercedes as Hamilton Tops Spanish GP
In an unbroken one-two finish winning streak, Mercedes won yet again in the Spanish GP on the 12th of May, 2019 in the same one-two fashion with Lewis Hamilton on the top spot followed by teammate Valtteri Bottas. They beat Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel, and Charles Leclerc who came in the third, fourth, and fifth places, respectively.
The final lap of the race saw Hamilton slugging it out with Bottas who was closest to him on the score board. Ferrari, on the other hand, would eventually settle for fourth and fifth with Vettel and Leclerc, respectively.
In the race, Hamilton would overtake Bottas, who held an advantageous position at the start. He only managed to keep his nose in front and the inside line in turn one, so that Bottas could do nothing and eventually lost the lead through the apex. Earlier in the race, the Finn suffered a clutch vibration, which he said was what cost him the lead considering how hard overtaking is in Spain.
Hamilton would then go on to give Bottas some space while going through the turns of Baku, even though he had warned that he would no longer be as generous. Bottas stayed with him but didn’t get enough space to pose a challenge. Hamilton remained calm and in control and somehow managed to deftly handle a late safety car. Hamilton also got the extra point for the fastest lap.
Five one-two finishes - a record-breaking feat
This win would be the fifth in Mercedes’ incredible one-two finishes in a row this season—a record-breaking feat, no doubt. The win has also put the title between Bottas and Hamilton, who has recently taken back the title lead. If he emerges successful, this would be Hamilton’s sixth world championship and third consecutive world championship. The Spanish GP win would be the 76th career win for him. With the latest turn of events, it’s only Bottas who poses a real challenge to him in the title race. Currently, he leads the Finn by seven points and is 46 points ahead of Verstappen, who came in third in the Spanish GP and in the championship.
Another interesting point to note is Hamilton’s 48-point lead ahead of Vettel, who currently sits on the fourth position in the race for the championship. Mercedes has been consistently at the lead in this race, and Ferrari does not come close. Ferrari had worked on an engine upgrade and a number of aerodynamic improvements over time with hopes to improve their performance.
Ferrari, however, weren’t the only ones who came to the table with prepared. Mercedes, too, came with a number of recent aero upgrades. Interestingly, Ferrari has yet to find the perfect pace especially around the corners, although they are still ahead of the Scuderia. Ferrari certainly did not have the best performance at the Spanish GP and were taking the dust from the Red Bull and the two Mercedes cars.
Switching to Ferrari, not Hamilton’s immediate goals
Hamilton had expressed in the past that he was a Ferrari admirer. With the current turn of events, he may once again have cancelled out any speculation of a potential exit at the Spanish Grand Prix. The victory at the Circuit de Catalunya was a major loss for Ferrari, which left fans of the sport wondering what to expect next from the British driver.
Representing the Mercedes Team and currently the team principal, Toto Wolff said earlier that the chances of Hamilton switching sides to Ferrari had been discussed with him and within the team. He stated that a switch would not be entirely surprising as moving to Ferrari is an idea that’s in almost every driver’s mind.
Hamilton, though, seemed unperturbed about these speculations. Currently, holding five championships, there’s a good chance that Hamilton will win two more and share Michael Schumacher’s record of seven championships. If Mercedes keeps up their performance and takes home the constructor’s title this year, they would then share Ferrari’s record of six in a row.
When asked for his reactions, Hamilton responded, “I’m just enjoying driving with this team and enjoying growing with this team.” He further stated, “It’s incredible what we’re achieving and what we have achieved in these six or seven years. I plan on making this team and working with this team to make it the most successful team of all time. That’s my current goal and my sole focus.”
Competing with opposing teams more challenging, says Hamilton
When asked about the race, Hamilton acknowledged the threat posed by Ferrari but added that he enjoys the battle with opposing teams. In his words, “I prefer the races where, for example Bahrain, they were on the front row. I like that, especially when we’re intertwined, when it’s Ferrari-Mercedes or Mercedes-Ferrari.”
He thinks that from a driver or a team’s point of view, it’s much better and more challenging to compete with drivers from other teams than with cars from your own team. In his words, “When it becomes more internal, it’s less exciting I would say, but it’s still massively challenging for the drivers. We still have to deliver.” While Hamilton has shown that he might fancy Ferrari road cars, he and Mercedes are already looking to have the F1 model become a challenger in championships.
Verstappen delighted at taking the final spot on the podium
Verstappen of Red Bull not only made it to the final spot on the podium but was also voted as the F1 driver of the day. He stole the Ferrari drivers’ chance to finish third place. On the other hand, Vettel said that it was quite a disappointing week for his team as they had hoped to be much faster than they performed.
There were issues with hard tyres and Ferrari’s team orders of placing Leclerc in front of Vettel. Though he does not believe that these things have caused any major effects in the overall results, Vettel said that it would be discussed within the team.