• Matthieu Piekarski

#9 Barcelona Review

Rather than talk about the Race, I want to begin with the Development Race each team has been battling to bring to the first European GP. Well, I will go straight to the point and tell you that it has reached a new peak and the clear winner is Mercedes AMG F1. In numbers, when Nico or Lewis are racing now gain a 0.68 secondes/lap gain over their neareset rival Ferrari! Ferrari we thought would bridge the gap to the Mercedes, unfortunately they extended this gap with in my view too many updates all at once (updated 70% of the total car over the three day Grand Prix). Kimi (p5) raced with the old package and seemed much happier with the behaviour of the car than Vettel (p3), despite the result. For Red Bull fans, I’am sorry to announce to you that your best hope for winning something will be at the earliest in ‘16, as Christian Horner stated after the GP that “Red Bull are already out of the ‘15 World Championship both Driver & Constructor” then Christian Horner flew out to get married with Ginger Spice.

The clear loser of the Development Race are clearly Sauber and McLaren. Sauber to begin are paying the price of a poor management with those judicial stories that cost them dearly (approx. 12M euros), for them now it is all about damage limitation. McLaren, on the other hand are struggeling more and more. They were even overtaken by a Lotus with a broken rear wing! Alonso retired from the GP because his tear-off strip from his own helmet visor ended up blocking one of his rear brake-ducts when he removed it mid-race. Eventhough he retired, this weekend they were far away from scoring points.Furthermore, from what we saw and what Button said “with this car, I doubt we will score any points this year”. Alonso on the other hand said at the post race interview “next GP in Monaco we will score points”, i want to say Inshallah.

Now onto the man of the weekend, Nico Rosberg. Faultless all along the weekend, he has stopped Lewis’ winning momentum. With an ever amazing W06 Hybrid they claimed at Barcelona a 33rd victory for the Silver Arrows. Furthermore and apologies in advance that I am going to ruin the Monaco GP result, but the third sector in Barcelona gives us a good indication who will be fastest in MC; Nico followed by Lewis where the fastest. Added to the fact that Nico will be on home soil, he is ever closer to making a hat-trick of wins in Monaco.

I wanted to take this opportunity to give my view on what that the media has been saying concerning Lewis and Nico. During the three weeks prior to Barcelona, Nico recharged the batteries between Ibiza and Monaco to be alongside his wife, which is completely understandable. However, the media and Bernie Ecclestone think that an F1 Driver has to attend High-Profile events as Lewis did in order to promote the sport, unlike Nico were they said was a social grand-pa.

During the 17 days holiday, Lewis travelled twice back and forth between Europe and the U.S (L.A/Vegas/NY), to shoot for two days the Zoolander 2 movie in Rome, watch the

Mayweather/Paquiao fight, Met Gala Party, commercial filming in Monza & Mallorca and simulator time at the Mercedes AMG F1 head factory. Now, based on this weekend performance, where he completely missed his start, never found the right balance for his car and seemed constantly frustrated on the radio that he couldn’t pass Vettel. I think his four win momentum made him too confident in his ability to win. There is no doubt that all of his jet-setting has an impact on the body and state of mind of a driver.

I may be wrong in my hypothesis, but the Media and Bernie seem to enjoy this media jet-set presence all over the world. It may be a one-off coincidence, but Lewis stated that he had no intention on slowing down his Jet-Set lifestyle. From what I saw in this race, is that Ferrari and Vettel could disturb greatly the World Driver Championship and as we all know, if you can hedge your risk in F1 to become WC, then grab as much of it as you can. We wont know until the end which approach will make Nico or Lewis world champion. But from my previous post where I stated that “17 of the last 24 Barcelona pole-sitter have gone to win the Driver Championship”, based on this statistic; advantage Nico.

Coming to the race in itself, it wasn’t that spectacular. We saw Nico at the start and then nothing until the chequered flag. The real battle was behind, especially between Lewis and Vettel. Both on different tyre strategy, we where hoping after the third stop an amazing battle for 2nd. However, the Mercedes race pace was so intense that they cleared a sufficient gap to undercut Vettel. Some analyst say that if Vettel had followed the same strategy as Lewis, then Vettel would have stayed 2nd. But one thing is for sure, Ferrari will disturb this championship one way or the other.

The biggest shout out of this weekend from my side, is towards the Pit guys. At every race, they are the bravest individuals in the whole sport; from changing four tyres in less than 3 secondes, to knowing that one centimeters off the ideal car entry line can result in serious injuries. These guys deserve our praise, especially with Alonso and Grosjean failling their entry and injuring them (all are ok, just couple of days of rest).

Therefore, I would grade this GP out of 10, a solid 6 due to the lack of action. It was expected to be an average race, as overtaking around this track is a challenging task and we hoped for some amazing race strategies, but they never delivered.

Now onto Monaco! I am so pumped about this GP, as it was my home for several years and that it is the most spectacular GP of the season. One reporter asked the drivers what they look forward to the most in Monaco. The best answer came from Lewis who said: “The Girls”. On that I end my article with a nice picture summarizing what we can look forward to in Monaco next week. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter: @m_piekarski

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