This is the one thousandth Grand Prix race. To celebrate, we saw the sports two oldest teams fighting it out on track. This was a race for Mercedes and Ferrari alone. Being a 7am start I knew the result before i got to watch the race. This didn’t dampen my excitement. It was a processional race, but not an unexciting one.
Lewis Hamilton nabbed the initiative off the start, and never let it go. Only one radio call sounded strained, when he asked why Valteri Bottas had been given pit-stop priority? Being tyre limited towards the end, was Bono’s reply. From there, it was plain sailing.
But behind Mercedes, Ferrari was in a new world of pain. Young Charles Leclerc had passed Sebastian Vettel early on, and it wasn’t long until the veteran driver began to complain about being held up. He was let past, not without protest, at the end of the main straight on lap 11. And what did Vettel do with his clean air? Not much, in summary. There was no scampering off into the distance and getting after Bottas. Instead, he got as far as 2.7s ahead, and then executed a series of small mistakes and lock-ups that allowed Leclerlc to get back on terms, and then begin complaining that he was losing time to Vettel. Not that it mattered, Leclerc was playing the team game on Sunday, keeping Max Verstappen away from the 3rd placed Ferrari, and destroying his own race in the process. Charles Leclerc seems to be 99% of the skill of his more illustrious team-mate. Thats enough to cause him, and Ferrari, a serious headache. This is also going to be the overriding narrative of the season!