Rating the drivers for their performance during the 2014 running of the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
1 | Sebastian Vettel | Red Bull-Renault | 4th | 9/10
Vettel’s weekend got off to a terrible start when his RB10 – the chassis which he used in pre-season testing – called it quits after three and a half laps. The wiring loom was an all day job for the mechanics and more woes struck when the gearbox went in qualifying – resulting in a five place grid drop. But in the race he showed his qualities as a champion by carving his way through the midfield and achieving fourth place, the maximum result possible in the circumstances. And he got his favourite fastest lap…
3 | Daniel Ricciardo | Red Bull-Renault | 3rd | 9/10
All weekend the Australian was ‘best of the rest’ behind the dominant Mercedes duo and so it proved in both qualifying and the race. He slipped behind Valtteri Bottas at the start but as the clearly quicker driver he bided his time and waited for the pit stop phase. He elevated himself to third and from there settled into a rhythm. A well-deserved first podium.
44 | Lewis Hamilton | Mercedes | 1st | 10/10
Hamilton complained that Mercedes had made his W05 Hybrid worse after practice but it didn’t slow his process as he strolled to a fourth pole position of the season. He retained the lead at the start but vented his frustration several times across the radio and came under pressure from Rosberg during the closing stages. But he held on to take a fourth successive win and with it, the points lead.
6 | Nico Rosberg | Mercedes | 2nd | 9/10
Rosberg was quicker than Hamilton throughout the opening two segments of qualifying but when it mattered in Q3 he was edged out by his team-mate. Rosberg’s start was comparatively poor and scuppered any chance of getting the jump on Hamilton. From there his pace was good, but he just came up short and had to settle for second place.
14 | Fernando Alonso | Ferrari| 6th | 8/10
Alonso played down expectations prior to the weekend beginning and ruled out a podium finish – no doubt much to the delight of the ticket office at the circuit. But those predictions were ultimately realised as the Spaniard spent much of the race scrapping for position, eventually getting through on Ferrari team-mate Kimi Räikkönen.
7 | Kimi Räikkönen | Ferrari | 7th | 8/10
This was one of Räikkönen’s best showings of the season as the Finn eclipsed Alonso in qualifying and held him at bay for much of the race. In the end he had to play second fiddle to Alonso, but when it’s a duel over sixth and seventh it shows the progress Ferrari needs to make. But Räikkönen was still unhappy with the strategy call to go for a two stopper.
8 | Romain Grosjean | Lotus-Renault | 8th | 9/10
Grosjean had been ragged for most of the weekend as he struggled with various parts of the E22 – leading to the inevitable hesitancy and a few off-track excursions. But once qualifying came around the Frenchman made it to a fine fifth on the grid – Lotus’s best Saturday performance in some time. He had a big lock-up into the first corner but from there drove maturely to rack up Lotus’s first points since Austin last year.
13 | Pastor Maldonado | Lotus-Renault | 15th | 1/10
‘Pastor Maldonado versus wall’ was in action again on Saturday when the Venezuelan, who had shown well across Friday practice, dropped it on the exit of turn three and walloped the wall in Q1. That left him at the back of the grid and with 21 drivers ahead to hit. He chose Ericsson and was duly handed a five second stop/go for his actions.
22 | Jenson Button | McLaren-Mercedes | 11th | 7/10
Button qualified in the top 10 but slipped out of it at the start and dropped to 13th place. From there it was a difficult race for McLaren as the timing of his second stop scuppered any hopes of points. It was another troublesome weekend for the Woking based team.
20 | Kevin Magnussen | McLaren-Mercedes | 12th | 6/10
Magnussen had been showing well compared to team-mate Button but a spark plug failure manifested itself during the first segment of qualifying and McLaren opted to save the car during the second part, leaving the Dane stuck in the midfield. Going wide on the first lap didn’t help his cause, but the car lacked pace to claim a point.
27 | Nico Hülkenberg | Force India-Mercedes | 10th | 7/10
Force India struggled for grip on low fuel all weekend so it was little surprise to see Hülkenberg knocked out in Q2. In the race he finished behind Force India team-mate Pérez but nonetheless maintained his record of having scored in every race this season.
