What the teams said – Race day in Spain
Hamilton got a great start, was able to run in fresh air and managed his tyres superbly to win in somewhat surprisingly comfortable style today for his 88th Grand Prix victory. The expected tyre woes didn’t materialise for a driver who described himself as totally ‘in the zone’ for the duration of the race. As for Bottas, he was bogged down at the start and lost places to Verstappen and Stroll. Losing time behind the Racing Point cost him dear and by the time he made it past, he was always going to struggle to make headway, having given Verstappen an effective head start in the race.
Lewis Hamilton, 1st
"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
"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."
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
"There's been a lot of work going on in Brackley over the last week to understand what went wrong in Silverstone, so it's really satisfying to win here in hot conditions. It's been a challenging weekend given the temperatures. We did good work on Friday and had a clear understanding of how hard life was going to be for the tyres with the track at nearly 50°C, but we didn't know how we'd be on relative pace.
"That certainly turned out towards the better end of our expectations; Lewis managed for the first ten laps, but when he started to pick up the pace we had a bit of an edge in terms of pace and degradation. He drove a perfect race and managed the tyres brilliantly. Valtteri's day wasn't so straightforward. He lost places off the line and got squeezed into Turn 1 so had to work through a couple of cars early to get back into the fight at the front, all without taking too much out of the tyres. He was able to follow Max closely and we may conclude that there was a small window where we could have gone for an undercut in that middle stint, but Red Bull covered the situation well. A reminder that they race well and never give us anything for free. Valtteri had the chance for to go for fastest lap at the end on fresh medium tyres and it was some consolation to see him break the lap record and get the extra Championship point.
"We're looking forward to a few days back in the UK to prepare for the next triple-header. There are some amazing tracks coming up with Spa, Monza and Mugello and they all present their own unique challenges, so we'll be using this time to understand how to get the best out of the W11 in each of those races."
Verstappen made a great getaway to launch into second place, and did his best to keep Hamilton honest ahead. In truth he didn’t have the pace in his car today to take the fight to his championship rival but he did well to split the two Mercedes cars and come home second. As for Albon, an early pit stop for the hard compound proved the wrong call and he spent much of the race fighting his way back through traffic. After a strong start and running sixth, finishing in P8 will be something of a disappointment for the Thai driver.
Max Verstappen, 3rd, 1:16.292
“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
“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.”
Stroll made the best start of the field and managed to get the inside line into Turn 1 to overtake Bottas, but was ultimately only able to hold onto the place for a few laps. From there, the Pink Panthers had enough pace to keep the rest of the midfield at bay, but not enough to keep up with the front three. Perez had a couple of goes at his team mate on track, before finding himself ahead courtesy of a one-stop strategy to Stroll’s two stops. He would have held onto fourth too had he not been penalised for ignoring blue flags, that time penalty reversing the positions at the chequered flag with Stoll fourth and Perez fifth.
Sergio Perez, 5th
“I had a difficult start today and lost a place to Lance, but we were able to recover and have a strong race. I think it was on the edge to make a one-stop work, but we managed to do it, which took a lot of tyre management, and great work from the team to make it happen. It was also fun to battle Lance, but the priority was to save the tyres. I’m disappointed to have got a five seconds time penalty: I don’t think it was fair considering the first opportunity I had to get out of Lewis's way was into Turn 1. But the main thing is that we were able to hold onto P5, and we scored a lot of points for the team today. It’s been a positive comeback for me and I want to thank the team for their help in getting me back up to speed so quickly.”
Lance Stroll, 4th
“I had a great launch off the line and I was able to pass Checo and the Mercedes of Bottas, which set me up for a good race. It was a great feeling to race a few laps in third, even if we knew we weren’t racing the Mercedes – P4 was the maximum today. It was good to battle with Checo on track for a bit too, even if it probably gave Otmar a few more grey hairs! We changed to a two-stop in the race, but I was able to make up places, and I managed to overtake Vettel late on, and I gained a place through Checo’s penalty too. Today was all about managing the tyres, which was difficult in the heat – but we made it work. The dark clouds arriving late in the race were a nice relief from the sun! The team did a great job today and I’m happy we scored some big points. I’m excited to get to Spa now because the track should suit our car and we can aim for more points.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal & CEO
“Fourth and fifth place is a deserved result and there’s no doubt we maximised the points that were available to us. It was difficult to fight the top three on pure pace, but converting our qualifying positions into race results feels very satisfying – especially with split strategies. Lance made his usual strong start off the grid and then both cars ran in close company for most of the race. Lance maintained his advantage over Sergio during the first pit stops, until we switched him to a two-stop race, while Sergio tried to make the one-stop strategy work. Sergio’s race was compromised by the five seconds penalty for blue flags, but in the end it didn’t cost the team points because Lance finished just ahead of him. The team called the race very well today and, in the end, there was little to choose between those two different strategies. The 22 points scored – our best result of the season – take us into third place in the championship.”
