F1 2021
Round 4

Max Takes P2 at the Spanish Grand Prix

es Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

A hard-fought Spanish Grand Prix yielded a second place for Max after leading the majority of the race, while in total, there were points for three of the four Honda-powered cars.

Max Takes P2 at the Spanish Grand Prix

Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri started on the soft compound tyre with both cars, and Max made a brilliant start from second to dive down the inside of Lewis Hamilton to take the lead into the first corner with a late move on the brakes. Sergio also made a good start to gain two positions on the opening lap, rising from eighth to run sixth.

Pierre was instantly on the back foot after a mistake on the grid saw him overshoot his starting spot and pick up a five-second time penalty, but there was worse to come for AlphaTauri as Yuki lost fuel pressure just seven laps into the race, stopping at Turn 10 and bringing out the Safety Car. Max managed to hold Hamilton at bay after the restart and kept the Mercedes behind him during the first part of the race, looking to extend that first stint as long as possible to avoid making a pit stop and emerging into traffic.

Pierre was first of the remaining three cars to stop, coming into the pits on lap 18 and serving his time penalty before fitting a set of mediums tyres. Max was next to follow suit on lap 24, with a slow left rear tyre change slightly hampering him, but he retained the lead as Hamilton didn’t stop for another four laps - the Mercedes changing to mediums one lap after Sergio had also stopped to do the same.

The status quo remained for a while, with Max holding off Hamilton, while Sergio was stuck behind Daniel Ricciardo down in sixth place. Then as the top two were running closely together, Mercedes opted for a two-stop strategy and Max was left trying to get to the end without another stop on old medium tyres as Hamilton set about erasing a 23-second deficit.

Sergio had been stuck behind Ricciardo for much of the race but finally got past the McLaren with a brilliant move around the outside of Turn 1 on lap 46, securing fifth but by now Charles Leclerc was too far ahead to catch. Two laps after Sergio’s pass, Pierre made a second pit stop for soft tyres and and emerged outside the points but set about catching the cars ahead and put in some excellent lap times.

With seven laps remaining, Hamilton caught and passed Max on fresher tyres, so Red Bull then made another stop to fit a set of softs and Max comfortably emerged in second before securing the extra point for the fastest lap.

Sergio came home fifth to add another 10 points to his tally, while Pierre delivered some thrilling entertainment in the closing laps. On lap 60 he pulled a stunning move on Kimi Raikkonen and then cleared Fernando Alonso a lap later to get within point-scoring range, dispatching Lance Stroll soon afterwards to finish tenth.

Toyoharu Tanabe
Toyoharu Tanabe
Honda Racing F1
Here in Spain, Max finished second for Red Bull Racing Honda, just as he did last week in Portugal. It was a somewhat frustrating result, after a great start saw him take the lead from second on the grid. Hamilton was put on a different strategy and caught Max in the closing stages and we have to accept that today, he and Mercedes had the edge in terms of performance and teamwork. After a difficult day yesterday, Sergio had a strong race, fighting his way through traffic to finish fifth. For Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda, Pierre’s race was affected by a 5 second penalty for not lining up correctly on the grid, but he did not give up and fought his way back to 10th gaining a precious point for the team. Yuki’s race ended early with a fuel pressure issue which we will now investigate with the team. It was generally a tough weekend for him. In two weeks time we move to Monaco, a street circuit with mostly slow corners and therefore a very different challenge compared to today’s race.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen 33
Red Bull Racing
I tried everything I could today and took the lead at Turn 1 but from there we were just lacking a bit of pace to Mercedes. Of course we wanted to win but I cannot feel too disappointed as I did everything I could out there and maximized the opportunities. Even if we had looked at another strategy and done a two stop and pitted before them, we wouldn’t have made the time up as they were just faster than us. I know how fast I can go and where the limit of the car is and when they can do a free stop behind it is easy for them to do a different strategy. I pretty much knew that when he pitted for the second time that he would come back at me on the new tyres a bit like Hungary 2019 and although I did everything I could I was a bit of a sitting duck. The pace difference on the tyres made it an easy pass for Lewis and then I was able to at least keep second place and take Fastest Lap. It was just a day where we lacked a bit of pace and second was the best result possible so now we need to look at why they seem to have jumped ahead a bit in terms of race pace.

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez 11
Red Bull Racing
This isn’t an easy track to overtake on which made for a tough race. We had a good first lap and made up some positions but it took me quite a long time to get past Daniel. The McLaren was extremely fast on the straights so it was really hard to try a move but we made it work around the outside of Turn 1. I knew what I had to do, I pushed on and managed to make it work but we didn’t have much tyre life left afterwards so it was tough. I’m getting more confident with the car now and every time I get to the end of a weekend, I think, ‘I wish the weekend was just starting now.’ Also every circuit is different so what I learn here will be different to what I need in Monaco but the main thing is that I am still adapting and hopefully soon we can be 100%. I am excited for Monaco, especially with this car as historically it’s been competitive and I think we have a chance of winning.

Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly 10
Scuderia AlphaTauri
I’ve got mixed feelings about today, I think in the race I made a good recovery but we’re really lacking pace compared to the first two rounds, which is frustrating. I’m upset with myself for making the mistake on the grid, it’s a very silly penalty to get and it made my life harder. That being said, I had some good battles in the race and managed to pass a few cars to make it into 10th place. The car definitely has potential, we just haven’t made it work consistently in all corners around the lap yet. We’re going to work hard now ahead of Monaco and I trust in the team to make some steps forward in the next few races.

Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda 22
Scuderia AlphaTauri
It’s been a frustrating race weekend for me, I’m obviously disappointed to not have finished the race as I think my pace at the start was quite good, but it was completely out of my control. We don’t currently know what happened to the car, so we’ll investigate this after it returns to the garage and then we’ll review everything together with the engineers. I just need to look forward to the next race in Monaco now, it’ll be my first-time racing there and I’m excited to drive on such an iconic circuit.

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