«

»

May 12 2019

Formula One 2019: Circuit de Catalunya

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.

Starting Grid

Grid Driver Team Time Grid Driver Team Time
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.

Driver’s Standings

Rank Driver Team Points Rank Driver Team Points
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

Constructor’s Standings

Rank Team Points Rank Team Points
1 Mercedes 173 2 Ferrari 99
3 Red Bull Racing Honda 64 4 McLaren Renault 18
5 Racing Point BWT Mercedes 17 6 Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 13
7 Renault 12 8 Haas Ferrari 8
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.