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Thread: 2021 Spanish Grand Prix: Post Qualifying Analysis

  1. #1
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    2021 Spanish Grand Prix: Post Qualifying Analysis

    I feel as if we were all served a bit ******** sandwich where leading into qualifying it appeared as if we would have a tight competitive grid, and Q1 seemed to verify that prediction. But the usual reality of HAM - VER - BOT awaited. Unfortunate.

    Mercedes have dominated Barcelona for some time, so no real surprise they were top 3 again. But there are some very interesting points. It is very unusual that Mercedes opted to let Hamilton set his fastest lap in Q2 on used tires (presumably scrubbed on an outlap), where as Bottas used up a set of new tires. On several occasions in the past, Bottas has asked for a different tire strategy to Lewis and was denied, but they get one tomorrow. IF the scrubbed tires did actually heat cycle the Pirelli's, they should be slightly more durable at the expense of opening lap grip. Also it was noted Hamilton in Q2 was hitting just 308 kph on the straight, which is around 10 kph slower than their speed with full power. Their power reserve will be an advantage as always in the race, but will Bottas even attempt a pass into turn 1, as the slip stream from the start is very powerful? My guess is no.

    Max Verstappen showed us how much teams were holding back in Q1 with his 1:16.9 in Q2. I expected a bigger jump in Q3, but it just wasn't there. Sadly for all teams, the last run in Q3 didn't have the same grip and the top 3 drivers could not improve their times. At the beginning of Qualifying, Martin Brundle mentioned that given how familiar Barcelona is to all the drivers, Perez should be within 1/3rd of a second to Max. Instead he lands nearly a full second off. This has to make former drivers like Albon quite happy. Max's best chance of victory will done in the first lap, and anything but 4th for Perez is a disappointment.

    Ferrari is very fortunate to have Leclerc. Aside from times when pole was on the line, Leclerc seems to put the Ferrari 1 or 2 places higher on the grid than most would expect. Let's not look past Sainz who was only a tenth off Leclerc, and starts 6th. If Ferrari can actually pull of a good strategy, they may have a chance at holding 4th place.

    Apline's upgrades appear to be legitimate. Ocon was very impressive again and is starting to look like the team's #1 driver. Let's see how the race places out, but Alpine are in good position to score points, probably good enough to tussle with Ferrari and McLaren.

    McLaren appeared strong but couldn't seem to put it together in Q3. Mind you they haven't been all that fast in qualifying this season, it is the race that they seem to shine more. As good as Lando has been all season, let's not look past that Ricciardo is now winning the qualifying battle 3-1. I expect at least one McLaren to be battling for the 4 place position on Sunday.

    Aston Martin are rumored to have the upgrades given to Stroll in Portugal, now on both cars, and honestly it does appear to have been an improvement. Vettel is starting to appear more comfortable in the car, but Stroll still qualifies ahead. Is this deserving of praise to Stroll or shame for Vettel? Likely both cars finish just outside the points.

    AlphaTauri did not hit their qualifying like they have shown all season. Let's consider that by now teams have brought upgrades to the cars and we might be at the stage where AT's development program are going to be left behind. Secondly, I am starting to think Yuki Tsunoda's dazzling speed in pre season was a bit of a fairy tail as he really hasn't been close to Gasly since then. Given their race pace this season, I don't expect them to make many moves in the race.

    Alfa Romeo just isn't doing anything to change where they sit. Not good enough to truly fight Aston Martin or AlphaTauri, but are enough to be ahead of Williams and Haas. Kimi was disappointing being so far off his teammate, as usually they are within a tenth of each other.

    Williams has been running a Mercedes gearbox this season. I did not know that, and that has to be an upgrade over what they ran before. This did not give a boost for this race, but is interesting to note. George Russell again fires his way into Q2, but appears to have blew his load as he couldn't replicate the time. Latifi has to be embarrassed to be outqualified by a Haas. He isn't a rookie anymore, it's time to start showing something to suggest he deserves a Formula 1 seat.

    Haas always worth a giggle. Well done to Mick Schumacher beating a Williams on pace once again. I feel he has improved at a rapid rate to start his F1 career. Mazepin on the other hand. To be the slowest driver that can barely keep the car on track, manages to screw up to award himself another pointless penalty, this time a 3 place grid penalty for holding up Norris.

  2. #2
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    +1
    Very good analysis as usual

  3. #3
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    From a Ferrari perspective I thought we had a good session on the whole. Sainz looked quicker than Charles in Q1 and Q2. Charles being Charles managed to pull something out the bag where other drivers couldn't improve on there times in Q3 with the second runs (something to do with track evolution or lack of maybe...). Also encouraging was our performance in the medium speed corners, consistently top five along with the Mercedes and Red Bull.

    Mercedes seemed to have the upper hand all weekend but the performance of Max in Q2 gave me some confidence that he could spring a surprise and I still feel like he could but the majority of the drivers in Q3 couldn't made inroads towards the end of the session.

    Perez still getting used to the car i'm sure but the pressure even early on is telling, touching the gravel and going for a spin shows he's on the edge trying to find every small margin he can to get closer to max.

    The Alpines much like ourselves seem happier here where they are less reliant on pure engine performance and Ocon probably won't have as good of a session as that all season. Not been overly impressed with Fernando's performances in qualifying since his return, sure he still has the race craft and know how when then opportunity presents it's self but just see him as being slightly below where he would of expected to be.

    Riccardo had a better quali today. What's interesting to me is Lando is consistently quicker in a straight line than Danny so running less wing and because he is more used to the car is able to adapt better to make that work for him.

    I thought Aston Martin looked more competitive here but still well below where they would of expected to be. For all the excuses Otmar can conjure up they look like they are at the back of this tightly contested midfield battle along with Alpha Tauri.

    I've not been that impressed in all honestly with Alpha Tauri considering the pre season performance. It looks a little like all bark and no bite, especially Tsunoda languishing so far down and out in Q1.

    The Alfa and Williams look quite similar with Russel consistently out performing Latifi for a while now, seems like he has the capability to get out of Q1 more often than not. Looking at the jump McLaren have made with that Mercedes engine it's still surprising how long Williams have been suffering really..

    Mick is doing what he can in that Haas, not a lot to say really and would rather not mention the other fella. Mick making his dad proud I'm sure.

  4. #4
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    good comments patrese86

  5. #5
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    It is good that Mazepin did get that (pointless)penalty, maybe he learns something.

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