F1 2018 Spanish Grand Prix: Could 2nd or 3rd have won?
Lewis Hamilton made it two wins in a row but could his rivals have done more to steal the race win? Dev Tyagi thinks not.
(Image source: Reuters/Juan Medina)
In utter control of the proceedings from the word go, an indomitable Lewis Hamilton reigned supreme in Barcelona, winning the Spanish Grand Prix ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
In securing his second win of the 2018 campaign and his first back-to-back triumphs following his win in Baku, Hamilton proved that Azerbaijan wasn’t just a flash in the pan, even if it could have been described an ‘inherited win’.
Having looked solid throughout the weekend, Saturday’s pole sitter recorded his 64th career win, ensuring Ferrari stood no chance against an invincible Mercedes team that delivered an error-free weekend.
But that leaves us to ponder whether the second and third placed drivers stood any chance of beating the four-time world champion?
Could Valtteri Bottas have won the race?
Not the most difficult question to answer.
The only chance that the Finn might have had of clinching any advantage in the race was to have made a move on teammate Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap.
But instead of challenging Hamilton, Bottas – who was only four-tenths shy of Hamilton following a great qualifying run on Saturday – was passed up the inside by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel at Turn One.
Beating Hamilton was never on the cards but Bottas fought hard, overcoming tyre wear (on the medium compounds) to defend track position from Max Verstappen who was breathing on the tail in the final laps.
Lewis Hamilton eventually won the Grand Prix by a margin of over 20 seconds, highlighting the gulf between the two drivers this weekend.
Could Max Verstappen have won the race?
There was no way that Verstappen could have challenged Hamilton for the top position on the podium. But the Dutchman will savour finishing in a respectable P3 and collecting 15 valuable points for Red Bull.
Max may have been lucky to finish inside the top three after his Red Bull made contact with Lance Stroll’s Williams on Lap 40, removing a large chunk of his front wing. However, his stayed out on the track and posted some impressive lap times considering his predicament.
In recording a strong finish for Red Bull, Verstappen rounded off a good weekend. This, in stark contrast to the tumultuous events at Azerbaijan, where he came together with teammate Ricciardo on Lap 40, leading both drivers to retire from the race.
While the podium sitters could not have done any better, Ferrari will be left wondering what might have happened had they not pitted Vettel under the virtual safety car. Once again, Ferrari’s strategic decisions have been called into question.
Could anyone else have done more in this race? Share your views below.