The Spanish Grand Prix saw Mercedes going all the way to victory. Lewis Hamilton was the first one to cross the chequered flag, while Valtteri Bottas was the third in the contingent. Red Bull Racing Max Verstappen slided in between to clinch the second position. Both the Mercedes stood 1 and 2 in the grid before the race commenced with Max at the 3rd. However Bottas lost his place right at the start of the race to Max and was unable to climb up to the 2nd spot.
Motorsport Strategy Director James Vowles debriefs the race and talks about the possibilities of retaining the 2nd spot. He claimed the strategy claimed to try to push Bottas to the second spot was a bad decision.
Max Verstappen took advantage of Bottas’s initial rough start and climbed up to the second spot behind Hamilton. Valtteri Bottas survived the initial rough and was back in P3 soon. It was upon this time the strategy game was being decided in the Mercedes dugout. Max was doing pretty well ahead of Bottas and options to dethrone him were limited.
There were two possible approaches to the race. To go longer in the race and to force Max to make an early exit and then perform an overtake and overcut on track. The second option in hand was the common approach –the undercut.
The undercut requires both the cars to be very close to each other. Bottas fought his way back to P3 after falling behind. The shine of his tire was off and it was difficult to keep up with Max’s pace. Therefore it was difficult to perform the undercut in the initial stint.
During the second stint a possibility came up for a lap. The chances were marginal given the fact that Valtteri Bottas was racing with the medium set of tires. Both the options weighed equally and were certainly balanced. An incoming thunderstorm too was raising the concern as to which one was the best choice. These factors contributed and the team went for the longer run in the end. However that proved to be useless as Max kept the lead and finished the race in P2.
Even though the decision never went in favor of Bottas, he was amazing in the track. Losing out early and then recovering brilliantly to claim the third position is indeed commendable. It was a great race from Hamilton and Bottas. Max too did remarkably well to keep the pressure and hold on to his position.