F1 diary GP Spain 2016: encounter with a hero

F1 diary GP Spain 2016
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D he GP Spain 2016 was packed with highlights. I'll start with my personal one. Two hours before qualifying on Saturday, I meet a two-time world champion who finally put me under the spell of Formula 1 18 years ago with his duels against Michael Schumacher: Mika Häkkinen. I introduce myself to the Finn in the paddock and ask what he thinks of modern Formula 1. Hakkinen stops, looks at me and replies. 'Are you a colleague of Michael Schmidt?'

Häkkinen and Lorenzo in Barcelona

I nod, Häkkinen laughs: 'Does he still have no cell phone?' whether he already knows the answer. “No, he didn't.” We both have to smile. It's a good icebreaker. We chat for another five to ten minutes afterwards. In between, I have to pinch myself inside: You are currently talking to Mika Häkkinen, who you used to see on TV every other Sunday. I don't get an answer to my actual question. The world champion asks me for my business card. “We could do an interview together and talk about anything. The old times, the new times. ”With great pleasure. Seven months later I have to state: Unfortunately, nothing has come of the interview. But I'll remind Häkkinen of that as soon as I meet him again in the paddock.

Meeting is a good keyword: MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo is at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona on Sunday. But only before the race. Before the two-wheeler specialist leaves the paddock, I ask him for a photo. As a journalist you have to be allowed to be a fan. Especially since I don't report on MotoGP. I wish Lorenzo all the best for the rest of the season. Seriously, although I keep my fingers crossed for Valentino Rossi. But the Spaniard should not defend his title and instead fall into a hole towards the middle of the season. The weak phase, especially with catastrophic rain races, should throw him too far behind Marc Marquez.

Just as the Honda driver conquered the two-wheeler scene, Max Verstappen set about rewriting the Formula 1 record books . On race Sunday we experience a story that only sport can actually write. In his first race for Red Bull, the Dutchman dashed to his first triumph. On May 15, 2016, Verstappen was exactly 18 years, seven months and 15 days old. He drives and behaves likesomeone who has been involved in F1 for a decade and has already won titles.

Verstappen like a really big guy

The discussion about swapping places with Daniil Kvyat bounces off Verstappen like a rubber ball from a wall. Selfish with extended elbows: The 18-year-old got what he wanted: the early promotion to Red Bull. And with that a car with which he can fight for podium places. Kvyat is sitting next to him at the press conference on Thursday. He had received news of his demotion back to Toro Rosso while he was watching an episode of 'Game of Thrones,' reports the Russian. “I've worked hard for the team. And I think I deserve at least a reasonable explanation. But I didn't get it. The bosses decide what they want ”, criticized Kvyat.

The man from Ufa at least gets one point in the race. But the result is still the next low blow, because Verstappen wins. In the final phase, the high-flyer keeps Kimi Raikkonen in check. Although the Finn tigers in the Ferrari in the rear-view mirror of the Red Bull, the ripped-off Verstappen does not get an opportunity to attack. The route layout plays into his cards. Overtaking is extremely difficult in Barcelona. In principle, you have to be two seconds faster to get past your opponent. The way to turn one offers the best chance. But a section of three slow corners leads to the straight. In this section, Verstappen can use the good traction of his RB12 and always turn at least 0.7 seconds ahead of the straight section. The open rear wing on the Ferrari cannot compensate for this disadvantage.

Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo are scrambling for third place. With the better ending for the second Ferrari driver. Ricciardo's attack can counter Vettel. Then a defective tire forces the Australian to make a fourth stop. Vettel swapped the Pirelli rollers a total of three times. There is criticism of the Ferrari tactics. Winners Verstappen and Räikkönen make two pit stops over the 66 laps.

Crash between Rosberg and Hamilton

The Grand Prix is ​​exciting for over an hour and 41 minutes because the big favorites are the same At the beginning between turns three and four, bowling each other off the track. Otherwise Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg would have driven circles around the competition. Pole-setter Hamilton loses the lead after the start in the first two corners, but sees his chance to regain the lead before corner four. Because Rosberg's Mercedes switches to derating mode in order to recuperate energy. The World Cup leader slams the door, Hamilton slides over the grass, turns and slides into his rival. The end for both. Nothing will come of Rosberg's eighth win in a row. Nothing will come of the eleventh success for Mercedes. Instead, they loseSilver Arrows 43 points.

As the first European race of the season, Barcelona always offers technical delicacies. My colleague Tobias Grüner said goodbye to the editorial team with the order: “Take a decent amount of technical photos.” The memory card fills up on Thursday. Practically all teams come to the technical inspection in revised cars. Mercedes has a new nose, modified air intakes on the side pods - like Ferrari, by the way - modified baffles under the nose and a modified monkey seat. McLaren and Force India bring new front wings. Even at Manor, the technology department in front of Barcelona never stopped.

On Thursday evening, as usual, the Hockenheim parliamentary group invites you to dinner with German-speaking journalists. Managing director Georg Sailer reports that ticket sales have started properly, but could well be better. I understand the fans. The tickets are just overpriced. The hands of the organizers are tied. High entry fees require high ticket prices, otherwise there will be a red zero.

Another small detour to football: On Saturday, FC Barcelona will secure the Spanish championship. My colleagues then tease me. Because I'm a huge Real Madrid fan. But I take the defeat against the arch-rival sporty. It would have been harder for me in the past. But with age you learn to deal with it better. What should I change about it? Especially since the Spanish food washes every bitter aftertaste from the oral cavity. We order ham, cheese and tomato bread by plate. It is important to access it quickly. The colleagues have quick fingers. And: At the end of May I should be celebrating the 11th Champions League title for my team.

In the gallery you can find some personal impressions of auto motor und sport - Reporter from what happened behind the curtains.


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