Formula One raced at the Circuit de Barcelona for the 5th round of the season today. Lewis Hamilton took the victory after streaking away from pole at the start of the race and never relinquishing the lead. With Sebastian Vettel making an unexpected late-race pit stop, his Ferrari fell into fourth and he didn’t score his predicted podium. With the first quarter of the season complete, Lewis Hamilton is beginning to build the foundation for his fifth world championship.
The race was marked by two separate full course yellow segments, the first coming on lap one when Romain Grosjean did something incredibly dumb. He’d gone a little wide into turn one and when the back end stepped out on his Haas Ferrari he appeared to pin the throttle and spun up the rear tires until he was broadside perpendicular to oncoming traffic. Nico Hulkenberg attempted avoidance maneuvers, but caught his rear wheel on Grosjean’s car, breaking both cars and retiring. That moment on the first lap was the most exciting bit of the race.
With a trio of engine failures from Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari (from fourth), Stoffel Vandoorne’s McLaren, and Esteban Ocon’s Force India—that last one causing the second full course period, and a second blown Ferrari engine in one race—and only five cars finishing on the lead lap, there weren’t very many on-track battles to enjoy. Add in a one-stop strategy for most of the field, and you’ve got a real snoozer of a race in this one.
During the virtual safety car period, Vettel attempted to get a leg up on the competition with a swap to a two-stop strategy for fresh medium-compound tires. He pitted from second and rejoined in fourth behind Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen after a very slow 5.6-second pit stop. On the restart, Verstappen clipped a slower Williams tearing the wing end plate off of his car, but even with aerodynamic damage and older tires, was able to keep Vettel behind him for the remaining 23 laps.
Hamilton won the grand prix by over 20 seconds, and was nearly a minute clear of fifth place. If you’ve got the race on your DVR and were planning to watch it this afternoon, perhaps save yourself the couple hours and watch the highlights package below instead.