After taking 100 career poles, it didn’t take long for the best driver on the grid, Lewis Hamilton to strike Red Bull akin to a hammer by taking a commanding 98th career win.
Another couple of wins and Lewis would script perhaps the most glowing chapter in his racing journey by hitting a century of race wins.
But surely the 2021 Spanish GP should count as one of his great wins, an effort around which several key battles were taking place in the midfield with the likes of Ferrari, Aston Martin, and Red Bull all counting in.
Let’s take a look at the key talking points from the 2021 Spanish GP:
Another Lewis Master-class helped by team strategy
Was a one-stop going to be enough on a surface that’s particularly taxing on the tires? That was the key question on Sunday! While Red Bull thought so eventually, Mercedes, who didn’t, reacted quickly by bringing in star-driver and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton for a second stop on lap 43. He would box for a second set of mediums.
This is precisely the moment which would set the tone for the remainder of the 23 laps.
The task in front of Lewis, who came out on third, was to close a 22-second gap deficit to Verstappen, then the race-leader, an effort he mastered with sheer will and superlative pace.
Any doubts whether the ‘Hammertime’ would strike were smashed to the ground as come lap 60 and Lewis found Verstappen right out in front on the main straights, the Dutchman contesting on worn out tyres finding himself completely defenceless in front of Lewis’ fresh rubber.
In the end, victory belonged to the one who persisted and even as Hamilton, who’d lost out the lead to Verstappen in the opening lap, came back akin to an ambitious lion hungry to pounce on his prey.
The victims- the Milton Keynes-based outfit will now have to go back to the drawing board to rethink their strategy in countering arch rivals Mercedes.
But for now, all hail Sir Lewis Hamilton!
Esteban Ocon- ‘Mr. Consistency’ for Alpine
If there’s been a driver who’s been quite the Mr. Consistent for the Alpine F1 team then it’s not returning double world champion Fernando Alonso, an experienced stalwart of the sport but young Frenchman Esteban Ocon.
Following up on his seventh at Portugal, which came at the back of an impressive ninth at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the Evreux-born driver equalled his Imola effort by capturing yet again a ninth here at Spain.
Off to a clean start, Esteban Ocon enjoyed close tussles with the likes of the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz and even challenged the likes of Perez, eventually ending up way ahead over his dynamic teammate.
In doing so, he’s managed to keep up the fight for Alpine who are clearly quicker than the Alfa Romeos and seem to be involved in a close battle with the likes of the two Aston Martins and Alpha Tauris.
Not a terrible race for Raikkonen
Even as he didn’t finish inside the points, and for the fourth time in a row, Kimi Raikkonen’s Spanish GP was far from horrid.
Though it can’t be said for his qualifying run on Saturday, where thanks to oversteering in the final sector, Raikkonen suffered a blip and bagged no better than a lowly seventeenth.
And that’s where you find out how his 2021 Spanish GP run wasn’t as bad since Kimi finished twelfth, while his teammate Giovinazzi, who started from fourteenth on the grid, ended a position down in P15.
Implicit in Kimi’s run at Barcelona were the key battles he held with the likes of the twin Aston Martins of Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel, the latter whom he’d keep behind for the better part of the second half.
At one stage, Raikkonen all but passed Pierre Gasly in an interesting midfield battle that involved the quintuplet that also involved Alonso, Stroll and Vettel.
Making a position early up on Tsunoda, behind whom he’d begin, Kimi also bossed his Italian teammate by making a bold move down the inside of Giovinazzi after the safety car withdrew.
Still hunting for points, his sheer effort should be counted as one of the key talking points from the 2021 Spanish GP.
Charles digs in for Ferrari
Last year, Ferrari struggled akin to that insipid road car that a driver had to tow whilst seeing several other bystanders overtake the machine by walking barefoot. This year, the SF 71 H is a visibly quicker machine that’s allowed the Ferrari frontman to blast past his midfield rivals, a kind of show that put the 2021 Spanish GP in the headlines.
And giving a fitting example of it early in the race was young Monegasque Charles Leclerc who swooped around the outside of Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes in the run down to Turn 1 to capture third.
A belligerent past that was among the key talking points from the 2021 Spanish GP.
Though he’d relinquish the spot later on in the race upon pitting, Leclerc enjoyed healthy bursts of speed and contended with a fighting fourth, which he admitted was the most Ferrari could do on yet another Sunday wherein both drivers finished inside points.
Importantly, Leclerc who also began from P4 on the grid neither lost a track nor gained so there were no losses as such for the hungry speedster at the Maranello-based outfit.
Riccardo enjoys a fine day in the sun
One of the key talking points from the 2021 Spanish GP was the performance of McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo.
Usually the ‘Mr. Saturday,’ for McLaren who outperforms teammate Lando Norris on the much-important Saturdays, this time around, Ricciardo dug in on the much-vital Sunday as well by clinching a vital P6.
And in the process of contesting in a hard-fought race at Catalonia, the Aussie who up to this point had failed to find an answer to Norris’ performance on the race days, outperformed the young Briton.
Quick on the straights with excellent race-pace, the Spanish GP was the only time thus far where Riccardo ended higher up on the points table when compared to his teammate.
Can the Honeybadger use this performance to up the ante of his attack over his rivals and build higher ground for more excellence results in the future?