Max Verstappen can only lament his failure to reduce Lewis Hamilton in the fourth series of Formula One ( F1 ), the Spanish Grand Prix in 2021. Dramatically losing, the Red Bull Racing racer revealed the cause.
Verstappen can actually start racing well at the Catalunya Circuit, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday (9/5/2021) evening WIB. Starting from second position, the Dutch racer managed to take over the first position by passing Hamilton.
Until lap 15, Verstappen still emerged as the leader of the race, followed by Hamilton. Even though the safety car got out, its position did not waver. He and his rival continued to control the course of the race by filling in the two leading positions.
However, Verstappen had to swallow the bitter pill in the last six laps. Hamilton was able to overtake it at that time. His strategy error in making the second pit stop turned out to have a very fatal impact which made him fail to finish first.
“On the one hand, I can see (Hamilton) coming from behind. Towards the end, he became faster. There was not much we could do at that time,” said Verstappen, as quoted by Motorsports.
How Mercedes left Red Bull unable to respond to Hamilton’s victory charge in Spain
After surpassing his rivals, Hamilton was so comfortable at the front to lead the race. In fact, the Mercedes AMG Petronas Team racer took the lead when Verstappen took the second pit stop.
The race was finally won by Hamilton. Meanwhile, Verstappen, he must return to second place. This is the third time Verstappen has finished behind Hamilton this season.
Finding this condition, Verstappen also admitted that he had installed a strategy error in the race. As a result, he had to have problems with the tires. Verstappen also felt that he could only sit like a duck when he faced Hamilton’s ferocity in the last laps.
“When he stopped again, then I knew it was over because I had to fight with the tires, and you can see that every lap he got closer and closer. I was like a duck who could only sit down, “he continued.
By finishing second at the Spanish GP in 2021, Verstappen can continue to maintain his position in the drivers’ standings. Now, he is still in second place, trailing Hamilton who is at the top with a 14-point advantage.
ability to respond.
much real, for the fourth consecutive race weekend.
A carefully restricted crowd of 1,000 Spanish spectators had been allowed to attend the race on Sunday – enough to give Fernando Alonso “extra adrenaline” as he prepared to race
As 19 cars correctly lined up on the grid for the start, Pierre Gasly was a little too eager to get to the first corner and drew to a stop He would later be rewarded with a five-second time penalty for his eagerness.
“Valtteri was obviously starting third and the goal was to work as a team,” later explained Hamilton. “So I’d stay to the left.”
But when Verstappen tucked in behind Hamilton for a slipstream boost, Hamilton kept to the left, as planned, hoping that Bottas would cover the inside, forcing Verstappen to yield under braking for the first corner.
The problem was, Bottas was not there.
Running in 16th place, Yuki Tsunoda was asked to change to “mode six” on his Honda power unit. Whatever it was intended to do for him, however, instantly losing all life in his car and crawling to a stop on the exit of turn 10 was likely not the intended outcome.
being instructed to remain in the car while the field passed by.
In a cruel stroke of luck, Giovinazzi’s new front-left tyre was discovered to be flat as he arrived into his pit box. lap 11.
Verstappen made no mistakes in leading the pack away as Hamilton gave chase, while Leclerc continued to hold third in the Ferrari. With their new tyres, the Williams pair made light work of passing the Haas cars of Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher ahead.
Eventually, those still on the softs reached their pit window and the first round of stops began as the field looked to the medium tyres to try and take them, potentially, to the end of the race.
After all the pre-race chatter had been on the effectiveness of the ‘undercut’, surely Red Bull would need to pre-empt Mercedes to hold track position?
Red Bull kept Verstappen out, content with his pace and confident in their own strategy. Then he suddenly appeared in the pit lane.
But was it a late call from the team?
“We weren’t expecting it, which is why the pits weren’t ready. We lost minimal time and managed to retain track position so managed to salvage it very well there.”
Verstappen put the confusion down to a “miscommunication”.
“I thought I had to pit that lap and clearly I didn’t,” he explained. “But luckily we didn’t lose too much time.”
“When you are with people on track, you get to see different things and watch closely. And obviously I was following relatively closely. So I learnt a lot about his car and a lot about how uses it.”
It was at that moment when Mercedes chose to play the ace up their sleeve. Unlike Red Bull and Verstappen, who had one a single set of medium at their disposal for the race – the ones Verstappen happened to be on – Mercedes
“It had been the plan all weekend for us to make sure we had two mediums to be able to do a two stop,” explained Hamilton.
“I was really conflicted,” Hamilton admitted.
The field had opened up enough behind the leaders that Hamilton was able to rejoin in third behind Bottas.
Red Bull were cornered. They knew they were unable to respond – and that they were vulnerable.
Despite the rate Hamilton was catching Verstappen, both Mercedes and Red Bull’s projections suggested that he would be in striking distance on the final lap.
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