Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One™ Team's bold strategy almost paid off as Sebastian Vettel narrowly missed out on the points in 11th, having run the longest opening stint of any driver. Team-mate Lance Stroll's race was derailed after Pierre Gasly made contact with his AMR22, leaving the Canadian to finish 15th.
P11 is not much of a reward, but we had a decent race.
"Today was all about managing the tyres and the grip – it was very slippery out there. Everyone's tyres were falling to pieces and lots of drivers pitted fairly early, so we tried something different by opting for a two-stopper. In the end, I do not think it really made too much of a difference. Ultimately, we just lacked a bit too much pace to really be able to attack the points-scoring positions. But we tried something – P11 is not much of a reward, but we had a decent race. We knew this new package was not going to be a massive step straight away, but we believe it is a better direction for the future. We are making progress and going forwards, and that is what really matters."
It was a difficult race, though it was largely ended by the contact with Pierre.
"It was a difficult race, though it was largely ended by the contact with Pierre [Gasly] when I overtook him going through Turn One. We had to pit and check over the car, so that cost us up to 30 seconds. The positive is that the car did feel better than it did in qualifying, which is important considering we are running a new package. We need to go away and review the whole weekend, look at what we have learned, and then apply it for Monaco. I am very excited for the next race - it is such a special Grand Prix and I cannot wait to get started."
Scoring points today was always going to be a challenge.
"From our starting positions of P16 for Sebastian and P17 for Lance, scoring points today was always going to be a challenge. Nonetheless, both our drivers executed well their different tyre strategies - a Soft-Soft-Medium two-stopper for Sebastian and a Soft-Soft-Medium-Soft three-stopper for Lance - and the result was a P11 finish for Sebastian, whom we successfully managed to keep out of traffic wherever possible, and a P15 finish for Lance. Had Lance not lost quite a bit of time on lap 28 as a result of contact with [Pierre] Gasly, which not only tipped him into a spin but also necessitated an earlier second pit stop than we had been planning for him, he would have finished a few places farther up. He was not therefore able to convert his good race pace into a points result today, but it indicated the promising performance potential of our updated car. Finally, I want to pay tribute to the great work done by the team to get two updated cars ready for this event; we are all looking forward to working hard to achieve better results with them at Monaco next weekend and in the races to come."
Your guide to Barcelona
Insight and Speed
The C1, C2 and C3 allocation return for the first time since Bahrain, which was also a higher degradation circuit, so expect a two-stop race to be the quickest way around Barcelona. Pitstop timing is key because it's a higher-than-average time-loss at 23s per stop.
Good strategy is essential because overtaking is usually tricky. DRS makes up 75% of all passes here, and three-quarters of overtakes are made at Turn One, with the benefit of DRS creating further minor opportunities at Turns Two, Three and Four. Expect an exciting start, with an average of 10 moves made across the field on the first lap in the past.
While there's been one in every race so far this season, 2020 was the only Spanish Grand Prix of the last six not to feature an interruption. Depending on its timing, any potential Safety Car could influence strategy and convince teams to attempt a one-stopper.
Unlocking the Lap
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya's reputation is built on a wide variety of corner types and speed, as well as being famously difficult to overtake.
The best spot to pass is Turn One, but there's more to this corner than darting past a rival under late braking. After a long braking zone at the end of the main straight, drivers are adjusting mid-corner on the exit of the right-hander, lining the car up for a run through Turns Two and Three.
A mistake here will let a rival cut back in front at Turn Two, or worse – lead to a trip across the gravel or down the escape road. Even getting on the power slightly too late makes a driver a sitting duck through the long wind of Turn Three.
Another flashpoint arrives at Turn Nine, deceivingly difficult and the source of offs in the past. Drivers must hug to the left, touching the edges of the green kerb on the grass and turning in early.
Lap-time gain can be huge if a driver pushes the limit successfully, but the consequence of a session-ending crash looms large. Excelling here is all the more important now the revised Turn 10 has a more open layout and higher speeds.
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