Norris lost a couple of places at the start and from there was always playing catch up. A bold strategy saw the team fit both cars with a second set of soft tyres for their second stint and it worked perfectly with both drivers able to gain some places, before swapping to the preferred mediums for the final stint. Sainz picked off Vettel in the closing stages for his joint-best finish at his home race, while Norris at least picked up a point in P10.
Carlos Sainz, 6th
“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
“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.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal
“Finishing P6 and P10 today is a great result at a race we expected to be very challenging. This second triple-header of the season has been tough, and this is a reward for all the hard work the team at the track and back in in Woking, the drivers and Renault have put in over the last few weeks. We’ve had great reliability so far this year – six races without any issues – which is testament to the great work being done across the team, from design and production, to the build of sub-assemblies and the full car and logistics. We must keep up such performance and reliability.
“Today, the strategy team and the pit-stop crew performed really well. Carlos put in a great drive and maximised everything we had to beat one of the Red Bulls. Lando was unlucky to lose a couple of places at the start, but after that drove with really good pace. We want to use this momentum, keep pushing and further develop the car. It’s been another hot, exhausting week and the team have had to get used to working under difficult conditions and covid protocols. “Now, we’ll take the time to recharge, as it isn’t long until we head out to Spa and start the next triple-header.”
The Ferrari drivers both ran long first stints and pitted later than their rivals, with Leclerc swapping to the medium compound tyre in an apparent bid for another one-stop race, while Vettel was put onto the softs. The Monegasque driver subsequently retired after spinning with a loss of power, but Vettel found himself running up the order when the rest of the field pitted a second time. That prompted the team to switch him to a one-stop strategy and he miraculously made his soft compound tyres last the distance to come home a superb seventh.
Sebastian Vettel, 7th
"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
“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."
Gasly made up a couple of places at the start and from there on in always looked likely to get some points as the team played it safe and put both drivers onto a two-stop strategy. As for Kvyat, he lost a place at the start despite opting for the soft tyres which should have given him more grip off the line. In a race where overtaking proved tricky, he was always going to struggle when there was so little to choose between the midfield on pure pace. The Russian’s chances weren’t helped by a five-second time penalty for ignoring blue flags, as he came home where he started in 12th.
Pierre Gasly, 9th
“It was a great race and I’m happy to get another two points for the team this weekend. We had a good start and I managed to pass Charles and Lando in Turn 1 which put me in eighth position. We got held up a bit in the second stint behind other cars in a train of DRS, so we didn’t make full use of the prime tyres, which was a bit of a shame. However, I think there are a lot of positives to take away from Barcelona, which is quite a challenging track in terms of car performance, and it was nice to be in the mix with the McLarens for most of the race. We can be pleased with our result today and now we start focusing on Spa.”
Daniil Kvyat, 12th
“I can’t say it was a satisfying race as it was quite frustrating. I wasn’t as comfortable in the car as I usually feel on Sundays. We still need to look into the details and try to understand why - maybe our tyre usage wasn’t optimal. I was happy with my initial start, I had some nice battles with Ferrari and Ricciardo, so I thought there was more for me to take today and finish in a better position. I think there are a few things we can learn from this weekend and we should be able to do well in the next races.”
Guillaume Dezoteux, Head of Vehicle Performance
“The very hot conditions favoured the two-stop strategy today, although some cars managed to make the one-stop work. As for Pierre, the first stint was strong as he managed to keep Leclerc behind and maintained a gap to Sainz. We had to manage the car a bit as the brakes and tyres were on the hot side. We stopped him as soon as we were clear from Grosjean and we tried to use our tyre advantage, as we had two sets of medium tyres available. Unfortunately for Pierre, his entire second stint was in traffic and he got stuck in a train with Albon and Norris. The last stint was very similar, but we thought we could pass Vettel who was losing quite a bit of time as he trying to make the one-stop work. Overall, we bring home some points which reward a strong weekend on Pierre’s side of the garage.
“Daniil's race was more complicated. He started to lose ground at the end of his first stint, so we decided to box him for medium tyres. His second stint was okay, but not enough to beat Ricciardo, who was going for the one-stop. In the final part of the race, he was very close but the leaders coming by were forcing him to drop and attack again.
“Obviously, after showing a competitive performance over the entire weekend, we would have preferred to bring home more points, but overall, it's a positive result that confirms we are a strong midfield contender. We will go on working hard to keep the good momentum going and increase our advantage over our direct competitors.”
A disappointing Saturday saw the team qualify outside the top 10, and come race day they struggled to progress up the field. Both drivers went for an ambitious one-stop strategy, but Ricciardo’s tyres fell off the cliff and he dropped out of the points in the last few laps, while Ocon never looked racy enough to make it into the top 10. They might have finished higher than they started, but the team have lost ground in the constructors’ fight to their midfield rivals today.
Daniel Ricciardo, 11th
“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
“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.”
