by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 201
It’s starting to look a lot like 1988, isn’t it! That was the year when McLaren won 15 out of 16 Grands Prix, 10 of them 1-2s, the only slip-up when Prost retired and Ayrton senna collided with a back-marker, at Monza. But when did you last wish that a race at boring Barcelona could go a few laps longer! Barcelona 2014 was the fourth 1-2 in five races for Mercedes, though, as in Bahrain, it looked like there might have been some late race action – Nico, again on the softer tyre, closing in on Lewis on the harder tyre, struggling with some left-front graining – but this time the German had only just arrived in Lewis’ slipstream as the chequer fell. He reckoned another lap and he’d have had a go – but of course passing, as he has learned previously, ain’t that easy. It was a dominant display, improved as a spectacle by Mercedes’ policy to let its duo compete against each other, albeit on that marginally different tyre strategy. It made for good late lap tension. Daniel Ricciardo had predicted third and, once he had regained it after a slightly tardy start, undercutting Bottas at the first stops, it was something of a lonely run to his first official, unpenalised podium – albeit a frustrating distance back from the lead pair. For the world champion, though, the day brought forth a quality drive, after a series of dramas on Friday and Saturday saw him start from 15th ¬ storming through, using three stops, to slice past both Ferraris, and Bottas, for a well-earned fourth place. The Red Bull certainly does look like the closest rival to Mercedes – albeit with a fair way to go: “Once we came in I was on the harder tyre and was able to stick with the people in front and even catch them a little bit. I think we realised that the pace was there and after that we had two fresh sets of tyres from yesterday, so we could go even further up the road! I enjoyed it a lot and I think fourth was the best we could do.” For Valtteri Bottas, fifth was a best- ever result and the best Williams could probably have hoped for on the day – Vettel’s brilliant recovery aside. The team is making progress. The big call came when, holding Ricciardo at bay, the team, chose not to respond to the Aussie’s quite early (lap 14) first stop. It did cost track position, but the change was almost inevitable. Fourth looked on until Vettel appeared in the mirrors on fresh Mediums, but fifth was still a promising result. The Ferraris had their own race all day – ultimately, and embarrassingly, finishing a lap down on the race leader. It took most of the day, but incumbent Alonso finally got the better of his team-mate late in the race, like Vettel, on fresh three-stop Mediums as Kimi tried to make some Hards hang in at the end. They didn’t. The message, though, is clear. Ferrari has two of the best in the cockpit, but performance-wise has some way to go. After qualifying so well, the race proved disappointing for Romain Grosjean and Lotus. Early on, Romain was in the thick of it – almost jumping Ricciardo at the start, with a tyre- smoking late break into Turn 1, but once he stopped quite early (lap 15) a generic “power unit issue” knocked the performance of the Renault around sufficiently for him to drift backwards, eventually finishing eighth. There is some promise, though. The Force Indias completed the top 10, scraping a few points together in damage limitation mode while, further back, the McLarens had differing races for a point-less 11-12 result. Jenson struggled with something of a strategy back-fire, while Kevin Magnussen (surviving an opening-lap brush with his team leader), eased forward a couple of spots. But yes, it’s starting to look like ’88 at the front. Monaco, though, provides an early opportunity to upset the applecart – will Red Bull’s excellent chassis, and Monaco pedigree, be enough to overcome Renault’s power disadvantage? If it doesn’t happen there, then, yes, a Mercedes whitewash is on the cards! 24 GPWEEK.com // 24 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> SPAIN PARTNERS: