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Conclusions after Spanish GP | Ferrari not immortal and F1 still needs DRS
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Conclusions after Spanish GP | Ferrari not immortal and F1 still needs DRS

23 May - 12:07 Last update: 14:42
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The Spanish Grand Prix turned out to be a bigger spectacle than most people expected. It was a race with many unexpected twists and turns, including Charles Leclerc's retirement and Red Bull Racing's double win. What conclusions can be drawn after the sixth Formula One race of the season?

Formula 1 can not yet do without DRS

That DRS still has an added value in Formula 1 was already clear by now, but during the Spanish Grand Prix it became clear once again why the sport is not yet ready to say goodbye to the system.

Max Verstappen had been struggling with DRS issues since qualifying, and despite repairs by Red Bull Racing, the system was still not working properly during the race. This caused a lot of frustration for Verstappen, whose radio traffic with his team could be followed almost word for word.

The Dutchman was stuck behind George Russell for a long time. Despite his faster pace, he was unable to work his way past the Mercedes driver, who put up a good fight but frankly admitted after the race that, without the problems, Verstappen would have overtaken him much sooner.

The race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was a lot more exciting than what we were used to in recent years, but even the new generation of F1 cars still relies on DRS for overtaking.

Perez is well on his way to a contract extension

Sergio Perez had a somewhat disappointing Saturday, qualifying in fifth place. In the race, he showed that he could manage just fine, as he made his way to the front after a strong start.

When Verstappen made a mistake and then had to contend with a failing DRS, the Mexican once again proved his worth to the team. After Charles Leclerc's retirement, Russell moved into the lead, but Perez was quick to take over first place from the Mercedes driver.

Verstappen proved to have the better strategy by opting for a three-stop early on, where many other teams did not make the same decision until much later - by necessity. This was also the case for Perez, and a difficult moment followed for him in which he had to cede the lead to his teammate.

He did so without any problems, but he wanted to have a heart-to-heart about it. Why this was so, he explained after the race. This is yet another reason for Red Bull Racing to extend the Mexican's contract, as he has shown all season that he can handle the RB18. Would the team dare to opt for a two-year contract for the first time in years?

Ferrari is not immortal

Whereas Ferrari and Red Bull Racing have been pretty evenly matched this season, Ferrari seemed to have an edge in reliability. Red Bull already had a few dropouts in the first races of the season, but mostly due to relatively minor problems.

That the F1-75 is not immortal either proved when Leclerc's race came to an abrupt end. What exactly was going on is not yet clear, but what is clear is that the Ferrari engine suddenly quit. Moreover, the Italian racing team has already deployed two engines from the pool, and it is still unknown if this one can still be used or if it should be considered lost.

Mercedes is on the right track

What has also become clear is that Mercedes has finally (mostly) mastered the lingering problems with porpoising. The German racing stable had been in pretty good shape since the second free practice session, but had to concede on race pace in both qualifying and the race compared to Red Bull Racing and Ferrari.

Toto Wolff may think that Lewis Hamilton could have fought for victory had he not been nudged by Kevin Magnussen on the first lap, but the W13's actual pace suggests otherwise. Whether Mercedes can still get involved in the battle for both world titles, as the team boss is now hoping again, therefore remains a big question mark for the time being.

However, the team can now finally concentrate on improving performance rather than dealing with the porpoising enigma. There is still a way to go, but as Russell pointed out, the season for Mercedes has probably just begun. In any case, they are well on their way back.

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