As the Formula One season rolled into Montmeo, Spain this past weekend, expectations were high for another 1-2 finish for Mercedes for Louis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton was hoping to earn his third back-to-back Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday, and after the checkered flag dropped, he once again entered the history books finishing ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas. It was the fifth time this season the two placed first and second.
The win on Sunday put Louis Hamilton ahead by seven in the points of Valtteri Bottas and in a dominating position towards earning his 6th Drivers Championship. If successful in that bid, it will put him one behind Michael Schumacher, and for F1 punters, it is one well worth placing bets on with leading sportsbooks such as Bodog, a Canadian favourite. Commenting on the race and Mercedes start to the season, Hamilton said,
“This is history in the making to have five one-twos.
Sunday’s win was Hamilton’s 76th victory in Formula One, and he now sits 15 wins away from matching Michael Schumacher and 16 to set a new record in Formula One as the driver with the most wins. At the rate of Mercedes success, that is a real possibility for Hamilton should he remain with the team for a few more seasons.
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) May 13, 2019
Max Verstappen placed third in his Red Bull car just ahead of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel. In 2017 and 2018, Hamilton was in pole position for the Spanish GP, however, with Sunday’s win, he started the race in the number two position behind Bottas, who earned his third consecutive pole position. However, after Hamilton took over the lead on the first lap, there was no looking back as the five time champion maintained the lead without being challenged.
Hamilton took the lead from Valtteri Bottas going into the first corner three wide, Bottas made an error and locked up his brakes and being in the middle, nearly made contact with Louis Hamilton. Verstappen also made a mistake at the start of the race, and that allowed Max Verstappen to move into third position, one he held for the remainder of the race. Verstappen is now 46 points behind Louis Hamilton, and Vettel is slightly more sitting at 48 behind.
While Ferrari saw improved speeds over its pre-season testing at the same track, it failed to close the gap with its new engine that was debuted on Sunday. For Mercedes, it seemed like just another day at the office and were unfazed by the lack of being challenged by Ferrari. The only jostling was between the two Ferrari drivers, and it was seasoned veteran Vettel that faltered to the less experienced Leclerc after being told by Ferrari to allow him to pass.
In the last few races, Valtteri Bottas has shown to be faster than Hamilton during the practice sessions and qualifying. He had the potential to win the race had he not made an error going into the first corner. Commenting on the opening lap, Bottas said,
“It was pretty tight (at the first curve), but I lost it at the start. I felt some strange behaviour with the clutch. I lost it there.”
A large part of Hamilton’s success can be contributed to the lack of performance from Ferrari, and other than Bahrain, they have failed to produce the results they had hoped to see early in the season. They have seen the other races all being decided in the early laps of the race. In Australia, Bottas took over the lead from Hamilton to maintain the lead to earn the checkered flag, in China, the opposite happened with Hamilton charging into the lead and Bottas returned the favour in Azerbaijan.
The Formula One season now heads to Monaco for the Monaco Grand Prix on the 25th/26th, then to Canadian for the Canadian Grand Prix in the first weekend of June. Whether Ferrari can mount a challenge at Monaco will be one not easily accomplished at a track known for few places to pass.