Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen went wheel-to-wheel to continue their title fight. The Red Bull driver was aggressive to take the lead at the start, but Hamilton’s two-stop strategy proved faster. In a weekend where he got his 100th career pole, Hamilton increased his championship lead to 14 points.
Lewis Hamilton – 10
Spain saw the best of Hamilton, in the unusual position of chaser for the race. It is clear that Red Bull are closer than the other years and even though Mercedes still appear quicker, it’s Hamilton that makes the difference.
Verstappen aggressively went past him at the start, but Hamilton never gave up, chasing his rival all throughout and overtaking him with six laps to go. It was a well driven race, with a perfectly-executed strategy.
Max Verstappen – 9.5
He is truly fighting his heart out to beat Hamilton, but he was beaten for the second consecutive race. Although he was defeated, he fought vigorously, with a splendid turn one manoeuvre and trying to manage his lead.
Hamilton enjoyed the advantage of differentiating the strategy and by the time Verstappen was caught, he was a sitting duck.Embed from Getty Images
Valtteri Bottas – 6.5
He is taking points home, but it’s another disappointing race. It’s pretty clear that he doesn’t have his rivals’ pace at the moment. Despite being only a tenth off in qualifying, his race pace wasn’t amazing and being overtaken by Charles Leclerc didn’t help.
It looks like he is trying his best, but keeps coming short. Every time he finished, he stood on the lower step of the podium.
Charles Leclerc – 9
This time he was the fastest of the midfield runners and even managed to beat the Red Bull of Sergio Perez. Leclerc was impressive, with a nice move on Bottas on the opening lap to run in the podium places for large chunks of the race.
Once passed by the Mercedes, he limited to managing the gap behind, which kept increasing as time went on.Embed from Getty Images
Sergio Perez – 6.5
It’s not the start of the season most people would have expected from Perez. Although he is doing slightly better than his predecessors, he is not yet to the level of Verstappen and the only spark he set was in qualifying at Imola.
This time around he was eighth on the grid and trailed behind Daniel Ricciardo for most of the race. He finally got past, but fifth is not a result to be very happy about.
Daniel Ricciardo – 8
It’s unclear whether he found himself at one with the car, or that Lando Norris just had a bad weekend.
However, Ricciardo finally was the first of the McLaren cars and even if he couldn’t keep up with Leclerc, he was error-free and fought with Perez for fifth.
Probably he is not still where he would want, but it was a good step forward after a difficult weekend in Portugal.Embed from Getty Images
Carlos Sainz – 6.5
Carlos Sainz has always been quick around his home track, but Leclerc was on another category on Sunday. Sainz lost a few places at the start and had a tough time overtaking his rivals.
The impression is that although he appears quick at times, he still needs to maximise the potential of the car.
Lando Norris – 6
After a strong start of qualifying, it all went downhill again in Q3 for the Briton, who had to settle for ninth place and kept that position for most of the race.
At the end, he got past Esteban Ocon thanks to a different strategy, but ended up a long way behind his teammate and couldn’t turn it around.
Esteban Ocon – 7
An excellent lap in qualifying saw him start from fifth, even if he lost places to Ricciardo, Perez and Sainz. Ocon was once again faster than Fernando Alonso and scored points for the third consecutive race.
Possibly he could have stopped twice to protect from Norris, as he was the only car to make the one-stop work until the end.Embed from Getty Images
Pierre Gasly – 7
Good recovery from the Frenchman, who despite a start from P12 and a five-seconds penalty, fought back to finish in the points.
He was always the frontrunner for his team and put up some nice moves to overtake around a track that is known for its overtaking difficulties.
Lance Stroll – 6
He came very short of gaining points, as Pierre Gasly passed him with few laps to go. It’s quite evident that the Aston Martin is struggling to compete for the same places it was featuring in last year.
Stroll was faster than Vettel and that was all that could be asked from him.
Kimi Raikkonen – 6
Despite appearing very quick throughout practice, Kimi Raikkonen was knocked out in Q1. He was the only driver to start on medium tyres and made it a long way before stopping.
He also came very short, settling for a 12th place that proves that his race pace is convincing.Embed from Getty Images
Sebastian Vettel – 5.5
He put up some spectacular overtakes, but it was a poor 13th place that equals his best result of the year.
It’s not the start of the year he would have hoped for.
George Russell – 6.5
With few laps to go, he was contending a point to Alonso, but once caught and overtaken by Stroll, he dropped many places at once.
It was only a 14th place finish, but still a decent showing, with the usual strong qualifying performance.
Antonio Giovinazzi – 5.5
Coming into the pit lane for a pit stop and finding out that one of the tyres the team is about to fit in is punctured, is an unusual circumstance.
Antonio Giovinazzi can’t seem to catch a break this season, as this unfortunate event pushed him to last place and he could only recover to 15th.
Nicholas Latifi – 5.5
He failed to beat both Haas cars in qualifying and was limited to a 19th place, but his race pace was slightly better.
He chased George Russell for half of the race, before dropping back to 16th.
Fernando Alonso – 5.5
Once again the Spaniard found himself behind his teammate and was the second Alpine car.
Alonso fought for points, but the two-stoppers caught him with few laps to go and forced him out of the top 10.Embed from Getty Images
Mick Schumacher – 7
Mick Schumacher is surely having a positive beginning of 2021. For the first time, he managed to qualify in front of one of the Williams cars and had a quick start.
It would have been impossible to resist in a high position for all the race, but the large gap to Nikita Mazepin said all. Schumacher is looking like a solid and disciplined driver.
Nikita Mazepin – 4.5
This time, 50 seconds separated him to Schumacher at the end. He is struggling to find pace, as in qualifying he was distant sixth tenths to the closest car, which wasn’t that of his teammate.
He takes the car home, but once again, makes the headlines for all the wrong reasons, with traffic episodes both in qualifying and the race.
Yuki Tsunoda – 5
The retirement came through no faults of his own, but Yuki Tsunoda was having a difficult weekend. He was knocked out in Q1 and appeared very polemic towards his team.
It would have still been very hard to fight for points in the race.Embed from Getty Images
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