11 | Sergio Pérez | Force India-Mercedes | 9th | 8/10
Pérez was one of several drivers critical of Pirelli’s choice of tyre compound for this event and labelled it an ‘embarrassment’ – a comment which promptly earned a rebuke from Paul Hembery. Come race day he had an uneventful time as Force India went for a passive two stopper and he came home in ninth.
99 | Adrian Sutil | Sauber-Ferrari | 17th | 6/10
Sutil has hoped that a lighter C33 would propel him up the grid but he assumed Sauber’s usual position in being eliminated in Q1. In the race he had a similarly difficult time as he struggled for a general lack of grip but at least the reliability held up.
21 | Esteban Gutiérrez | Sauber-Ferrari | 16th | 8/10
Gutiérrez complained of feeling uneasy with the brakes during practice – which was hardly surprising as reserve driver Giedo van der Garde had piloted Gutiérrez’s car during the first session when the brakes failed and sent the Dutchman barrelling into the first corner at break-neck speed. Gutiérrez, for his part, did well in qualifying and had the C33 higher than it should have been during the first part of the race. But from there he regressed to the mean.
25 | Jean-Éric Vergne | Toro Rosso-Renault | Ret | 6/10
Vergne’s typical luck struck once again during practice when his right rear wheel made a dash for central Granollers, leaving him parked up and faced with a 10 place grid drop – a now mandatory penalty for such an incident. That left him plum last on the starting grid. His race was little better as his STR9 developed an exhaust problem which forced him out. One day his luck will surely change for the better.
26 | Daniil Kvyat | Toro Rosso-Renault | 14th | 6/10
Kvyat was the winner of the drifting competition during practice when he executed a perfect slide around Campsa – a none too shabby achievement for such an inexperienced driver. Tyre wear in the race was higher than expected so after a promising first stint the Russian driver slipped back and finished outside of the points.
19 | Felipe Massa | Williams-Mercedes | 13th | 5/10
Massa didn’t put in a good lap in qualifying and lined up towards the lower end of the top 10. Williams split their strategy in the race which meant that Massa ended up with a three-stopper which completely failed. He couldn’t exploit the potential of fresh tyres as he was bottled up in traffic. A poor weekend.
77 | Valtteri Bottas | Williams-Mercedes | 5th | 9/10
Despite sitting out the first session in favour of reserve driver Felipe Nasr, Bottas excelled in qualifying and managed to put his FW36 onto the second row of the grid. He made up a place at the start and fended off Ricciardo, albeit an improbable task duly shown when he came out of the pits over 10 seconds behind the Australian. He was also powerless to restrain Vettel, so fifth was a fine effort.
17 | Jules Bianchi | Marussia-Ferrari | 18th | 7/10
Bianchi was beaten in qualifying by Chilton but he soon moved ahead in the race and into no-mans land. Marussia was comfortably quicker than Caterham, but too far behind Sauber. He had a little battle early on but that was the highlight.
4 | Max Chilton | Marussia-Ferrari | 19th | 6/10
Chilton endured a miserable time in practice as he was beset by car problems before he was overly optimistic on the brakes at turn five and skated into the gravel. But when it mattered in qualifying he bested team-mate Jules Bianchi. He had an uneventful race but yet again he made the chequered flag.
10 | Kamui Kobayashi | Caterham-Renault | Ret | 6/10
Caterham struggled all weekend and both drivers qualified slower than their respective GP2 counterparts. Kobayashi was reflective after the session, claiming it was like driving ‘stones’ on ice. In the race he assumed Caterham’s usual position before a brake problem triggered his retirement.
9 | Marcus Ericsson | Caterham-Renault | 20th | 6/10
Sometimes it’s easy to criticise a team owner for a threat to pull out without improvements, but when your Formula 1 car qualifies slower than the sister GP2 machine, you have to wonder. For his part, Ericsson did a competent job in difficult circumstances.