Sebastian Vettel’s fourth place was the sole reward for Scuderia Ferrari after an uphill battle at the Spanish Grand Prix. Kimi Raikkonen was forced to retire after a loss of power.
A fourth place and a retirement
This was the story of the race: the sun was playing hide-and-seek with the clouds before the start, after a night with lots of rain. At the getaway Seb went straight on the attack from third place on the grid and passed Bottas, while Kimi stayed in fourth place. The safety car came out on lap 1 when Grosjean spun off and triggered a string of collisions.
The race restarted at the end of the sixth lap in the same positions. Another 12 laps passed before the team made an early call to bring Seb into the pits to change onto the Medium tyres. Bottas reacted two laps later but despite facing traffic – and benefiting from a tow from Magnussen – Vettel managed to stay ahead of the Mercedes as it came out of the pits.
Meanwhile further back, Kimi reported a problem over the radio and the No.7 car suddenly slowed and crawled back to the pits. He had suffered a loss of power, the same problem that put paid to Ocon on the 40th lap, bringing out the virtual safety car.
Seb came into the pits to put on another set of Medium tyres. The move came because he had been having problems with the tyres; but there was a problem with the right rear and on the exit the No.5 car ended up behind both Bottas and Verstappen, whose car had suffered damage to the front wing after earlier contact.
“You can push right to the flag,” was Ricky Adami’s advice to his driver. But it’s not easy. Making it past the 50th lap, Seb went for it and lowered his lap times, but without managing to get past his rival. Even if by the end he was only seven tenths of a second away from the podium…