F1: Spanish Grand Prix ‘hot and not’ list

F1’s youngest winner of all time – Max Verstappen – tops our ‘hot and not’ list after a spectacular Spanish Grand Prix.

2016 Spanish Grand Prix Hot list

Max Verstappen

We all knew he was good but perhaps not this good or able to be this good, this quickly. The Dutchman’s performance was one that would be expected from a veteran but not an 18-year old. Coolness, maturity and speed marked out this debut win as well deserved and a great good news story for F1. Aside from his age, the simple fact he had been parachuted in to the team the week before just made the victory all the more impressive.

Ferrari are bitter about ‘losing’ this one which highlights just how well Max did. Suddenly Red Bull seem to have got their ‘wings’ back.

Carlos Sainz

Whilst his former team-mate was stealing all the plaudits, Sainz did a stellar. The rest of this season – in expectation that Verstappen keeps delivering the goods – for Sainz is all about keeping himself in the mind of future employers. The comings and goings could have unsettled and demoralized Sainz but he ran smoothly and confidently in Barcelona.

Sainz has matched Verstappen while they have been teammates in pretty much every way. As Verstappen goes on to bigger and better things, more performances like today will be a good way for Sainz to remind people of that and his definite talent.

Jenson Button

On a fast circuit with long straights, Button knuckled down and got a good couple of points for McLaren-Honda. It was a great recovery for the team after the retirement of Fernando Alonso with another Honda powerunit failure. A double-points finish was on the cards for McLaren and it is pleasing for the neutral fan that they are now in a place where failure to achieve that is a big disappointment.

Lewis and Nico taking each other out

This may have just dropped a hand grenade in to the middle of the perpetually tense Mercedes partnership but it gave us the chance to witness a battle between more than two drivers. The memorable race that followed was quite unlike the processions we usually see in Barcelona. Thanks Lewis and Nico 😉

Stewards decision

They were right on the money with the ‘racing incident’ decision on the Rosberg/Hamilton accident.

2016 Spanish Grand Prix Not list

Strategy call for Ricciardo

The Aussie was one of the fastest, if not the fastest, driver/car  combinations after the Mercedes duo this afternoon. On a track with monster straights it was a bad strategic call to leave him in a position to have to fight past more back markers. Undoubtedly it was his win to take and a win for his teenage team-mate will not make things any better.

Ricciardo was quite right to criticise the team post-race for the 3-stop tactic. It was not the decision so much as the delay in reacting to the 2-stop potential that cost him the opportunity to race for the win.

Suggestions one or other Mercedes driver was to blame

Paranoia stirred up by the British media pre Barcelona was not helpful in leaving plenty of kindling for today’s accident to spark. Suggestions that Mercedes had ‘decided’ this was Rosberg’s year, to conspiracy theories over switch of technical personnel between cars were constant and it all just rolled in to Sunday’s race.

Those watching Sky UK’s feed were treated to a forensic level of analysis including switches that may or may not have been in the wrong place, question marks over sportsmanship, harvesting modes and a lot more. Racing is racing. These things will happen. Hamilton having his head in hands as his car came to a halt in the gravel trap really said more than any split screen, slow-mo, super-zoom could.

F1 aero

Raikkonen and Ricciardo both struggled to do anything about challenging their main rivals – Verstappen and Vettel respectively – in the final portion of the race. Quick enough to catch up both were unable to stay close enough to make a pass stick. The turbulence created by the aero-heavy breed of F1 cars takes the fun out of things. For the new regulations the focus on mechanical grip really needs to be a top priority.

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