For the first time this year, we really got to see what our hearts and minds have been yearning for all this season. A true, wheel to wheel, down and out scrap between Hamilton and Vettel. Ferrari vs Mercedes. Germany vs Italy. However you want to slice it, we finally got to see it in Spain. So what happened? What did we think? And is there more to come?
In the previous races this season, we have seen the top step of the podium determined by strategy calls from the pit or due to brilliant tire choice. And while Vettel and Hamilton did run on differing strategies as the race went along, Spain was really and truly the first time we got to see the two multiple world champions duke it out on the track in a way that ended up being the deciding factor of the race. And, in this case, that deciding factor was a front stretch, DRS assisted pass by Lewis Hamilton on Vettel. To quote the German, Hamilton, “Went by him like a train.” And after watching multiple replays, it’s not hard to see the comparison.
So, is there true pace in the Mercedes or was this a result of alternate tires and DRS? Well, it’s a little of both. Yes, the Mercedes was quick on Sunday. But even after Hamilton got past Vettel, he was not able to truly pull away.
Basically, it was point Hamilton this round, but the real winner is the championship itself. These two teams are incredibly closely matched with two drivers that are on the top of their craft. It’s game on from here on out.
Red Bull – Catching Up or Lagging Behind?
The highly anticipated update package for the Austrian outfit was unveiled this weekend in Spain. And as qualifying rolled around Red Bull finally looked they were… marginally better off than they were before. Don’t get me wrong, an update package that is able to reduce a gap that was 1.5s down to .6s is good. But at the end of the day, that means the car is still .6s down on the leaders. And you cannot win races with that kind of gap.