F1 2020 Spanish Grand Prix

© J. Francois Barnard – August 16, 2020

The Formula 1 Aramco Gran Premio de España 2020 was held at Barcelona on August 16, 2020 - the same track where the pre-season testing took place. It is the sixth round of the championship and only one week after the second race at Silverstone in the UK.

Mercedes have grown so used to winning, that the threat of tyre degradation from the previous two weeks was haunting them as they arrived in Barcelona. The data derived from the pre-season testing at the same track was worthless. Although it was partly cloudy, the temperatures were much higher.

Meanwhile, the FIA announced that engine qualifying modes would soon be illegal. That means that there will be no more "party mode" for Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton's reaction was: "It's not a surprise; they are always trying to slow us down." So, from the Belgium Grand Prix onwards the party will be over for all users of Mercedes engines.

Valterri Bottas topped the charts in the first practice session, followed closely by Lewis Hamilton and almost one second behind Bottas was Max Verstappen. Leclerc and Vettel trailed 1.2 seconds behind the leader - an indication that Ferrari's woes are not over. Pérez and Stroll showed that Racing Point's consistency keeps them in the top ten. Surprisingly, Grosjean and Magnussen also showed up amongst the top ten.

The second practice session was quite different when Hamilton ran almost three tenths ahead of Bottas. Verstappen followed in third, just ahead of Ricciardo. Grosjean was again showing some strength, but Vettel dropped away from the top ten.

The third practice session was marked by a massive crash when Magnussen slowed down in front of Ocon, and Ocon's avoidance took him into a wall. He survived to tell his team the story. Bottas was initially running ahead of Hamilton, but the latter spread his wings and on a blistering lap and set a time of 1:17.222. Verstappen came in third, and Sainz entertained local fans in reaching forth with a new engine fitted to his McLaren.

The qualifying sessions on Saturday saw both Williams and both Haas drivers drop out of Quali 1, as well as Giovanizzi's Alfa Romeo. Räikkönen though made it through to Q2.

Vettel dropped out of Q2, as did both Renaults and Räikkönen.

The final Q3 results, and thus Sunday's grid positions, saw Hamiton and Bottas locking out the front row, with Verstappen looking on in third. Notable is the Racing Point Mercedes in fourth and fifth.

2020 spanish racestart

Picture credit: MotorSport.com

Sunday's race start saw Hamilton and Verstappen getting away well, but Bottas lost places to both Racing Points. He soon made it up again, chasing after Verstappen. Verstappen pitted to exchange his soft tyres for medium tyres. A 1.9-second pit stop helped him to stay ahead of Lance Stroll, but Bottas inherited the second place.

Lewis Hamilton pitted at lap 24, enduring a slower pit stop - 4.3 seconds - as the left-rear wheel gun would not fasten his wheel. They double-stacked Bottas right behind Hamilton, and he enjoyed a faster pit stop - 3.1 seconds. Still slower than the Red Bulls. Verstappen retook the second position, and the undercut did not work for Bottas.

On lap 37, Leclerc spun out as his engine died and locked up the back axle. He became the first retirement of the race. By lap 57, Vettel was running in fifth with old tyres and became an easy target for Stroll's Racing Point.

Lewis Hamilton led every lap of the Spanish Grand Prix, finishing first. Verstappen followed in second place 23.5 seconds behind Lewis, and Bottas came in third, one second behind the Dutchman.

The race classification:

Position Driver Constructor Grid Points
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1 25
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing-Honda 3 18
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 2 16
4 Lance Stroll Racing Point-BWT Mercedes 5 12
5 Sergio Pérez Racing Point-BWT Mercedes 4 10
6 Carlos Sainz McLaren-Renault 7 8
7 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 11 6
8 Alexander Albon Red Bull Racing-Honda 6 4
9 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 10 2
10 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 8 1

The 2020 Driver Standings

Lewis Hamilton

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Valtteri Bottas

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Max Verstappen

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Sergio Pérez

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Daniel Ricciardo

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Carlos Sainz

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Alexander Albon

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Charles Leclerc

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Lando Norris

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Pierre Gasly

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Lance Stroll

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Esteban Ocon

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Sebastian Vettel

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Daniil Kvyat

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Nico Hulkenberg

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Kimi Räikkönen
 

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Antonio Giovinazzi
 

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George Russell
 

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Romain Grosjean

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Kevin Magnussen

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Nicholas Latifi

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Jack Aitken
 

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Pietro Fittipaldi
 

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Team Standing

Mercedes

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Red Bull Racing

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McLaren

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Racing Point

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Renault

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Ferrari

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AlphaTauri

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Alfa Romeo Racing

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Haas F1 Team

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Williams

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