until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Winners and losers from the Spanish GP

by Matt Beer
5 min read

Lewis Hamilton dominated, but he wasn’t the only driver with a lot to be proud of in the Spanish Grand Prix.

We pick out the other stars, and those who’ll be glad to leave Barcelona.


Carlos Sainz Jr

Carlos Sainz Jr McLaren Spanish Grand Prix 2020 Barcelona

At almost every turn, Carlos Sainz Jr has had some bad luck this season. Bad pitstops compromised him in the Styrian and 70th Anniversary Grands Prix, he was unfortunate with pitlane traffic in Hungary, and suffered that late puncture in the British GP.

But he has finally been rewarded. A new engine cured the cooling issue that confounded McLaren for a solid week, and he put it to good use with a strong qualifying performance and then an opportunistic race drive to jump the hamstrung Red Bull of Alex Albon.

Picking off Sebastian Vettel late on for sixth was a nice bonus and moved McLaren ahead of Ferrari again in the constructors’ championship. – Scott Mitchell

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton wins Spanish Grand Prix 2020

This was one of those races that looked straightforward on paper but that didn’t really show just how on top of things Lewis Hamilton was.

He was quick, executed to perfection and was well out of reach of Max Verstappen. Remember, if it was so easy to be in front in a Mercedes then Valtteri Bottas would have finished second rather than third.

Yes, it wasn’t a win for the ages, but he was mighty. – Edd Straw

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel Ferrari Spanish Grand Prix 2020

OK, he’s not quite as quick as he wants to be. But Vettel’s experience has shown on a couple of crucial occasions now.

His strategic overruling of Ferrari in Hungary banked him sixth place. Today, it banked him seventh. He realised he might as well gamble and try to go to the end on softs – and fair play, Vettel pulled it off.

It was a welcome leap into the points for a driver who looked otherwise destined to miss out on the top 10. – SM

Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen Esteban Ocon Spanish Grand Prix 2020

After making Q2 for the first time in 2020 yesterday and looking far more engaged behind the wheel, Raikkonen drove a good race today with a couple of late-race passes on George Russell and Kevin Magnussen to reach 14th.

While Raikkonen didn’t score points, it was a fine cameo performance from the 40-year-old, who even had to gather up a big rear end moment while side by side with Russell in Turn 2 that briefly looked like it might lead to a collision! – ES

Racing Point

Lance Stroll Sergio Perez Racing Point Spanish Grand Prix 2020

Finally, Racing Point managed a two-car finish with both cars where they should be.

In race conditions, there was no way they were going to beat Verstappen so fourth and fifth place is the best possible result and a hatful of points.

Credit too should be given to Lance Stroll, who did a superb job on the first lap and only slipped behind Sergio Perez on-the-road thanks to making one more pitstop before picking up fourth when his team-mate was penalised. – ES




The new big boss Luca de Meo was in town this weekend. Unfortunately Renault didn’t give him much to enjoy. Both cars were knocked out in Q2 and couldn’t force their way into the points.

It meant Renault was beaten by its customer team yet again and, after the recent highs of Silverstone, it has suffered a bit of a reality check at a track that exposed it does still have a fundamental performance deficit – however small it may be. – SM

Albon’s strategy

Alex Albon Red Bull Spanish Grand Prix 2020 Barcelona

That didn’t go to plan. A better qualifying – in terms of result, not deficit to team-mate Max Verstappen – was meant to create a simpler race. And it didn’t.

Albon actually got a good start and would have emerged from Turn 1 in fifth, but had to check up when Valtteri Bottas was blocked by Lance Stroll. Then Albon spent the first stint behind the two Racing Points, seemingly without issue, before being brought in early to change to hards.

That released him into traffic, behind a Renault on mediums that wasn’t slow enough for Albon to pick off, and his race went into a tailspin.

Albon’s not at the level he needs to be. But strategy calls and races like this make the job unnecessarily difficult. – SM

Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas

Bottas is nearly as fast as Hamilton. He is, he really is. He’s beaten him to two poles this year and was within 0.06s of making it 3-3 in qualifying yesterday.

But in the races… Mugged at the start, unable to make strategic dice rolls work and in the end just not quick enough when the points are actually awarded. Barcelona showed why there won’t be an intra-Mercedes title fight with this line-up.

There will be races later this year when Bottas is relentless, superb and has Hamilton on the ropes. They’ll, again, come too late and not often enough. – Matt Beer

Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean Haas Spanish Grand Prix Barcelona 2020

We all knew Grosjean and Haas’s appearances in the top six in both Friday practice sessions were a bit of an anomaly.

But the scale of the fall after that was painful. An engine problem at the end of Friday afternoon that prompted a new unit and a curfew break. Out in Q1. A race spent near the back, and then finishing right at the back after a late spin.

“The car wasn’t the same and I could feel it coming sadly,” said Grosjean after qualifying. “I can’t drive with understeer and I don’t have any confidence and it’s killing us.” – MB

Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc Ferrari retires Spanish Grand Prix 2020

Vettel already has a form of colloquially spin named after him. Will clouting a kerb, making your engine cut, looping the car, unbuckling your belts and then firing the car back up again and then retiring anyway become the ‘Charles spin’…?

Probably not because you can’t imagine that sequence of events happening many times in a decade.

After the superhuman performances Leclerc’s put in this year, this weekend’s quieter lower top 10 presence showed he’s human. – MB

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