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Race analysis GP Spain 2015: Rambo-Maldonado is back

Race analysis GP Spain 2015
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Why did Hamilton mess up the start?

N after finishing second in qualifying, Lewis Hamilton saw his greatest chance to bring Nico Rosberg to his knees with a successful start. But nothing came of it. Instead, the defending champion lost a position against Sebastian Vettel. 'I just had the wheels spinning,' said Hamilton. Did the inside track also contribute to his weak start? 'I don't know.'

Rosberg, on the other hand, got off to a perfect start to the race. The nine-time GP winner feels more comfortable with the 2014 clutch, which Mercedes has been using since Spain. It enables more constant starts.

Why was Ferrari so far behind Mercedes?

Ferrari had no chance against Mercedes at the Spanish GP. Both in qualification, 0.777 seconds behind, and in the race. Sebastian Vettel separated from the winner Nico Rosberg 45.3 seconds. In Vettel, hope only grew at the beginning. 'I thought in the first two laps that something would work there. But then he pulled away from me.'

In Bahrain, Ferrari was just 3.380 seconds behind the finish line. So where did the big difference come from? During the three-week break, both teams worked on major updates. Nico Rosberg said after the Spanish GP: 'It looks as if we have clearly won the development battle for the moment.'

But it cannot be due to the updates alone. Because Ferrari also made progress. 'The comparison between the two variants is pretty obvious. You can tell from the distance between Seb and Kimi,' said Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene. Kimi Räikkönen drove with the old package in qualifying and in the race, Vettel with the new one. 'It's good, but not good enough for Mercedes,' added Arrivabene.

The tires were a problem for Ferrari. With the softer medium, the distance to Mercedes was kept within limits. But on the hardest Pirelli mixture, Ferrari lost a lot. In numbers: more than a second.

Ferrari lost a lot of time, especially in the last sector. However, on both types of tires. It all depends on the mechanical grip. Hamilton ran the last section as the fastest in 30.687 seconds. Raikkonen (31,047) were already three and a half tenths missing. Vettel already over nine. Not a good sign for Monaco.

Experts had another explanation for thatbig Ferrari backlog. Allegedly, the Italians are said to have tricked the gasoline flow rate at the start of the season. With a small fuel tank in front of the high-pressure injection pump for extra performance. One speaks of three tenths that are gained from slow corners when accelerating. So in Barcelona in the last sector, but Ferrari is said not to have used the system here because of stricter FIA controls. More about this in our background story .

Why was Maldonado fast despite the broken rear wing?

In the third Round it came to the big Lotus duel on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. And a collision within the team. What happened? Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado were ninth and tenth at the end of the second round. At the end of the home straight, the Frenchman had to take a long line into the first corner, which gave Maldonado the opportunity to overtake.

When Grosjean came back, the Venezuelans and the French touched in a long right-hand arc (turn three ), which damaged the right end plate of the rear wing on the Maldonado car. Later it hung visibly crooked. 'The accident could have been prevented,' said operations manager Alan Permane. 'The question of guilt is difficult to assess. Romain went off the track, Pastor may not have given him enough space afterwards.'

A diplomatic answer. Maldonado himself spoke of a racing accident. But aerial photos show that Maldonado was the culprit for the accident. Because he didn't leave Grosjean enough space on the inside.

Despite the broken rear wing, Maldonado set good lap times in the following period. Many of them in the mid-1:33 range. 'The wing cost us time. But we can't put a figure on how much yet,' said Permane. 'I made other adjustments to the differential. That made it work,' said Maldonado.

On the 14th lap, the winner of the Spanish GP made the first stop. One turn too early, as it turned out later. Because on lap 15, Lotus received a message from race director Charlie Whiting to please remove the crooked end plate. The second stop threw Maldonado far back into the field. To make matters worse, the black race worked worse without the end plate than with the crooked one. With no chance of points, Maldonado gave up. Grosjean, plagued by losing fourth gear from lap 20, fought his way up to eighth position.

What was going on with Alonso and McLaren?

Both McLaren drivers spoke of a 'terrifying race' after the 2015 Spanish GP. Fernando Alonso caused the worst situation on Sunday. During his second pit stop, the Spaniard moweda hair down the mechanic on the jack. Because the rear brakes got out on his McLaren.

The defect was announced during the lap of the pit stop. On lap 26, the Spaniard shot over the asphalt run-off zone at the end of the home straight. McLaren then decided to bring Alonso in to check the brakes and swap the tires. 'I had hardly any rear braking effect during the entire inlap.' Apparently the double world champion was surprised at the stop anyway, otherwise he would not have turned to his mechanics so quickly. 'It was a terrifying moment. I had even less brakes at the pit stop.' Fortunately, the man at the jack reacted with presence of mind and jumped to safety.

An initial examination in the garage revealed that a visor was caught in the rear right. Jenson Button crossed the finish line, but under difficult circumstances. The Briton complained about an inaccessible car: 'As soon as I hit the gas, the rear of my car flew away. It was unpredictable. I had oversteer and the wheels spinning in slow corners in the acceleration phase.' At the finish he finished 16th.

Why did the Toro Rosso fall so far behind?

The two Toro Rosso youngsters were the surprise in qualifying. Fifth place for Carlos Sainz, sixth place for Max Verstappen. In front of a Williams, Ferrari and both Red Bulls. In the race, however, things went backwards. Especially in the initial phase. After eight laps the Dutchman was passed into eighth position, Sainz even into 10. 'I actually had a good start. But already in the first two laps I saw that things were going in the wrong direction. I had a lot of oversteer and I killed the tires ', reported Verstappen.

' With 100 kilograms of fuel on board, our car is not the same ', explained his teammate. It only got better when we only had 30 to 50 kilos on board. Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko had another explanation. 'The starts were good, but the power is lacking on the straights. We don't have 80 or 90 hp too little. The others easily passed Toro Rosso and Red Bull on the straight.'

At the end of the race they delivered themselves Sainz and Verstappen another little duel. With the better outcome for the local hero. Verstappen complained about the hard tires. He would have preferred medium in the final stint. Sainz grabbed Kvyat on the last lap as well. Both touched when entering the first corner. 'I had DRS and wanted to pass. Then he went a little crazy. He drove into me. To avoid a crash with a Red Bull, I drove straight ahead.'

Because he was not the 9th. Returned position, the commissioners opened an investigation. 'Normal racing incident. Sainz had to try the softer tires,' said Marko. The commissioners saw it for two hoursafter the Spanish GP as well. Sainz was able to take home two championship points.

In our picture gallery we have collected the highlights of the GP Spain 2015 for you.


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