Raikkonen finished where he started after a race spent fighting the Haas cars, with the Finn showing he’s lost none of his passion as he delivered a particularly angry radio message after one of Grosjean’s moves in the final third of the race. Giovinazzi had a slightly quieter time of it, but at least came home in front of the Williams cars after starting last.
Kimi Raikkonen, 14th
“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.”
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
“It’s disappointing not to bring home any points after a race weekend where we looked more convincing than in previous weeks. Both drivers executed a good race, attacking where needed and pulling off some very good overtaking moves, but in the end that was not enough for a place in the top ten. It is important, though, to keep moving in the right direction: we have seen an improvement both yesterday in qualifying and in today’s race, so we need to build on this for the next triple-header.”
Starting down the field, it was always going to be a tough ask for the American outfit to get any points today in a race that saw just the one retirement. Both drivers battled hard, with Grosjean going wheel-to-wheel with Raikkonen and Mganussen defending hard from Ocon. Grosjean nearly made a one-stop race work but had to pit with two laps to go as he ran out of rubber, dropping down to last place as a result.
Romain Grosjean, 19th
“From lap one to the last lap, it wasn’t good. The car was a handful. I just can’t understand what has happened since Friday. Our long runs, short runs, everything was fast and competitive on Friday – everything was under control. I can’t explain why it was so good then, and not the rest of the weekend. It was just not fun today. It was a tough day at the office.”
Kevin Magnussen, 15th
“I think we did everything we could today. On our side, I think we just missed some pace, which is of course a very crucial thing. In terms of driving the race, and strategy, everything we thought we needed to do before the race – we did. We made a one-stop work, got a good start, I overtook when I needed to, got the balance right in the car, and all the communication from the team to me went well. It felt like a good race, it’s just that the result isn’t so good. It’s just down to pace, I guess. Other than that, we did the best that we could.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
“It wasn’t the result we wanted to have. It’s just always trying to execute, do something to find some magic – but the magic didn’t work today. This is where we are at for now. In Belgium we will see what the change in the engine modes does. I don’t want to jump too much for joy, as I want to see first how it works out and what it does. I don’t think everything is the engine, I think we’ve got work to do on the car as well. It’s difficult for us this year in the circumstances we’re in. The positives, our drivers drove hard today – they did the best they could. Everybody worked hard to get the best out of our package, this is the best we can do at the moment.”
Williams lacked the pace today to compete with their usual rivals towards the back of the field. Russell started on the soft compound tyres in a bid to make up places off the line, and he did at least get past Grosjean fair and square out on track, but other than that had a lonely race as he won the intra-team battle, with Latifi coming home a couple of laps down on the race winner.
George Russell, 17th
"The race was better than expected. I made a good start, overtook a couple of drivers and then spent the whole afternoon battling. I managed to overtake Romain (Grosjean) on track which was nice, then I had a nice little tussle with Kimi (Raikkonen). We used an alternative strategy to our main rivals and it didn’t pay off, but we had to in our position. There are definitely positives to take away, so I’m relatively pleased with this afternoon."
Nicholas Latifi, 18th
"It was quite tricky. I got a good start but then struggled on the opening lap. For the first five or six laps I had no confidence and it undid my race in that first stint. We tried to do something alternative strategy wise, but it didn’t end up working out. My second and third stints pace wise were relatively not so bad but I think that’s all we could manage after the opening stint."
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
"Today was another tricky day at the end of three weeks of racing. Our performance was better than on Friday, showing that we understood some of the issues we had and that we made some good improvements to the car ahead of qualifying. The tyres remained a little difficult, but it made for some interesting racing, with a variety of strategies attempted across the field.
"We enjoyed racing with Haas and Alfa Romeo, and although we couldn’t beat them today, we were much closer than we feared after Friday, which is an encouraging sign. We ran slightly different strategies on our two cars with Nicholas starting on the Medium and finishing with a short stint on the Soft. George ran the opposite tyre order, with a short middle stint on Medium as we looked to cover the cars that had pitted behind us. As ever, both drivers did well with the car that we were able to give them today, including some good overtakes from George. Coming back to Barcelona at a different time of year has given us a good opportunity to evaluate the car performance in different conditions and has helped our understanding of the tyres at this circuit. We now have a short break before we embark on the third of the triple-headers, which begins at the iconic Spa circuit in two weeks’ time."
Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Car Racing
"Managing the tyres in these demanding conditions with nearly 50 degrees of track temperatures was a big challenge, especially on the soft tyre. Nonetheless, we saw stints of more than 30 laps on them, which was extremely impressive, leading to some one-stop strategies that we didn't expect. In particular, Racing Point's Sergio Perez was fifth with soft-medium one-stopper, while Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel also stopped once with a brave strategy, going from medium to soft. Despite the hottest temperatures that many of the drivers have ever raced and a wide range of demands, the tyres stood up extremely well to the challenge."