Ferrari locked out the front row in qualifying for the first time in almost ten years. They’ve really proven they caught up to Mercedes and they’re here to fight. It makes for a much more interesting season than when Mercedes (or Red Bull before) just runs away with everything without having to really try.
However, poor Alonso didn’t even get to start the race today. His car’s electric power unit crashed putting him down an estimated 200+ HP if we’re to believe the Honda power plant is already down about 100 HP from the other constructors. He looked completely deflated. At first I thought the whole driving in the Indy 500 was too much of a gimmick, but now I just want the poor guy to finish a race and have a real shot at a win. He’s an amazing driver and his talent is being absolutely wasted. I don’t know how many more times I can complain about McLaren being lackluster–I’m boring myself with the conversation, it’s gone on so long.
After the additional start lap, the real fun began. Both Ferraris got great starts, but somehow Bottas found his way around both of them by the end of the 2nd turn. Hamilton almost found his way around Kimi, but couldn’t make it stick. How long has it been since Hamilton finished a race but wasn’t on a podium? Oh, that’s right. Basically since his days at McLaren (ugh, I really didn’t want to go there, but it’s true).
Grojean continued to struggle, first with the brake issue then a crash with Palmer in the first lap of the race, bringing out the only safety car. Hulkenberg and Stroll had contact as well, but they were able to continue the race. Ricciardo fared not much better with a brake blowout early.
It was amazing how long the ultra soft tires were lasting. Teams were on point with their one pit stop strategies, so basically everything shuffled out back to Bottas and Vettel battling for the win. Traffic might have helped Bottas hold on to it, giving him his very first Formula 1 victory. I’m not trying to take anything away from Bottas’ victory, he earned it, but traffic plays into results sometimes. Vettel tried like hell, but Bottas did everything right and that’s what matters.
Verstappen finished 5th after Hamilton, and the rest of the mid pack team sorted themselves out. Rumors are flying that McLaren is talking to Mercedes about supplying engines once again, even though they’re denying it to be true. The real head scratcher, though, is Sauber going with Honda instead of one year old Ferrari engines. Ferrari still seems like the better option of the choices.
Congrats to Bottas on his first win. He’s showing just how talented he is, as well as what a great teammate he is. When he’s faster, he throws the hammer down and fights to win. When he’s not the faster car, he doesn’t seem to have an ego about team orders… like a former Mercedes driver I shan’t mention by name. *cough* Rosberg *cough*