Morning After: Bottas is a Step Above

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Taking pole by over six-tenths of a second from Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas proved simply untouchable during qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.

When it comes to F1 qualifying, there’s pole positions, and then there’s pole positions ­– Valtteri Bottas certainly had one of the latter on Saturday.

Distancing himself from Lewis Hamilton by 0.634 seconds, Bottas delivered one of the most comprehensive qualifying beatdowns Hamilton has ever endured, in the process reaffirming that the Finn this year is a vastly improved driver.

To be fair to Hamilton, that six-tenths gap wasn’t all his fault – his W10 was significantly down on battery power – but regardless, Bottas was able to find noticeably more balance through the Circuit de Catalunya’s various corners, and that more than any power issue proved the difference.

Moving to Sunday, Bottas still has work to be done though. Starts are one area Hamilton has done a lot of work to improve in recent races, and he came close to jumping the Finn in Baku, indeed as he did in Shanghai.

Also, while the race isn’t exactly conducive to much passing, tyre strategy could create some opportunities, particularly as Pirelli lowered the minimum rear tyre pressure after long runs on Friday. No, there’s definitely some intrigue to come yet.

Quick Hits

It’s a result that deserves its own article, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it here: Sebastian Vettel being two tenths behind Hamilton despite the latter’s problems is damning.

The Scuderia simply weren’t in the same league as Mercedes on Saturday, and for a team that showed up with high hopes of recovering the ground they’d lost in the opening four races, that is downright embarassing.

That said, hell of a job from Max Verstappen to split the Ferraris. Would be a massive boon to the Red Bull-Honda partnership to stay ahead of them tomorrow, and considering the way the Scuderia is trending, the real battle in the championship might just be for second.

I’m not saying F1 drivers aren’t physically impressive in their own right, but this pic with Bottas and WWE wrestler Cesaro is basically the real-life version of “you vs the guy she told you not to worry about”.

Race Tyre Strategy Preview, Courtesy of Pirelli

With the weather conditions and the amount of tyre degradation that we expect for the race, the theoretical quickest pit-stop strategies predicted by Pirelli for the Grand Prix are as follows:

THE QUICKEST TWO-STOPPER: 1 stint on soft for 22 laps + 1 stint on soft for 23 laps + 1 stint on medium to the flag

2ND QUICKEST ONE-STOPPER: 1 stint on soft for 27 laps + 1 stint on hard to the flag

QUITE CLOSE ONE-STOPPER: 1 stint on medium for 30 laps + 1 stint on hard to the flag

Barcelona Qualifying: Bottas too good for Hamilton

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  • Drivers
  • Constructors
  • Calendar
VER258
LEC178
PER173
RUS158
SAI156
HAM146
NOR76
OCO58
BOT46
ALO41
MAG22
RIC19
GAS16
VET16
MSC12
TSU11
ZHO5
STR4
ALB3
LAT0
HUL0
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