Battles of Barcelona

Battles of Barcelona

Postby meteorite » Sat May 13, 2017 11:04 pm

The Catalunia circuit (near Barcelona) is very familiar to all Formula 1 folks, as it is the scene of their allowed ration of winter testing. But perched in the high northeast corner of Spain, with a sea and a mountain chain close to hand, its weather while basically warm is given to variable and flukey winds that can upset a car quite unpredictably. Nevertheless the conditions are the same for all drivers, and they know what they are up against, so it's fair to draw conclusions from these resuts:

12 14 May 2017 Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Catalunya
Qualifying

Pos No Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3 Laps
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:20.511 1:20.210 1:19.149 12
2 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:20.939 1:20.295 1:19.200 16
3 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:20.991 1:20.300 1:19.373 15
4 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:20.742 1:20.621 1:19.439 14
5 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:21.430 1:20.722 1:19.706 12
6 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1:21.704 1:20.855 1:20.175 12
7 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 1:22.015 1:21.251 1:21.048 15
8 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:21.998 1:21.239 1:21.070 14
9 19 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes 1:22.138 1:21.222 1:21.232 15
10 31 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 1:21.901 1:21.148 1:21.272 17
11 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:21.945 1:21.329 13
12 55 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:21.941 1:21.371 12
13 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:22.091 1:21.397 12
14 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:21.822 1:21.517 13
15 94 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber Ferrari 1:22.327 1:21.803 15
16 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:22.332 9
17 30 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:22.401 6
18 18 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:22.411 7
19 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 1:22.532 9
20 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:22.746 6

The Ferraris and Mercedes obviously have the measure of each other. In fact notice that all five cars in the first three rows qualified within the same second, with the sixth a couple of hundredths outside. A slight variation in the strength of the headwind entering the start could account for that. These cars and drivers are very evenly matched.

Nigel Mansell once said that qualifying before the home crowd wa s worth a second a lap. Fernando Alonso's brilliant seventh was his best grid position of the season and the first time this year he made it into Q3. Looks like Nigel had it right.

Once again Felipe Massa split the two Force Indias, though his young new Canadian teammate has yet to find his feet. Hass, Renault, Toro Rosso and Sauber had their private battles below the points positions.

So it looks like we are in for a hotly contested race as everyone wants to get a head start into the European part of the championship, and there is no shortsage of human or mechanical talent ready to battle it out.
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Re: Battles of Barcelona

Postby meteorite » Sun May 14, 2017 6:41 pm

Ernest Hemingway wrote that there are only three true sports: mountain climbing, bullfighting, and motor racing - all the rest are just games. So take a city that's a contender for world capital of bullfighting, place it in teh foothills of the Pyrenees, and drop a Formula One racetrack right dow the road, and it's reasonable to expect a certain type of atmosphere. At Catalunia, it exists.

From lights our, the matadorial red haze struck the grid. Hamilton got the jump but Vettel bulleted by as Lews got wheelspin, Bottas moved over to tail the red car and Raikkonen moved left to counter, while the Red Bull of Max Verstappen charged up outside of both. This squeezed Valterri who moved to his right but clipped the curbing, which bounced him back into Kimi, who caromed off into Verstappen. Both the Ferrari and Red Bull somehow slid across the traffic to a safe spot off the track but both cars were damaged beyond repair and out of the race. Bottas carried on. Behind' Alonso got bumped off the track and well out of the points during a forced phenomenal avoidance before he could regain the race course. Behind, the usual group of increasingly evenly matched back markers thrust and parried seeking to find and exploit any strategic advantage.

No Finns finshed. Bottas held third position, being promoted to the lead when Hamilton stopped for tires under a virtual car caution to offset an early Ferrari pitstop by Vettel. Hamilton returned just behind Vettel, so Bottas made it difficullt for the Ferrari to pass until Hamilton could attack. Vettel, on faster tires, pulled away but after the next pitstop exchange Hamilton was faster and, with a dramatic pass, took the lead he would hold to the end. Then late in the race Bottas' engine expired and he was out. This left Ricciardo to inherit third place, 75 seconds - a minute and a quarter - behind but still a podium finish.

The final results read like this:

FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA PIRELLI 2017 - RACE RESULT

12 14 May 2017 Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Catalunya

Pos No Driver Car Laps Time/Retired Pts
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 66 1:35:56.497 25
2 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 66 +3.490s 18
3 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 66 +75.820s 15
4 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 65 +1 lap 12
5 31 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 65 +1 lap 10
6 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 65 +1 lap 8
7 55 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 65 +1 lap 6
8 94 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber Ferrari 65 +1 lap 4
9 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 65 +1 lap 2
10 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 65 +1 lap 1
11 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 64 +2 laps 0
12 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 64 +2 laps 0
13 19 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes 64 +2 laps 0
14 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 64 +2 laps 0
15 30 Jolyon Palmer Renault 64 +2 laps 0
16 18 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 64 +2 laps 0
NC 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 38 DNF 0
NC 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 32 DNF 0
NC 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer 1 DNF 0
NC 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 0 DNF 0

Note - Wehrlein had a 5-second penalty applied to his race time for failing to keep to the right of the pit-entry bollard.

The Perez and Ocon pair's finish made Force India the only team this season to finish both drivers in the points in every race. Pascal Wehrlein, a relatively new driver, earned four priceless manufacturer points for Sauber, a momentous enhancement to the team finances, and splitting the Toro Rosso pair to do it.

During the quiet moments pre-race the television cameramen swept the stands, and picked up a French couple with a terminally cute four-year-old son, all togged out in Ferrari clothes and bubbling with excitedment. Then the race started and Raikkonen, for whom he had been cheering, was knocked out in the first turn. As the wrecked cars settled into the dust, the cameras picked up fan reaction again and found the child heartbroken as only a four-year-old can be, crying his eyes out, a picture of dismay. As the race continued, a Ferrari staffer crossed the bridge to the stand, located the couple and child, and took them to the Ferrari motorhome where young Thomas was consoled by Kimi himself. A beautiful touch he will remember all his life.
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