I suppose it’s possible to overstate just how bad things are for Scuderia Marlboro. Barcelona, this very track, is also the site of Formula One’s Winter Testing which, like many things about Formula One, is highly regulated to benefit the Big 3- Maranello, Mercedes, and Red Bull. Long term, sport wide, systemic failure to the side, it is watched by people who make money from F-1 and the European (where believe it or not Formula One is quite popular) equivalent of NFL Draft Geek types following the College Combine Tryouts.
Anyway, all these people thought it was the Scuderia’s year. Normally when you hear a Team like Mercedes say- “Yeah, but we beat them in the corners.” it means “We’re going to lose all year long unless they wreck out, blow up, or fall asleep and commit some unbelievably stupid screw up.”
Maranello was half a second, Half A Second!, faster per lap which over the course of a 66 lap race is about 30 seconds or so, practically a week.
So here we are at the track they know best and it’s been a frantic exercise in futility. They have lost every Pole and every race to Mercedes. After today 25% of the Season will be over. The Scuderia brought in an engine upgrade they were saving for mid-season along with some fiddly aero. Mercedes responded with their own fiddly aero. After the “upgrades” Maranello was 2 Tenths slower than Hamilton, the slowest Mercedes.
|1||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||1:15.406||2||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1:16.040|
|3||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||1:16.272||4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:16.357|
|5||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||1:16.588||6||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:16.708|
|7||Romain Grosjean||Haas Ferrari||1:16.911||8||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:16.922|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||1:17.573||10||Lando Norris||McLaren Renault||1:17.338|
|11||Alexander Albon||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||1:17.445||12||Carlos Sainz||McLaren Renault||1:17.599|
|13||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||1:18.106||14||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:17.788|
|15||Sergio Perez||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||1:17.886||16||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||1:18.404|
|17||Lance Stroll||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||1:18.471||18||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:18.664|
|19||Robert Kubica||Williams Mercedes||1:20.254||20||George Russell||Williams Mercedes||1:19.072|
Ricciardo was penalized three places for causing a collision at Baku. Russell was penalized five places for an unscheduled gearbox change after parking it hard in Practice.
|1||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||87||2||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||86|
|3||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||52||4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||51|
|5||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||47||6||Sergio Perez||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||13|
|7||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Racing Honda||13||8||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||13|
|9||Lando Norris||McLaren Renault||12||10||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||8|
|11||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||6||12||Carlos Sainz||McLaren Renault||6|
|13||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||6||14||Lance Stroll||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||4|
|15||Alexander Albon||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||3||16||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||1|
|3||Red Bull Racing Honda||64||4||McLaren Renault||18|
|5||Racing Point BWT Mercedes||17||6||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||13|
|9||Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda||4|
Tire Compounds (remember they go from C5 Soft to C1 Hard) available are C1 Hard, C2 Medium, and C3 Soft. Most teams will be running a 2 Stop though it might be possible on a Hard and a Medium.
Prediction? Mercedes is that fast. Put the hat on the other foot as far as wreck out, blow up, or fall asleep, on form Hamilton is confidently predicted to finish 16 – 17 seconds ahead of Vettel.
Of course Bottas will finish 20 – 30 seconds ahead of that, I don’t know if that bothers Hamilton or not, it shouldn’t. Then we’re off to Monaco where nothing much happens except for accidents.
It was really Shanghai and Sakhir that were critical. If the Scuderia was going to pull something out it was on a track that suited their strengths in straight line power like those. Sweeping the European speed tracks (not at all a sure thing) will merely make them competitive at this point and bring out the Red Pony crowd who are more objectionable individually than ‘Boys fans, but there are less of them so they are easier to avoid.