Now that the dust has settled, I’ve chewed pver the variety of analysis, had an opportunity to have a beer, i can now commit to paper (or screen) what is currently in my head. It was an awesome result for Valteri Bottas, in what is probably his last season with Mercedes Formula One Team. However, the one blot on an otherwise perfect copy-book is the fact that it wasn’t a fair fight. Lewis Hamilton had a hobbled car, so we don’t really know what could have been. For the moment we just say a well deserved result. Congrats, Valteri, enjoy it.
A few seconds down the order we had a car, and a team, that were just awesome around the Barcelona Grand Prix circuit. But Ferrari racing cars can be as temperamental as Sebastian Vettels mood. Just because something goes well around the cool, smooth, circuit de Catalunya in February does not mean it will go well around a bumpy and abrasive street circuit. This is not game over by any means, and Charles Leclerc will come on song soon, but it would have been nice to have a closer fight at the front.
Talking of close fights, Max Verstappen and his new Honda shod Red Bull will be feeling pretty happy with themselves. Pierre Gasly clearly needs a race to blow away the cobwebs, but on Sundays form this is a team that are likely to bother Mercedes more regularly than they did last year. Honda is still in a relative beta-mode compared to Ferrari and Mercedes, so there is plenty more to come from this new collaboration. But a podium on their debut together is a very nice reward for an engine supplier that were nowhere 18 months ago.
A note on McLaren. Its a real shame that they didn’t stick it out with Honda. That decision is now looking a little hasty. It was especially sad to see Carlos Sainz Jnr having to park his mobile bonfire at the pit entrance. Lets hope that he and Lando Norris can bring the fight to the front of the midfield by the start of the European F1 Season.