The drivers, teams and standouts that impressed and embarrassed in equal measure at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Nico Rosberg – ditched the ‘preparing for Sunday’ approach to qualifying and took a more aggressive tact that paid off. Looked calm and in control all race and dictated the result himself (despite what Hamilton suggested post-race regarding team orders). A desperately needed win but more importantly a desperately needed pole plus win combination.
Ferrari engine – during Vettel’s mid-race battle with Hamilton there was very little to choose between the grunt of the Ferrari and the Mercedes. Even when Lewis had DRS the gap did not fall as quickly as it would have a year ago. Plenty of power available to the prancing horse now.
Kimi Raikkonen – still so frustrating to watch during qualifying but in the opening laps he was at his seat-of-the-pants best. Zipping around the outside of both Toro Rosso cars was classic Raikkonen and demonstrated there is still some things the elder ‘Flying Finn’ can teach the next generation.
‘Crashtor’ – the Venezuelan was on fire during the opening laps and made full use of the Mercedes power down the endless Barcelona straights. Compromised by a bizarre failure of a rear wing end fence and a slightly reckless move by his team mate. Had the potential to finish deep in the points and probably deserved it for not losing his cool (for once).
McLaren Honda – the nightmare continues. Just when a breakthrough looked to be on the cards Button spent the race wrestling with a car that had a mind of its own and Alonso retired with a nearly catastrophic brake failure. You cannot imagine either driver will be keen to brake late and deep in to Saint Devote in two weeks time.
Red Bull – spent the race going backwards and again nearly embarrassed by their junior team. Expect the complaints about Renault, threats to quit and moans about a return to normally aspirated V8s to rise again this week. Yawn…
Toro Rosso – they got their set up right for qualifying but their high downforce really compromised them in race trim. Sitting ducks on the straights all day they lucked in to 9th and 11th as a result of Red Bull going backwards and the technical problems that hampered the faster Lotus’.
DRS activation zone – I’m all for improving the chances of overtaking but the activation zone on the main straight was far too long. DRS should give drivers an opportunity to pass – not to do it for them. The number of in car camera shots showing drivers with time to fiddle with their steering wheel knobs during DRS passes highlighted the problem.
Lewis Hamilton – for 3 reasons: 1) for telling his engineer it was impossible to pass Vettel – hardly fitting of a double World champion; 2) for wearing his sunglasses on the podium and looking like a petulant child; 3) for starting the propaganda war again with claims of team interference post-race.